Monday, August 17, 2015

I/O Psychology - RES 731 - Research Proposal - (Masters Degree Program) - by Sean Delevan (Edited by writing expert)

Iwamoto, Crews, Coe (IC2) Research Proposal
 Sean Delevan
13 August 2015

Iwamoto, Crews, Coe (IC2) Research Proposal
     “A business’ efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability depends on how well its employees function in the organizational structure” (Apollo Group, 2009, pg.2). Iwamoto, Crews, Coe (IC2) is an Industrial Organizational consulting firm that specializes in the improvement of organizational development, professional growth, marketing, and public relations. The purpose of this paper is to review an organization that specializes in the design, development, and distribution of surgical equipment used for minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedures: Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc.
     In this review will be the identification of a problem that the organization is currently facing, applicable research that will aid IC2 with the correction of such problems, and the most appropriate research method and design to use in an effort to rectify the situation. In this evaluation will be the inclusion of potential threats to internal and external validity in the research to follow, in conjunction with the best ways in which to circumvent them.

Background of the Problem and the Purpose

     Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. is currently facing some challenges within the organization. Challenges that have surfaced are not related to product value or distribution capabilities as the organization has been rapidly expanding over the course of the past five years. The problem lays with the organizations ability to hire enough people that meet the qualifications put forth by the organization to ensure that there will be continued success. The number of salespeople must be exponentially increased to appease the rapid growth that the organization is currently experiencing, and projected to continue experiencing.
     Currently, “the organization’s goal is to employ 90 sales professionals, and hire and train them, using a phased approach based on production schedules and product availability” (Apollo Group, 2009). Due to the organizational growth this company is experiencing, there needs to be a more effective measurement of sales people soon to be recruited. The organization has to hire people that will be effective during the organization’s continuous growth. The research proposal to follow will serve the purpose of developing effective tools and reporting methodologies to determine if employees will be operative while they are still in training.
     This particular challenge is of concern to Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. because the lack of qualified recruits, new hires, and sales personnel within the organization can substantially hamper the organization’s ability to be successful. The organization is growing rapidly and therefore, new sales personnel must be able to adequately adapt to the growing needs of the organization without hindering the organization’s ability to be successful. The primary goal is to reduce the overall risk of high turnover rates amongst new employees.

Research Method and Design Appropriateness

     “Because the future success of new hires is determined on their mastery of training material, Benedek has contracted with IC2 to design the multiple choice tests, and administer and report test results at the conclusion of the initial and subsequent training sessions” (Apollo Group, 2009). To truly understand which research method and design is most appropriate in this case, the question that must be posed is whether or not the implementation of a sales aptitude test will aid in determining the current and projected effectiveness of sales personnel within the company? With this question posed, it is hypothesized that the utilization of a sales aptitude test will, in fact, help to enhance the performance and overall effectiveness of newly hired sales personnel.
     This particular type of research is collectively recognized as quantitative in nature as it incorporates the use of questionnaires to determine individual adaptability and aptitudes. The implementation of a quantitative type of research method will help IC2, as well as Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. to identify the cause and effect of issues that might arise, and are already prevalent within the organization as they relate to comprehensive selection processes. The use of multiple choice tests in the quantitative research approach will be advantageous because it is described to be a “realist approach, sometimes positivist, while the world view underlying qualitative research, the opposite of quantitative research, is viewed as being subjective” (Creswell, 2012).

