Basics of the Method model

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2011

14 Pages, Grade: 5 Creditpoints


Table of contents

1. Scope of work

2. Article 1 (Discovering Your Authentic Leadership)
2.1. Objective
2.2. Method
2.3. Approach
2.4. Assessment of the conclusion and result

3. 2. Article 2 (Leadership That Gets Results)
3.1. Objective
3.2. Method
3.3. Approach
3.4. Conclusion

4. Article 3 (The Leader We Need Now)
4.1. Objective
4.2. Method
4.3. Approach
4.4. Conclusion

5. Final comments

Literature list

1. Scope of work

The following tasks have been discussed with University Professor Dr. XX in a personal conversation on 4/18/2011:

Select 3 articles or subjects from the topics management, leadership, organization of an English-speaking scientific magazine (e.g., Harvard Business Review) and describe all 3 on max. 15 pages, regarding the following methodical approach:

1.) Is the target defined clearly (one can recognize what the author intends, what he wants)
2.) Is the approach clear and logical? How can the approach be assessed
3.) Is the method suitable for the subject, which method was used, how can the method be assessed
4.) Assessment of the conclusion / of the summary (does it answer the questions (e.g., point 1), is it compatible with the target, has the target been reached.

The elaboration is described in the following chapters.

2. Article 1 (Discovering Your Authentic Leadership)

The article analyzed first is called "Discovering Your Authentic Leadership" from Harvard Business Review, issue February, 2007, from Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean to Diana Mayer.

2.1. Objective

As a goal one understands the future, in relation to the present, as a changed condition which is intended and worthwhile from the decision maker and evaluated by himself as final state[1]. The authors fathomed why, from more than 1,000 available studies of the last 50 years on the subject guidance, no clear profile of an "ideal" executive has arisen. They came to the final conclusion that a certain style of leadership was not necessarily vital, but the authenticity of the executive. Then the target of the authors was to find out how executives will become and remain authentic executives. Besides, they wanted to learn, how successful authentic executives developed their mental leadership skills.

So far it is evidently which goal the authors pursued, what their intention was. The question why "successful" executives are successful has to be answered. Which experiences and far-reaching circumstances in their life story influenced them? What they have learnt from these events, how they developed their own style and what they have successfully realized as a result.

The method used by the authors to reach the target is described in the following chapter.

2.2. Method

The authors selected the questioning (interview) as a survey method. Candidates were selected without consideration of religious, socioeconomic and state origin, but regarding personal knowledge of the authors and recommendations from a group of managing board members (half of the interviewees) as well as charitable leaders and executives which are just starting up their career. All together 125 questionings were carried out and approx. 3,000 pages of notes were taken. The interviewees were between 23 and 93 years old. Within the ages clusters were formed to receive always at least 15 interviewees per decade.

Questioning is a method in the qualitative research where data is won by means of reports or guided interviews. Characteristically for an interview is, that in general the interviewee can answer the questions by using their own words[2].

The questioning suits the author of this elaboration as a method of data ascertainment. The authors wanted to find out from successful executives how they developed these leadership skills, hence the answers were not pre-defined, as e. g. in a questionnaire, and a leeway for their possible answers had to be given to the interviewees. Other possibilities of data collection, as for example the observation or the experiment, would probably not have led to reach the target, because individual stories and depending on the persons asked by the authors they would probably neither have come to a conclusion nor uncovered the background. After the examination of the applied methods, the next chapter features the approach and proceeding of the authors.

2.3. Approach

The authors preselected 125 executives as an adequate sample choosing from the established procedures "check at random" or "census", the authors decided to use check at random. This is from the author’s view of this elaboration applicable, because a complete census (with all executives) seems to be not feasible and the total population is vast. The literature defines the check at random as the part of the total population which is questioned on behalf of it. The results achieved by check at random will be extrapolated to the total population.[3] The assumption is that the selection of the 125 interviewees is rather random and obviously systematic procedures were not used. Considering whether the selected random choice of "only" 125 interviewees is representative or not reaching a statistically significant minimum size the author of this elaboration therefore doubts, that the relatively small selection, considering the very large total population, is not sufficient for gaining results. There are further doubts whether the selection of the check at random made by the authors corresponds to those of the total population.

It might also be a problem that the author’s precognition as interviewer would lead to a reselections of the results achieved. It can be presumed very difficult to be impartially during the interviews, only analyzing the raised data in disguise forming a theory.

There are no further allusions to future planning of the questioning within the article. Also the article did not mention the approach during questioning as well as the evaluation. Assortment and structuring of the statements were not described, however, seemed to be occurred, on page 5 a recommendation was given how to be an authentic executive. How far qualitative or quantitative selection procedures have been used could not be detected from the article. There is no evidence if any method of analyzing the content, for example the flow chart (structured contents analysis by Mayring[4] ), was used.

After the objective, the methods and the approach were examined in the preceding chapters, the conclusion or the summary is finally evaluated at the next chapter.

2.4. Assessment of the conclusion and result

The assessment of the authors’ conclusion should be made on the basis of the following questions:

- Provides the conclusion an/the answer to the ascertained targets
- Is the conclusion compatible with the authors’ targets
- Has the authors’ target been reached?

