Research in Business

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Suppose Marlboro executives read a research report written by the U.S. FDA. It indicates that the number of cigarette smokers in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade.

• What type of research might be conducted to explore this opportunity?
• Explain how a research study might be designed using the method you identify.
• Classify the research method you chose as exploratory, descriptive, or causal research. Provide rationale for your classification.

As in all interactions, ethical issues exist in research. Ethical questions are philosophical questions. Everyone involved in business research can face an ethical dilemma.

• Conduct scholarly research to find an example of unethical behavior related to business research. Evaluate and discuss the ethical issues of the case, which research obligations were violated, if any conflicts of interest were present, etc. For example, was the research characterized as “pseudo research,” such as sugging, frugging, or push polling? Or was it unethical collection and use of personal information by monitoring Internet activity, etc.?
• Next, suggest practical ways of curbing the unethical behavior. This could be through the establishment of formal standards of ethical behavior (for example “no call” lists for telemarketing, disclosure of how the information collected will be used and gaining the approval of the individuals providing the information to use the information for that purpose, safeguards for the protection of personal information from unauthorized access by others, etc.)
• Finally, suggest the most practical ways of ensuring these standards are enforced. Consider questions such as: Should there be legal consequences in the form of fines and/or prison sentences? Should there be licensing of the researchers/research firms so that licenses could be revoked for unethical behavior? Should there be professional codes of ethics for professional certifications? Should there be the equivalent of Better Business Bureaus to monitor and report on unethical behavior?

Conduct Internet research and find an article in the Wall Street Journal or similar source that discusses a business situation of a company in the electronics or defense industry.

• Identify a business problem that may be assisted through the research process.
• Describe how business research might help solve the problem.
• Summarize the components of a research proposal and identify how each could address this problem.
• Create a brief research proposal addressing each of the components identified.

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