The Scientific Method

     The scientific method, as it pertains to Industrial Organizational research, is explained to be “a way to ask and answer questions by making observations and doing experiments” (Anderson, 1983). Following the steps of the scientific method, the first responsibility is to ask a question. The question as it pertains to the aforementioned issue Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. is facing is whether or not the implementation of multiple choice tests at the conclusion of new employee initial training and subsequent training sessions will increase retention rates. Thereby, solidifying the organizations workforce in such a way that continued, and rapid growth can remain plausible.
     Having appeased the first step of the scientific method, asking a question, the second step entails the conduction of background research regarding the potential effectiveness of implementing aptitude tests. Initial research, presented by a Human Resource Management Professional, Georgina Clatworthy (2015) submits that the implementation of employee aptitude tests, in conjunction with interviewing techniques, can greatly aid Human Resource Managers in making informed decisions when it comes to hiring new employees.
     To ensure that this step is followed and remains applicable to the research at hand, there would need to be different types of aptitude tests utilized to ensure that the goal of employee retention is achieved. Due to the nature of the business and niche that the Benedek Medical Technologies organization operates in, the first type of aptitude test would need to be a knowledge test. Knowledge tests are “designed to measure how much a candidate knows about a particular aspect of the job and should be based on a particular topic that is relevant to the job to ensure the candidate has the required level of knowledge” (Clatworthy, 2015).
     A second applicable type of aptitude test that should be utilized in the initial determination of candidates for this organization would be personality tests. The majority of the people that Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. will be hiring will be sales associates which, by its very nature, means that they will be making, or not making sales, based on the candidates ability to appeal to the consumers and shareholders. Clatworthy (2015) explains that there are several types of personality tests available but employment screenings will commonly use one that is intrinsically designed to measure five basic factors of personality: “(1) openness to experience, (2) extroversion, (3) agreeableness, (4) conscientiousness, and (5) emotional stability” (Clatworthy, 2015).
     The most applicable type of personality test that should be used by this organization was developed by Briggs Myers. It is composed of 44 questions and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. An example of some of the questions that will be in this particular survey include a scale of 1-4 wherein candidates are to determine which closely represents their personality. Calm/energetic, traditional/innovative, supportive/logical, organized/spontaneous, shy/outgoing, factual/imaginative, and many more (Truity, n.d.). 

     The third step in the scientific method is to develop a hypothesis which was done in the earlier portion of this proposal. To recap, it is hypothesized that the utilization of a sales aptitude test will, in fact, help to enhance the performance and overall effectiveness of newly hired sales personnel. In these testing procedures will be the inclusion of personality testing and knowledge testing which will both viably determine each candidate’s adaptability capabilities.
     To most meritoriously test this hypothesis, it is recommended that Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. generate a pool of potential candidates wherein half of the group of candidates will remain as the control group. This control group will go through the hiring process that the organization has used in the past and will not undergo any of the proposed changes that have been presented by IC2 consultants. The second half of the group will undergo the hiring process in the newly proposed manner and after a period of six months, all employees will be reevaluated and turnover rates will be measured for each group.
     To validate the aforementioned hypothesis, there will need to be substantially lower turnover rates in the experimental group compared to those in the control group. If this is not the case, IC2 and Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. will need to reevaluate the proposed methods in which to achieve this goal as this will emulate the fact that aptitude tests are not the key to ensuring retention rates and continued organizational success.

Data Analysis

     “Data analysis is the process of finding the right data to answer your question, understanding the processes underlying the data, discovering the important patterns in the data, and then communicating your results to have the biggest possible impact” (Mosteller & Turkey, 1977). Data obtained throughout this research will be analyzed using what is referred to as Constant Comparative Analysis. This particular approach was initially intended to be used in the Grounded Theory Methodology of research but has since become applicable to other forms of research as well. It is in this method that symbolic interactionism and strategy is identified. This is achieved by taking one piece of data and comparing it to others that may be similar or different in an effort to efficaciously develop conceptualizations of possible relationships between pieces of data.
     For example, people that have a Master’s degree and more work experience may be more introverted than those that have an Associates and have less work experience. This is something that would need to be realized when Benedek Medical Technologies, Inc. is recruiting potential sales personnel. “Naturalistic inquiry, thematic analysis, and interpretive description are methods that depend on constant comparative analysis processes to develop ways of understanding human phenomena within the context in which they are experienced” (Thorne, 2000).
     For data analysis to continue to be accurate and reliable throughout the course of this research, researchers should also make it a point to compare and contrast the different types of personalities that have surfaced as a result of the aptitude tests. This will help to determine what personalities are naturally more likely to succeed in a rapidly growing, and demanding sales environment compared to others. This information is then compared to those in the control group to determine not only if the new testing procedures have been effective, but how members of the control group differ from those in the experimental group on a personal and professional level.

