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Methodology and Project Plan

The main purpose of this case study was to explore how leadership affects organizational productivity and profitability. The study will involve a comparative study of Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc regarding leadership role, identifying the knowledge of the perceived leadership roles within an organization and the experience with staff members in advancing productivity and profitability. In arriving at this purpose, the research design seeks to establish: 1) how the leadership role has advanced productivity and profitability; 2)   how the leadership role has affected the organizational processes and procedures and; 3) how the leadership role has affected organizational processes and outcomes.

Research Philosophy

While carrying out a study of this kind, it is very important to consider various paradigms of research and matters of epistemology and ontology. These parameters give a description of assumptions, views, beliefs and the kind of reality and knowledge concerning the reality. Therefore, the parameters can be a great influence to the manner in which the research is conducted, from the appropriateness of the design all the way to the research conclusions. Thus, it is imperative to comprehend and look at these aspects so that approaches fitting to the aims and nature of this specific inquiry are used and make sure that the biases of the researcher are exposed, understood and kept as low as possible. For instance, Ontology is the science of being and develops the definition for the social sciences to include claims concerning what is in existence; its actual appearance, the units forming it and the way the units relate. According to Blaikie (2000, 23-34), Ontology defines perceptions on the reality nature and particularly whether it is an objective reality that actually is in existence or a mere subjective reality that has been created in the minds of people.

Epistemology is linked with ontology and it is based on reality constituents; it makes a consideration of the perceptions concerning the most suitable methods of enquiring into the world's nature and what knowledge is; its sources together with its limits (Blaikie, 2000, 23-34). Epistemology questions start to consider the method of research.  Epistemology is a science or theory of the basis of knowledge while expanding it into a number of assumptions or claims concerning the methods in which it is probable to attain reality knowledge, the way what is in existence could be known, what can really be known, the criteria which should be satisfied to be regarded as knowledge (Chia, 2002, 1-19).

Therefore, there are three major research philosophies: positivist; Interpretivist / Constructivist and Realist. Positivist philosophy generally involves the testing of hypothesis which has been developed from a theory that is already in existence. The Interpretivist philosophy on the other hand focuses on the understanding of the interpretations and meanings of 'social actors' and to comprehend their world from their perception providing highly contextual information which is not easily generalisable. A realist philosophy takes aspects derived from both Interpretivist and positivist positions. The belief is that real structures are independent of the consciousness of humans although the knowledge is created socially and thus, reality knowledge based on social conditioning (Blaikie, 2000, 23-34). This research therefore adopts a positivist philosophy since positivism presumes that the universe exists externally and objectively, that knowledge can only be valid if it is founded on annotations of the external reality and that universal laws developed can be generalized, explaining the cause and effect of relations and can be useful in predicting outcomes (Chia, 2002, 1-19).

Research Strategies

Research can take various forms: qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods of approach among others. This research however adopted a quantitative form. Even though a qualitative method would collect data and information on the research, the amount of data needed to establish representativeness and the making of a sound analysis in a huge organization of business would be enormous. Practical matters which took into account sample size sufficiency, constraints of time, and the purpose of generalization of findings from the participants to the two organizations in the study did not allow making use of a qualitative technique.  Qualitative research includes a search to make an exploration of a deep understanding and needs quite some good time to carry out. An approach through mixed methods would involve both quantitative and qualitative techniques and eventually increase the requirements of time for completing the research study.

The quantitative research methodology was thus employed to establish the way leadership affects organizational productivity and profitability taking a comparative study of Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc regarding leadership role whilst identifying the knowledge of the perceived leadership roles within the said organizations and the experience encountered members of the staff in the organization in advancing productivity and profitability. In an attempt of so doing, a quantitative as well as a non-experimental design of correspondence was taken as the fitting way of addressing the research questions (Laub, 1999, 11-23; Bryman and Bell, 2007, 66-81). The research questions were pertinent to the perception held on the role leadership plays in promoting the welfare of the organization on matters of production and profit realization.

Leadership in Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc as perceived by the organizational staff was a representation of the independent variable whereas the level of productivity and profitability realized in the organizations represented the dependent variable. The variables of intervention took into account factors of demography, which included the level of employment in the various organizations. The level of employment included the top management officials and the entire structure of leadership. This is an intervening factor since the position of the leader may influence both the productivity and the profitability of the organization (Mason, 1996, 23-45). Fig 3.0 below shows how these variables relate.

