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The topic selected for this research project is “to study the factors due to which, the use of merger and acquisitions (M&A) is increasing within Airlines Industry: in the context of Delta and Northwest Airlines”. It concentrates on studying the factors due to which, M&A within Airline Industry is increasing continuously. With increasing competition, it has become difficult for most of the airlines firms to maintain their position in the industry and in this concern; companies are moving towards this business strategy (M&A). Here, this topic is selected with an aim to analyze the key factors responsible for increased use of M&A so that an overall understanding among others airlines firms could also be developed.
The main aim of the selected research project is to analyze the factors responsible for increasing M&A within Airlines Industry in the context of Air France and KLM. For attaining this aim, subsequent objectives would be followed:
For successful completion of a research project, there are several research methods that could be used as per the suitability of the selected research problem and need of researcher. Likewise is the case with this research project that could be accomplished with the help of inductive and deductive research approach or with the use of both of the approaches. Both of these approaches are quite helpful but there selection is fundament to the research objectives and availability of the data. In deductive research approach, firstly all theories and hypotheses are developed, so that a research strategy can be planned (Cooper and Schindler, 2006). On the other hand, in inductive research approach primarily data is gathered and analysed, so that a theory could be developed. Inductive research approach is advantageous in regard to researching and empathizing active social behaviour and formulating substantial conclusions.
For the purpose of this study, inductive research approach is selected, as it is an exploratory study. It is significant in identifying the factors responsible for increased use of M&A in airline industry. The factors responsible for this are not certain, so it is much more effective to use inductive research approach. Here, deductive approach is not selected as it pertains to the some facts that are related to positivism research philosophy. Use of inductive approach would be significant to arrive at legitimate research outcomes and conclusion and increase research effectiveness.
In addition to inductive research approach, other significant research methods that could also be applied for completing this project are action research, experiment, case study, and survey. All these research methods are quite beneficial in regard to gather real world information and improve research credibility, validity, and reliability. Selection of research methods depends on research aim and objectives as for this research; researcher has used case study analysis and survey. These methods are selected with an aim to collect real world information that could be implied in a business environment.
The success of a research significantly relies on research methods as well as selection of appropriate research tools. There are different research tools that could be used for a research project like questionnaires, interviews, sampling, observation, records and documents, critical incident reports, diaries, probability assessment, citations and references etc. Without selecting effective research methods, it is not possible for a researcher to accomplish a project successfully. Selection of appropriate research tools directs a researcher towards effective findings and results (Bergh and Ketchen, 2009).
In regard to this research project, the key research tools that could be used are questionnaire, focus group interview, sampling, critical incident reports, diaries, records and documents, citations and references. Implication of all these methods assist researcher in accumulating both the primary as well as secondary data. Some of the researchers make use of only primary or secondary data, whereas some make use of both methods to improve research credibility (Creswell, 2003).
Similar is the case with this research project as it would also be completed with the help of both the primary and secondary data and due to this different research tools are also used. Use of different research tools is useful to assist researcher in collecting both the primary and secondary data and arrive at key research results (Cohen, Manion, Morrison and Morrison, 2007). Use of sampling is helpful to gather information from suitable sample size of individuals. Interview and questionnaire are significant in distinguishing different individuals’ views and perceptions in concern to factors responsible for increasing use of M&A in Airline Industry.
All these tools facilitate towards collecting primary data, whereas use of diaries, critical incident reports, record and documents, citations and reverences assist in gathering secondary data by reviewing obtainable literature (Creswell, 2003). Use of different tools helps in collecting sufficient data and arriving at valid conclusions and recommendations regarding selected research project.
For the completion of this researcher project is linked with the use of both primary as well as secondary data sources. The association of primary and secondary sources has facilitated the researcher to gather adequate and applicable information, which has allowed the researcher to evaluate as per the objectives of the study and accomplishment of the aims. Literature review method is very beneficial for the researcher to explain the application of the research issue and gain detail knowledge about the issue and its significance and how it can be resolved. Under this method, researcher has analyzed wide range of academic journal, web articles, published sources.
Literature review chapter provides fundamental directions to the researcher to follow the correct path, so that researcher can arrive at valid results. In addition, researcher has also provided referencing of all the sources used by him at the end of paper. This section is important because it avoids the issue of plagiarism and also creates awareness among the readers about the different information sources. All the books are also references by the researcher. In order to search related information, researcher has used different key terms such as hospitality and tourism industry, merger and acquisition, factors responsible for merger in airline industry, etc. This increases the credibility and authenticity of the study.
There is a wide range of research methods that can be used to gather information and data related to the research issue. By evaluating this range of methods, it would be easy to understand that researcher has used, which method and why. Assessment of all these methods, justifies the choice of using particular methods and overlooking other one. Subsequent is the evaluation of different research methods:
This is the first step in research, methodology process to succeed. If the researcher would not use adequate approach, his all effort will be vanished. Deductive and inductive, as per their names, are two different and entirely opposite approaches. Deductive approach is used when, research issue has linked with two factors only and based on real or universal truth (Goddard and Melville, 2004; Lindlof and Taylor, 2010). On the other hand, inductive approach is used when the issue is based on senses and different perceptions of the individuals. Although this approach is also used for real issues, but in these kinds of issue, individuals have different thought to react. In addition, deductive researcher approach is associated with the hypothesis development.
