In this chapter, research methodology will be presented in details, which covers the research objectives, research design, research methods, data collection approaches, data analysis approaches
As mentioned in the introduction chapter, the aim of this research is to identify and determine the supplier management in cross cultural business, which Wal-Mart in China has been chosen as the case-study organisation for this research. Therefore, based on the aim of the research, there are seven main research objectives for this research, which are presented as below:
- Identify the challenges in cross cultural differences for supplier management of Wal-Mart in their China expansion;
- Identify the problems and difficulties have met in supplier management for Wal-Mart when they expanded into China market;
- Identify the supplier management strategies of Wal-Mart in China market;
- Determine the suppliers’ attitudes towards the current supplier management strategies of Wal-Mart in China market;
- Identify and determine the performance of Wal-Mart in China market considering in supplier management aspect;
- Determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats of current supplier management strategies of Wal-Mart towards their China market;
- And give recommendations on improvement on supplier management for Wal-Mart and other multinational retail business in their China market for further development
In order to successfully achieve the research aims and objectives, this research is designed to use case study strategy to conduct the supplier management in cross cultural business. Saunders et. al. (2009) have stated that the case study strategy could specifically focused on a case for identifying business issues in real business world, thus to offer the details and in-depth research for the research aims. Wal-Mart in China market has been chosen as the specific case because the significant cultural differences from China and the US and the success performance of Wal-Mart in China market.
Based on the objective of the research, the field of the research has been decided, it covers four main aspects: cross cultural business, supplier management, Wal-Mart and China. Hence, by combining the results from literature review, survey and interview, Figure 3-1 shows the research methodology for this research.
Data Collection Approaches
As mentioned by Abramson and Abramson (1999), “The choice of data collection method depends on the information you need to achieve your evaluation objectives”. As this research is aimed to evaluate the supplier management in the real organisation, the data utilised for analysis need to be updated and accurate; therefore, three main data collection approached are chosen to utilise, as below:
Interviews is "a purposeful conversation in which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and another answers them (respondent)"(Oatey, 1999, pp2), it is widely used to gain information on a particular topic or area to be researched. It can lead to further research using other methodologies such as “observation and experiments” (Jensen and Jankowski, 1991, pp101). Therefore, interview could directly identify the perspective and certain issues from the interviewee; it could get the primary research data for research analysis. Through the interview, interviewer cannot only get the required answers towards he proposed questions, but also could through the interaction and observation in the interview process to determine the more depth information of the interviewee towards the research questions (Saunders et. al., 2009). As the aims of this research is to identify and determine the supplier management of Wal-Mart towards China market, the interview on the suppliers of Wal-mart in China could be the most direct way to get the required research dada. Due to the vast territory of China, the large numbers of participations in this research is difficult to achieve, the interview is taken on the suppliers of Wal-Mart in China in some major market, which covers Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou and Chengdu.And there are overall ten suppliers have attended for the interview. On the other hand, five supplier management officers from five cities are invited to attend the interview to determine the difficult they met and the specific supplier management strategies they adopted towards the China market. During the interview, some open-ended questions could help the interviewer to “probe deeper into the initial responses of the respondent to gain a more detailed answer to the question” (Wimmer and Dominick, 1997, pp156). And due to it is one-to-one interviews, the interview protocol is created and utilised for the interview (shown in Appendix A), as interview protocol could not only help to complete the interview more systematically, but also could include some follow-up questions “that might be helpful for obtaining further information when probes do not result in covering the areas” (Abramson and Abramson, 1999).