Fig 3.0 Relationship of Variables

A very important factor is that those taking part in the study are recognized as experts through the experiences that they have and how they relate leadership to service delivery and the profits realized by the organization (Cooper and Schindler, 2003, 23-56; Yin, 2009, 23-33 ). The design of research involved data collection through a validated 20 item-survey instrument (Appendix A). The instrument required participants to rate their views and opinions on the instrument items as: Never, Seldom, Occasionally, Often, and Always. A survey instrument is a very useful tool in measuring the independent variable of Leadership as viewed by the participants of the study and the degree of acceptance with the items listed as reported exclusively by the participants (Young, 2009, 12-20). Using a quantitative research design was apposite in making sure that the direction and the level of productivity and profitability as perceived by the participants existed without interfering with them (Northouse, 2006, 5-8; Bass and Bass, 2008, 23-30). A random sample of 200 members of staff from Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc was targeted for participating willingly in the research study.

Data Collection

Essentially, data was collected through the instrument of survey (Appendix A). According to Creswell (2003, 33-45), surveys have a definite advantage to the researcher with the intention of giving a description of attitudes, behaviors, opinions or even the characteristics of a specific population.  A cross-sectional survey design offers the ability to make a comparison of organs, establish existing attitudes together with the evaluation of practices. The application of a spread self-administered questionnaire form as survey tool was an apposite methodology for gathering data.  According to Neuman (2006, 21-23), questionnaires have a number of other advantages: decreased costs in data collection; ease of data collection and that the participant finds an easy time in filling in the form owing to the simplified format. The homogeneous arrangement and survey instrument plan in the questionnaire is compatible with a quantitative research.

The survey instrument in this study made use of a Likert-Kind of scale in assessing in a quantitative manner the level of Leadership in the organization and also the degrees of satisfaction with productivity and profitability in the organization as whole. The application of the Likert-type scale is an important methodology in assessing the opinions and attitudes through an instrument of survey. The data gathered from the Likert-type scale answers on the survey instrument made it easy for a statistical analysis of the level of the association and the relationship between variables (Steven, 2003, 10-58). The population from which participants were selected from was a group of organization staff working in Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc.

The permission to get to potential participants of the study selected randomly from the total population which was targeted was got from the senior authority in Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc organizations to participate voluntarily. The population for this study was a group of about 200 organizational staff members from Aviva Plc and HBOS Plc. A stratified listing of the staff members that differentiated the staff by their department was obtained. Probability sampling was utilized in selecting the sample for the research study from the target population. Probability sampling is regarded as the most thorough kind of sampling in a research of quantitative nature.  Moreover it makes it easy for generalization of the study population. Stratified sampling assisted in ensuring that there was enough representation of the members of the staff employed in all departments of the organizations.

Data Analysis

Data analysis in a casual relationship is described as correlating: scores on a given variable that is measured representing the observable fact of basic interest with or scores on a variable which is measured which is believed to be pertinent to the particular phenomenon. It was very important to make use of triangulation where a number of methods were used to cross check results before coming up with a robust generalization. Initially, the scores which were based on the perceptions participants on leadership against productivity and profitability were tabulated in an effort of establishing the relationship of leadership with profitability and productivity in organizations. The average score of the survey instrument were correlated together with the measure the outcomes of the leadership process and the extent to which productivity and profitability depended on leadership. The analysis of the data gathered incorporated a bi-variate correlational statistics in testing all the study hypotheses. Statistics of a descriptive nature included the mean of the population as well as the standard deviation. These preceded inferential analysis of statistics to establish if the scores of the population were usually distributed.

The variables of demography taking into account the leadership position level were put in an analysis having a basis on a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). This was opted for because it has been successful on various occasions when carrying out research studies (Scharmer, 2009, 34-56). A descriptive statistics meant for each particular item in the instrument of survey offered a supplementary research data analysis. The Statistics Package meant for Social Sciences (SPSS) software program of computer came in handy in generating information of statistics based on the collected data from the already filled survey instruments. Quantitative data got from the filled in instruments of survey were fed into the SPSS as they were received. The coefficient of statistical test correlation was utilized and the findings shown in a matrix of correlation. More analysis needed the reporting the rates of response of data got from the surveys (Stake, 1995, 49-66; Podsakoff and Dalton, 1987, 419-44).


Self-determined questionnaires, one on one interview and emailed questionnaires have a possible disadvantage of lack of interest by the targeted population (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005, 34-56).  Getting a sample size of 200 characteristic of the targeted population can be tedious. A lot of time and money is required to make a thorough analysis before arriving at the final sample. Cash prizes or gifts would be required to increase the rates of return of the questionnaires (LeCompte and Goetz, 1982, 31-60). Another drawback to the questionnaire use was the absence of the procedures of helping out the participant at times when the participants are stuck on the way (Corbin and Strauss, 2008, 34-7; Raimond, 1993, 11-15). Again, probability sampling alone could not suffice and thus needed a stratified listing to ensure a good representation of staff from all departments. Probability sampling alone could be biased in some way.

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