In the project of identifying different factors that are associated with the increases in merger and acquisition in airline industry, hypothesis development and concentration on general information is not appropriate. This researcher issue needs specific data, because it is related to various factors . As, there are several companies operating in airline industry and all the companies have different issues regarding merger and acquisition, such as profitability, high sales and revenue, global presence, etc. thus, inductive research approach is more appropriate. Different drivers are linked with the merger and acquisitions of any firms. For instance reason of merger between Delta and Northwest Airlines were different where as Air France and KLM were different, thus deductive is not suitable for this study, so researcher has taken inductive researcher approach.
Survey can be defined as a research method that is useful to collect primary data in the form of responses of individuals. This method is mainly use to collect quantitative data, which ensure the high extent credibility of the work. According to this method, researcher selects a sample size of the population and targets them to get their reviews about particular problem. This can be done through sampling and questionnaire.
Survey is used by researchers in all kinds of studies and fields such as sociology, health, psychology, behavioural science, etc. Different kinds of survey through which the questionnaire are sent to the consumers or participants are directly, through e-mail, online, street intercept, telephones, etc. The participants for the survey are the common airline consumers, who have used services of Delta and Northwest Airline. The main advantage of using this survey is a standardized method and avoids several errors. Additionally, it has some disadvantage also. In survey, there might be chances that participants would not give correct response due to lack of motivation.
Action research, which is also known as participatory research, can be understood as a process in which researcher create stability between the different factors that are related to the issue and the collected data (Gill and Johnson, 2002). This process is mutually connected with the different causes and facilitates the researcher to produce assumptions and predictions for the future changes. This type of research method is used by the researcher in those situations, where a cause-factor relationship can be developed (Cooper and Schindler, 2006). This process of action researcher comprises two steps at each stage which are reflection and observation. In this, firstly, researcher has to diagnosis the problem to plan for action. After this, he takes an action and the reflective learning lead him to observe and evaluate different factors (Punch and Punch, 2005).
In the field of social science, this methods is not so much important because it challenges the different methods by reflective a knowledge about the issue for future perspective and offering different variables (Cohen, Manion, Morrison and Morrison, 2007). Action research method is not suitable for identifying the factors of merger and acquisition in airline industry because it is not based on outside variables that are beyond the knowledge of social science.
Experiments are mainly used for quantitative research study, in which researcher has to provide statistical data in terms of numbers. This is a testing method, which is used to test hypothesis (Brace, 2008; Sekaran and Bougie, 2009). This kind of methods is mainly applied in the scientific researches in which researcher has to generate definite results. The nature of this study is qualitative at high extent and it is not a scientific study, additionally, it has lack of hypothesis, thus, this method is not suitable for this study. Different factors, responsible for merger and acquisitions are based on different situations and perceptions of individuals, thus, researcher has not used any experiments of testing methods in this study.
Therefore, a wide range of methods are available to conduct a research study, but all the methods cannot be applied. Thus researcher has taken some important methods and ways to collect data and produce results such as inductive approach along with case study strategy and survey method to collect primary data.
Selection of appropriate research methods leads the research to select effective tool of data collection. It is necessary to gain in depth knowledge about the issue and collect hidden factors and information related to the research. Several tools are used by researcher in their study, as per the selected, methods and research type, which are as follows:
Sampling is a tool to select a portion of individual among a large size, so that research can target them to gather data and their responses, which represent the responses of large population (Fuller 2011). Probabilistic and non-probabilistic are two important ways of sampling and in this study, researcher has use non-probabilistic sampling method. In survey through questionnaire process, a sample size of 50 customers of Delta and northwest Airline is used by researcher through these methods, which is based on non-discrimination policy (Lohr, 2009). Researcher has not take cluster sampling strategy, as it increases the chances of variability in the sample and it is a complex stagey in comparison of random (Fuller 2011).
Another tool of research is probability assessment, which is important to resolve the issue related to the mathematical problem. In experiment and action research, this tool is used to define a casual relationship among different variables, which have a relation with the research problem. This tool is applicable for deductive research, thus it is not suitable for this study. Probability assessment is taken especially in the problems of medical treatments and diagnosis. This tool of study is mainly based on subjectivity probability, which is not suitable for this study, because researcher has to identify different factors that should have a relationship with merger and acquisitions in airline industry.
This is most popular tool of the research to collect real and relevant facts from the external environment in term of responses of individuals. In the research problem related to behavioural and social science, questionnaire can be defined as an instrument, which has a series of different questions related to the research issue. This tool is taken in both survey and interview process. Thus, for the successful implementation of survey methods, researcher has used non-structured questionnaire process in this study. The questionnaire has 10 close ended questions, so that participants can give quick responses.
