THE ASSIGNMENT AND MARKING CRITERIA FOR THE RESEARCH PROPOSALS
Your assignment is to supply the proposal for the brief provided and should cover the criteria below. You do not need to have a distinct section for each point below (e.g. sampling and procedures could be merged).
THE QUANTITATIVE GROUP-BASED RESEARCH PROPOSAL – –
BRIEF Group focus –
Introduction (approx. 800 to 1,100 words)
This should introduce the topic and consider what research has been done in this area, what are the gaps in this area / why is this interesting?
- Research question and hypothesis (approx. 100 to 250 words).
There should be between three to five research hypotheses, including one that involves testing of a third variable (i.e. mediation or moderation).
- Make the following into hypotheses/(sis)
- Impact on Flexible working and team efficiency/link with brief on lack of management working– does it encourage better management
- Flexible working and work life balance – does flexible working allow for…
- Testing flexible working with varied working hours?/ do people working from home work shorter or longer hours?
Method (approx. 800 to 1,000 words)
- Research paradigms and design
What is the study’s epistemological and ontological position? How this relates to the research question posed?
- Sampling and data
What are the variables in this study and what types are they? How many participants will be recruited and how will this be done? How are constructs operationalised? How will the study be carried out?
What are the potential ethical implications here and how will they be mitigated?
A description of what statistical tests will be used to test the hypotheses and any considerations to take into account.
The Assessment Brief
Your team has been approached by Metis Communications, an organisation that operates customer
service call centres on behalf of clients in the banking, travel, and utility industries. Metis
Communications has approximately 500 call handlers that work across their call centre sites in the
east of England. The organisation, like many call centres, has historically struggled with high
turnover, poor job satisfaction and low employee engagement.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, call handlers were able to work from home, although many have
now returned to work on site. This has been a controversial decision among staff, with some keen to
continue working from home while others have welcomed the opportunity to return to call centres.
While it is uncertain as to what the world of work will look like moving forward, there is increased
recognition on the opportunity, and need, for more flexible ways of working. The organisation sees
these as including the ability to work from home, part-time and job share opportunities, flexible
hours, family-supportive policies, and more. Metis Communication believes that flexible working
could encourage better work-life balance, which in turn, might lead to more satisfied and productive
Metis Communication would like to put together some guidance and policies around flexible
working but are not certain what this should cover. There is considerable disagreement among
senior management as to what flexible working actually is and whether the organisation already
offers it. Questions are also being asked as to why flexible working is needed and what are the
advantages and disadvantages it will bring. Some frontline managers have also expressed concern
that flexible work may come at the expense of team efficiency and that it makes their roles more
difficult. Equally, anecdotal feedback from staff suggests that managers varied in how supportive
and effective they were when staff had to work remotely. Remote working, job sharing, and part time hours also potentially limits opportunities for training, support, and communication between
colleagues. All this links in with broader questions on what factors might be needed to facilitate
different forms of flexible work. While the union believes that more flexibility would allow for a
more inclusive and supportive environment, they are concerned that the push to flexible working is
a guise to increase precariousness among workers, reduce the overheads of estate costs and to
place business risks onto workers. It is also concerned that those working flexibly will end up
working longer than their contracted hours or have to work more intensively.
Metis Communication is keen to use an evidence-based approach to inform their understanding of
flexible working practices related to their call handlers. They do not have any specific research
questions and invite you to review the corresponding research literature, identify an appropriate
research gap and to develop two separate research proposals for them to consider.