Reliability and Validity

     To improve testing results for the sole purpose of ensuring research reliability and validity, it is important to establish the questionnaires in an easy to read and understand format.  Furthermore, qualitative analysis and the review of the data will not be considered reliable or valid if certain components are, or were not present in the initial study. For example, those that are involved in the study must be able to comprehend the phenomenon that is being studied, understand what their role is in the study, and compare other similar studies to the findings that result.
     Other ways that the reliability and validity of the study can be achieved, or improved upon is through consistency. If one group of candidates has a different experience than a secondary group, this will ultimately eliminate the reliability of the study and create and ethical issue in regard to the truthfulness and completeness of the findings overall. Accuracy can be achieved through the assurance that the most up-to-date testing equipment and questionnaires are used and reliability can be achieved when results are the same every time across a series of experimental groups.

Internal and External Validity

     When using questionnaires, sometimes the layout can be poorly organized and respondents might repeat a pattern when answering rather than providing accurate information. “If given a choice of response on a scale 1-5, they will usually opt for the middle point, and often tend to miss out subsections to questions” (Brace, 2008). This can be perceived as a threat to both internal and external validity because the researchers are going to annotate inaccurate information that will later then be communicated to interested parties inaccurately.
     Threats to internal validity can be seen in history; meaning an event that was anticipated occurred during the process of the research which would not likely occur in another experimental group. This would change the data markers and create more room for invalid information. External validity can be improved upon be ensuring that population and ecological representations are similar and accurate throughout the experiment. While this is important to ensuring that validity is achieved, it can also lead to ethical issues relating to discrimination.

Ethical Issues

     “Human subject issues are most salient in survey research, experiments, and field research and least salient in existing documents, secondary data analysis, content analysis, or historical-comparative research” (Neuman, 2011).    The ethical component of research is paramount when determinations of validity and applicability are being conducted.  While some experiments may present ethical issues by their very nature, there are five steps that researchers can intentionally make to ensure that the most common ethical issues are avoided.
     First, researchers must discuss intellectual property frankly which means that researchers are to be frank with research participants regarding the purpose of the research, their role, and how the information will be used. All participants in this particular research are to be made aware that their involvement in the study will not have any extra bearing on their ability to work with the organization. Also, researchers are to be conscious of their roles during the research process. This means that they are not to guide participants in any way  and all information that is obtained is to remain unchanged and in its original state for the purpose of comparison and data analysis. Finally, all candidates must sign an informed-consent document stating that they are aware of their involvement in the study and that they understand it has no outside bearing on their ability to achieve gainful employment.
Anderson, P. F. (1983). Marketing, scientific progress, and scientific method. The Journal of Marketing, 18-31.
Apollo Group (2009). Iwamoto, Crews, Coe (IC2) organizational development. Retrieved from virtual organizations portal.
Brace, I. (2008). Questionnaire design: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research. Kogan Page Publishers.
Clatworthy, G. (2015). Can aptitude tests really predict employee success? Retrieved from
Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.
Mosteller, F., & Tukey, J. W. (1977). Data analysis and regression: a second course in statistics. Addison-Wesley Series in Behavioral Science: Quantitative Methods.
Neuman, L. (2011). Social research methods. Qualitative and Quantitative approaches (7th ed.). Pearson Education.
Thorne, S. (2000). Data analysis in qualitative research. Evidence based nursing3(3), 68-70

Truity Research (No Date). The TypeFinder research addition. Retrieved from

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