It is an attractive and effortless tool to collect data from individuals. It has also different categories such as structures, non-structure, formal, informal, semi structured, focused groups, etc. (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Lowe 2006). In this study of merger and acquisition identification needs, researcher has used a focused group analysis, in which he has targeted 6 executives of both Delta and Northwest Airline, who are also working in the firm after merger at middle level. This is essential to understand the situation that led both the companies towards merger.
This tool of research is applicable in both qualitative and quantitative researches and assist researcher to gather both kind of information. Observation means assessing the behaviour of others towards particular situations. This tool is not right for this study because in this researcher has to analyze environmental factors, which are based on differences in the behaviours of individuals (Somekh and Lewin 2005). In comparison of questionnaire tool, observation approach is time consuming and complex because it is a passive approach, which mainly uses for the mathematical problems. The main disadvantage of this tool is that integrates large amount of cost and need lots of time, sometime this can lead towards inactivity, thus, this tool is not used by researcher.
All the questions used in the study are based on the non-disguised questionnaire category because according to this pattern, researcher is free to present questions in any form and respondents are also free to given answer of any question instead of following a sequence.
Preparing record and documents to keep all the information secure is also imperative for the researcher. This tool supports the researcher to maintain tracks and records of different views of different people, so that these records can be used to evaluate the different factors that contribute in merger and acquisition. Researcher has used this tool to make record of survey responses as well as responses of focus group. This will help to avoid any manipulation in the study and use accurate data as it is. These record and documents can be anything such as a tangible object or digital information in the form of device, etc.
For completing a study in an effective and successful manner, it is vital to consider ethics and underlying ethics risks. While undertaking this research project that pertains to hospitality and tourism industry, researcher has considered different ethical risks to maintain research validity and credibility. Consideration of ethical risks is also done with an aim to maintain consistency. For collecting qualitative data literature review, case study analysis, reports, diaries etc are used whereas for collecting primary data, survey and focus group interview methods are used.
Ethical risks associated with secondary data collection tools is their applicability and citing the sources used to avoid charge of plagiarism and claims of copyright. Ethical risks pertaining to primary data collection tools are privacy of information collected from respondents. In this regard, all sources used are referenced in the end and cited throughout the research project. As well, researcher in the beginning also communicated to all the respondents that their personal information would be confidential and they could leave it as per their own needs and suitability.
In addition to this, for managing ethical risks the researcher has also developed an ethical code of conduct to maintain all respondents’ information privacy and confidentiality. To deal with the ethical risks of maintaining research reliability and validity, researcher throughout the study made use of both the qualitative as well as quantitative method so that, study’s validity and reliability could be improved. To deal with the issue of plagiarism and claims related to copyright all authentic sources’ are used with prior permission and approvals’. At the same time all sources used are mentioned in the reference section with thorough in-text citations to evidence others work.
Use of both the quantitative and qualitative research techniques have facilitated researcher in accomplishing all pre-determined research objectives. As well, it has also directed researcher towards the attainment of effective project outcomes (Silverman, 2005). Outcomes of this research project, evidences that there are several factors like competition, increasing market pressures, attaining highest market shares etc that in turn are motivating airline firms to make use of M&A. Use of qualitative techniques like literature review and case study analysis used for this research project was quite significant as it assisted researchers in developing a thorough understanding about the selected research topic along with its implications in real business world.
On the other hand, use of questionnaire survey and focus group interview was also quite helpful as it helped in collecting primary information so that secondary information could be supported and researcher could arrive at much more validated results (Ritchie, Burns and Palmer, 2005). Questionnaire survey and focus group interview facilitated towards collecting information from Delta and Northwest Airlines managers that in turn helped in identifying the key factors due to which the use of M&A is increasing in airline industry along with specific recommendations to use it more effectively in future.
Survey of companies middle level managers were significant to know their perceptions and beliefs’ related to increasing use of M&A, whereas focus group interview of both the companies senior managers directed towards enhanced understanding and analysis of key factors that force airline firms to use M&A as their key business strategy in present competitive environment. Use of both the qualitative and quantitative methods was quite helpful in arriving at final results that could be used by other business firms also as per their own needs and requirements related to this field (Veal, 2006).
With the help of above discussion, it is concluded that for undertaking a research related to behavioural science or social analysis, it is vital to take the study with the help of all essential research tools and techniques. Without developing a thorough understanding of different research tools and techniques, it is not possible to use it in regard to completing a research in an effective manner. The success of this research project undertaken is all due to researcher’s ability to understand different research approaches, methods, tools, and techniques as well as their application in real world research problem.
Here, inductive research approach is used as the problem is associated with the identification of factors due to which use of M&A is increasing in airline industry. For arriving at final conclusion and suitable recommendations researcher made use of different research methods and tools. Selection of all methods and tools was done as per the need to research topic and availability of resources.
First of all selection of research methods was done like deductive vs. inductive, case studies, action research, survey and experiments. Subsequent to this research tools like questionnaires, interview, sampling, and citations and references were picked out. Use of these methods was quite helpful to collect primary as well as secondary data. A mixed approach was used by researchers along with a specific code of conduct that in turn facilitated towards increasing research reliability, validity, and credibility.
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