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Research Methodology-1-July-Dec-14

Research Methodology-1-July-Dec-14

Section A (20 Marks)

Write short notes on any four of the following

1.      Meaning and importance of Research

2.      Research Methods vs. Research Methodology

3.      Components in decision making

4.      Principle methods of data collection

5.      Quasi-Experimental Designs


Section B (30 marks)

(Attempt any three)


1.      Discuss the role of research methods/ methodology in business/ industry.

2.      Describe the process of developing the research plan.

3.      Elucidate the research problems encountered by researchers in India.

4.      What do you understand by causal research? Discuss the various types of causal research?


Section C (50 marks)

(Attempt all questions. Every question carries 10 marks)

Read the case “Tesco- How training and development supports business growth” and answer the following questions:

Case Study: Tesco- How training and development supports business growth

Tesco is the largest British retailer and is also the world’s third largest grocery retailer with outlets across Europe, USA and Asia. The business began in 1919 with one man, Jack Cohen, selling groceries from a stall in the East End of London. Jack bought surplus stocks of tea from a

company called T.E. Stockwell. T.E. Stockwell and Cohen combined their names to brand the tea Cohen originally sold – TESCO tea. In 1929, the first Tesco store opened in north London.

Tesco has expanded since then by a combination of acquisition of new stores, retail services and by adapting to the needs of consumers. Tesco has net profits (before tax) of around £3 billion. Tesco’s primary aim is ‘to serve the customer’. Keeping existing customers happy is important, as they are more likely to return. This is more cost effective for the business than acquiring new ones.

As the company has grown, so has its workforce. From one man and a stall, Tesco now has approximately 280,000 employees in the UK and over 460,000 worldwide. To serve its widening markets it needs flexible and well-trained staff that can recognise the needs of the customer. Tesco’s employees work in a wide range of roles in both store and non-store functions, such as:

  • Customer Assistants on the shop floor either directly assisting customers or preparing orders for delivery to customers who have ordered online
  • Department Managers leading a team of Customer Assistants
  • Warehouse employees who help catalogue and store clothing, food or brown goods in Tesco Distribution Centres or in stores
  • Office-based staff working in a range of functions at Head Office, including Finance, Purchasing, Personnel or Marketing
  • Logistics staff who plan and carry out the distribution of products to stores.

Identifying training needs

Tesco’s aim to expand and diversify requires the business to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Many factors affect workforce planning:

  • The opening of new stores in new locations means that Tesco must adapt to different demands made by consumers. For instance, stores in highly populated diverse areas may need to sell a high proportion of specialty goods to meet the requirements of its customers, so selecting that stock requires a clear understanding of the customer profile in that area.
  • In-store and non-store based posts may require different technical skills and competencies.
  • Employees with a wide skills range who can work flexibly are more productive for the business.


Training is the acquisition of knowledge and skills in order for a person to carry out a specific task or job. Training benefits employees in several ways:

  • It increases their sense of ownership in the business.
  • They become more organised, productive and flexible and are better able to meet the needs of internal and external customers.
  • New skills and abilities in areas such as decision-making can empower staff, which makes them more effective.

Tesco offers employees both on-the-job training and off-the-job training. On-the-job training methods at Tesco include:

  • Shadowing – a person already in the job shows the employee how to do it
  • Coaching – a manager or designated colleague will help trainees work through problems and inspire them to find solutions
  • Mentoring – a more experienced member of staff acts as an adviser
  • Job rotation or secondment – the trainee has the opportunity of covering their target role, taking full responsibility on a temporary or limited basis.

For the employee, on-the-job training is directly relevant to their work, they get to know the people in their area and feel part of the team faster. On-the-job training also has several advantages for the company:

  • It is cheaper than off-the-job training.
  • Managers see progress and can help when problems arise to resolve them quickly.
  • The employee is still working during training so is more productive.
  • The employee puts learning into practice.


Development is about helping the person grow and extend their abilities. Tesco takes a shared responsibility approach to training and development. The trainee is primarily responsible for his or her development. Both the trainee and the line manager contribute to the programme by:

Table 1.1: Distinguish between trainee and line manager contribution


Tesco’s Options programme provides a long-term strategy for development. It offers, for example, workshops focusing on both leadership behaviours and operating skills. The employee’s Personal Development Plan includes Activity Plans, a Learning Log (to record what the key learning points of the training were and how they are going to be used) and a ‘Plan, Do, Review’ checklist to monitor when plans are completed. This allows trainees to carry out their own analysis of progress.

The benefits of training and development

A business needs to monitor and evaluate the costs and benefits of its training and development activities for financial and non-financial reasons. The business needs to know if the investment in time and money is producing improvements. Employees need positive, structured feedback on their progress in order to find direction and gain confidence. This will reflect in their behaviour with customers and inspire higher customer confidence in Tesco – one of Tesco’s main aims.

Tesco provides tools for highly structured monitoring and evaluation of training and development. This includes scheduled tasks, timetables, measures and checklists. Employees assess themselves by setting objectives in Activity Plans, Personal Development Plans and recording outcomes in Learning Logs. These continue to measure their improvement in performance after training. Activity Plans need to have SMART objectives:

  • Specific – describes exactly what needs doing
  • Measurable – has a target that can be measured against
  • Achievable – is possible within the trainee’s current role, skills and experience
  • Realistic – is achievable within the time and resources available
  • Time-framed – has a clear deadline.

Managers and trainees hold a weekly informal review session as well as more formal four weekly sessions to track progress against their personal development plans. The feedback is recorded and is carefully scored. Trainees are given a colour coded development rating:

  • Red – where progress is not on schedule
  • Amber – where some elements need more work
  • Green – where all activities are on target
  • Blue – where the trainee is ahead of the programme and using skills to add value.


Efficient and effective training and development of employees is an essential element for Tesco’s continuing growth in an increasingly commercial world. Tesco requires employees who are committed and flexible in order to aid its expansion of the business. The expansion of Tesco relies on retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones. All customers need to be confident and happy in Tesco. This relies on committed and flexible employees delivering the highest standards of service to meet Tesco’s objectives. Tesco’s structured approach to training and developing its existing and new employees provides a strong foundation for its continuing growth.



1.      Explain the difference between training and development. How have changes in customer expectations affected Tesco and its need to train staff?

2.      List the methods of training carried out by Tesco. Describe how training needs are identified.

3.      Analyse Tesco’s method of developing its employees. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of such a programme.

4.      Evaluate the benefits for Tesco in providing a structured training programme. To what extent do you think the training has achieved a Return on Investment?

5.      Analyse the case and highlight the main points.

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