Jankowicz (2005) mentions, that methodology is the process or approach to undertake a research or study. Prior to follow a methodology, it is essential to understand the research philosophy, which according to Grinnell (1993 cited Kumar, 1999, p. 6) “research is a structured inquiry that utilizes acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates new knowledge that is generally applicable”. When researching it could be apply to any situation, either for professional or personal purpose.
In this case, the main purpose of doing research is to develop an investigation about real situations that may increase or change the knowledge of a particular management problem (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002). Therefore, the diverse research methods will be discussed in this chapter, which among other strategies it involves collection and analysis of the research data (Blaxter et al, 2001; Collis and Hussey, 2003).
Research Philosophy The understanding of philosophical positioning of research is useful in the way that helps researchers to clarify alternative designs and methods for a particular investigation and identify which are more likely to work in practice (Ghauri et al, 1995). In this case, research philosophy is about the way the researcher perceives the development of the knowledge and the way the information can be acquire through different processes, besides it provides an ideology to carry out the research (Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al, 2003; Bryman, 2004).
Therefore, there are two main views related to research philosophies: positivism and phenomenological, which is also known as interpretivism approach (Denscombe, 2002; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al, 2003; Jankowicz, 2005). Saunders et al. (2003) point out that the phenomenological approach proposes the discovery of subjective meanings in for example humans’ behavior in order to understand and give interpretations to their actions and reactions to particular situations (Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al. , 2003).
Nevertheless, it is important to have in mind that one is not a better philosophy than the other. The philosophy “depends on the research question that the researcher is seeking to answer” (Saunders et al, 2003, p. 85). From the above mentioned, the research philosophy of this study is based on the develop of skills and knowledge without aiming to generalized and seeking for the truth, but to focus on understanding of human behavior based on the descriptions and experiences of people in specific situations (Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al. 2003; Jankowicz, 2005).
Hence, this research will take an interpretivism philosophy, because the study is related with employee mentoring and attitudes towards job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The role of social learning processes and characteristics of a good mentor may have a great influence on the above mentioned attitudes of employees, which is based on different meanings and interpretations that individuals could have on their own experiences. In addition, Collis and Hussey (2003, p. 7) said “it is an approach which assumes that the social world is constantly changing, and the researcher and the research itself are part of this change”.
Not only the social world is changing, but also the global business environment is and using an interpretivism approach provides flexibility to confront those changes. Whereas the positivistic approach is characterized by seeking law-like results that can be generalized and there is an objective truth that exist in the world and can be revealed through the scientific method, where the focus is on measuring relationships, systematically and statistically, between variables.
Research Approach According to Saunders et al (2003), a research is conducted to analyze existing theories, or to establish new theories as a result of recent findings. This will depend on whether the approach is deductive or inductive. A deductive approach is where the researcher develops a theory which will be tested, whereas an inductive approach is where the theory will be developed from the analysis of the data that is going to be collected.
The nature of this research is not to find a specific theory but an explanation of an existing situation, for example, in today’s global business environment. Therefore, this research will place the inductive approach which is closely related with the interpretivism philosophy due to its characteristic of not assuming results that are inferred from general conjectures, but developing an explanation from the data collected where general conjectures are induced from specific cases (Jankowikz, 2000; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al. , 2003).
Research Purpose An important part of a research and mainly seeing it from the perspective of its objectives, is to identify the purpose of it, which according to some authors can be classified as exploratory, descriptive, explanatory and predictive (Kumar, 1999; Saunders et al. , 2000; Collis and Hussey, 2003). Whereas, the exploratory study is carried out to explore areas, identify variable and look for hypothesis instead of confirming hypothesis, the predictive study forecasts the result of an event and anticipate the outcomes of that event which is under study.
On the other hand, an explanatory (analytical) study focuses on studying a situation or a problem in order to discover and measure the relationship between variables, while a descriptive study identifies, describes and provides information of a particular issue (Kumar, 1999; Saunders et al. , 2000; Collis and Hussey, 2003). Therefore, the purpose of this research, taking into account its objectives is exploratory due to the fact that it tries to examine the impact of employee mentoring on their attitudes towards job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
The role of social learning processes is also very important in the relationship between mentoring and job attitudes. The qualities of a mentor also play a great role in this relationship. Hence, it would lead to find strategic recommendations for the organization involve in this investigation. Data Collection To answer the research question and achieve the objectives of the research there is the need to collect data, (Saunders et al. , 2000). There are two main data resources, secondary and primary data.
Secondary data is the one that already exists from previous investigations and it can be found in books, journals and films (Saunders at al, 2003). Primary data is the one that is recollected from the research and it can be obtained by using methods such as questionnaires, interviews, focus group, and other (Collis and Hussey, 2003). Saunders et al. (2003) points out that literature review helps to develop an understanding and insight into relevant previous research.
Collis and Hussey (2003), add to Saunders’s point of view saying that exploring the existing literature will help to have a better overview on previous research that has been conducted and its impact on the studied research problem. In addition, Saunders et al (2003) classify the secondary data into three types: documentary, survey-based and multi-source. For this investigation, it will be useful the documentary secondary data because written documents such as articles taken from the Internet, journals, books among others, could be relevant information to be used.