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How To Use Research In Making Business Decisions

1888 words - 8 pages

In an ever-changing business environment, managers have to make decisions with far-reaching consequences, preemptive measures have to be taken in order to avoid threats and identify opportunities. With the help of business research, managers can make informeddecisions based on the result of an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem (Sekaran, 2003, p.5).This study will examine Caterpillar, Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of heavy equipment. The company prides itself in always being on the cutting edge of technology and its diversification in products and services such as construction, mining, transportation, forestry, energy, logistics, electronics, financing and electric power generation. Ranking 50 of Fortune500 this year, Caterpillar recently reported revenues exceeding 44.9 billion dollars (CNN Money, 2008). Despite this success, there is room for improvement. The low-cost competitors constantly present a threat of eroding its market share. Therefore, the utilization of sound business research methods would assist organizations in developing marketing strategies to address new targetaudiences, research new product lines, and how to maximize revenue in a competitive marketplace.For this investigation, descriptive study is recommended as it helps to ascertain and be able to describe the characteristics of the variables of interest in a situation (Sekaran, 2003, P.121). Through descriptive research, distinctions in data sets can be identified. The purpose of the study is to answer the objectives, and set the framework upon with a sound business decision can be made. Descriptive studies are aided by existing data, and as a significant amount of data is available for customers, suppliers, and competitors, that requirement is easily met. Thesecondary data can be examined in great detail through data mining to determine areas of opportunity. Primary data can then be collected to confirm initial findings, eliminate much of the guesswork involved, and establish more reliable forecasts.Some of the research questions/objectives used in this study include:-Do we know which customers we need/want to reach?-Do we know enough about them to provide the right value proposition that is of interest and meaningful to them?-How can we maximize our profits within these efforts?Problem statement is the research question a researcher is trying to answer. "It is a clear, precise, succinct statement f the question or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of finding an answer or solution (Sekaran, 2003, p.70). A well-defined problem is a problem half solved. This stage is very crucial as it sets the tone and focus for the final objective. Otherwise, the study may be a waste of time and money. In the worst case scenario, the data analyzed would even lead to poor business decisions. To ensure the study achieves its desired objective, it is important that the research design is...

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