Finally the author of this elaboration own conclusion will be on.

The complex target „How will executives become and stay authentic executives“ was reached from the point of view of the author of this work This can be seen in the list on page 5. On page 5, 8 points an authentic executive should internalize are mentioned. These 8 points are about the following statements or questions:

- Which people and experiences in your early life had the greatest impact on you?
- What tools do you use to become self-aware?
- What are your most deeply held values?
- What motivates you extrinsically?
- What kind of support team do you have?
- Is your life integrated?
- What does being authentic mean in your life?
- What steps can you take today, tomorrow, and over the next year to develop your authentic leadership

From the point of view of the author of this work, these questions fit well to document the target achievement.

Also, from the view of the author, the declarations already made at the beginning of the article like for example "No one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else", "People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else" or "You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else" subsume the targets to be reached concisely. They give adequate answer to the ascertained targets. Especially from these quintessence’s, the compatibility with the targets is distinguishable. From the point of view of the author of this work, the target of the authors of this article has been reached. The author of this work recognizes also that the compiled conclusions of the article come to an agreement with the, at the beginning, defined target of the authors.

As a result of this elaboration it can be subsumed that the article provides interesting insights into successful executives. Also the statement that everyone can be a successful executive, when action and guidance are authentic, positive and stimulatingly verbalized by the person. The article gives, unfortunately, not many insights about the applied methodical actions. Nevertheless, it is recognizable that the interviews were comprehensively and extensively analyzed. Doubt remains whether the well-chosen pool of 125 people is enough to secure the results statistically.

3. 2. Article 2 (Leadership That Gets Results)

The article analyzed second is: "Leadership That Gets Results" from Harvard Business Review, issue March-April, 2000, by Daniel Goleman. The procedure is the same as per point 1’s scope of work.

3.1. Objective

The objective in this article was difficult to find. In the beginning of the article a target was not evident. Only on the last page (page 14) the author of this work could discover a statement which is can be interpreted as an objective in the article. The following sentence is aiming at the target, which Daniel Goleman pursues: "With our new research, leaders, too, can get a clearer picture of what it takes to lead effectively". However, further general characteristics[5] of the objectives as for example particulars and relations are not included in this modeling. The target, as a fact which seems to be worthwhile to the author, is still provided. The author’s statement what can be understood, for example, by "effectively" can’t be discovered. The heading "Leadership That Gets Results" also not reveals a clear target definition.

The method applied by the author to reach the target is described in the next chapter.

3.2. Method

The method used by the author for the data acquisition is not clearly evident to the author of this elaboration. Page 2 of the article describes that the consulting firm Hay/McBer invokes on a random sample of 3.871 managers selected from a data bank of more than 20,000 managers worldwide. However, the used methodology (how the managers were questioned, questionnaires, interview etc.) is not provided. The article also provides no information on clusters as for example age, experience, education of the manger or size of managed enterprises. Page 2 of the article mentions that the carried out study could identify a total of 6 different leadership styles. Furthermore it is not visible how the study was carried out and which methods were used. The author of this elaboration assumes that the underlying study conducted suitable methods; nevertheless, the article does not reproduce which methods were used and whether these were used adequately.

After examination of the applied methods, the next chapter will reflect on the used approach by the author of the article.

3.3. Approach

Analogously to the first article, the author of the article or the study underlying the article has also decided on using the check at random data collection. Nevertheless, the selected sample with 3.871 well-chosen managers is exceeding and should thus be evident and representative. Also the ratio to the total population is larger. Page 2 indicates that the selection is a pick at random. Using this type of approach it is undisputable that interesting scientific result can be discovered by using pick at random. However, the problem of selective perception should not be underestimated[6].. Whether this approach has delivered correct scientific results or not, could not be taken from the article. In the article itself, partial results are documented, scattered all over the pages. Page 3 for example states: "We found that all six leadership styles have a measurable effect on each aspect of climate". As another partial result the sentence "Our research found that leaders use six styles, each springing from different components of emotional intelligence" is mentioned on page 7 (within the graphics "The six leadership styles at a glance").

The approach, for instance the method of questioning could not be detected, as well as there is no information about data evaluation. A kind of clustering seems to carried out, even if nothing is mentioned in the article, but the graphic, on page 7, which is a conception of the 6 styles of leadership occurs. Neither did the article reveal if qualitative or quantitative selection procedures have been used for the data evaluation nor could be found anything about approach action analyzing the content .

After the objective, the methods and the approach were examined in the preceding chapters, the conclusion or the summary is finally evaluated at the next chapter.


[1] Compare Dinkelbach, 1982, page 20, translated from German

[2] Compare Mayer, 2008, page 37, translated from German

[3] Compare Ebster und Stalzer, 2008, page 162, translated from German

[4] Compare Mayring, 1985, page 195

[5] Compare Adam, 1996, page 542, translated from German

[6] Compare Häder, 2006, page 297 - 298, translated from German

Excerpt out of 14 pages


Basics of the Method model
University of West Hungary
Grundlagen von Forschungsmethoden
5 Creditpoints
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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basics, method
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M.Sc. Wolfgang Illig (Author), 2011, Basics of the Method model, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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