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Nature of the Investigation Cradle of Indian Handcrafts is a small organization where problem

identification does not involve a cumbersome process. By interviewing the president and the vice
president in depth, and talking to the two assistants, the team was able to pinpoint the problem
areas fairly quickly. They also clearly delineated the specific issues to be studied. Thus, the problem
identification part of the investigation was done right. But, since the investigation had international
dimensions, and since the Indian culture is so completely different from the culture of the
investigators, it was also a difficult study to conduct. A qualitative study such as the one conducted
was a good way to go about finding solutions to the issues facing the organizations. The business is
small in terms of both the number of staff members and the clients (about 130 organizations).
Looking at the volume of business generated and the growing profits of Cradle of Indian Handcrafts,
it is obvious that the president’s strategy of resorting to obtaining bulk orders from a limited number
of high-end volume customers—the museums and the specialty stores—is a wise one. Since there is
not much competition in this specialized “handcrafts design” field, Sekar is able to keep the business
small and still have a highly profitable organization. It is necessary to examine the work done in India
and in the United States separately, to assess the quality of the research done in each area.
Investigations in India Information had to be obtained from the local manager in India, the Indian
customs officials, and from a sample of Indian artisans. It became quite clear that gaining access to
the customs officials even for a short conversation was difficult. Hoping to obtain written responses
to questions would have been wishful thinking. Under the circumstances, the researcher did the
right thing in deciding to resort to interviewing as the only data collection mechanism. Whether
through systematic probing, or serendipity, the consultant found that approaching the Central
Government officials might help minimize delays in inspection, which in turn, would speed up
shipping. Whether the application made based on the suggestion of the consultant will bring forth
the desired results or not remains to be seen. Perhaps the researcher could not have personally
done much more in this area. The bureaucratic nature of the Indian system and its impenetrability
are common knowledge. However, if the culture and values prevailing in the system were better
understood some different approach could have been taken, as mentioned later. Language barriers
and unfamiliarity precluded obtaining useful responses from the artisans. Hence, the researcher had
to come up with his own idea of how the delays in the delivery of the finished products could be
avoided. He had to rely on the manager’s suggestion that offering an incentive for timely work might
ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF THE RESEARCH DONE 383 accomplish the purpose—not a very
scientific way of generating a solution to resolve the problem. The information in David’s
handwritten notes of the several interviews with the local manager in India (in the Appendix) does
not indicate any serious problems experienced by the Indian manager, excepting for missed
shipment dates due to delays by artisans, and the unpredictable tardy inspections by customs.
Noteworthy, however, is the absence of specification of a method for the Indian manager to develop
individual work schedules, and a system to monitor their work progress on a frequent basis. This
aspect does not seem to have received much attention. In sum, the researcher did the right thing in
resorting to interviewing as the data collection mode. But his solutions were not generated from
purposeful interviews because he operated in a foreign culture that was perplexing to him and
defied his understanding. Hence, his recommendations were based more on hunches than facts. His
investigation cannot be called scientific. Investigations in the United States Information relating to
three different issues was collected in the United States. One pertained to the clients who refused to
accept some shipments for no apparent reason. The second related to those clients who would not
place the purchase orders on the scheduled dates after the president was invited for the purpose.
The third pertained to the matter of the fungus problem that resulted in returned goods. The last
problem relating to fungus seems to have been intelligently resolved, entailing minimal effort and
expenditure of resources. Knowing the right sources of information in the right organizations is
definitely an asset in research endeavors! It would seem that interviewing a sample of 9 out of the
total of 16 client organizations who refused to accept orders, and a sample of 6 of a total of 12
organizations that failed to place orders, was ample. The stratified sampling design used, based on
the regional location of the organizations, also seems appropriate. Those client organizations that
were in San Francisco, as well as those within a 100-mile radius, were personally interviewed, and
those located in different regions of the country were surveyed by telephone. Interviews were also
conducted with buyers at different hierarchical levels in each of the organizations with respect to
both of the issues investigated. From the interview questions (to be appended to the report), it
would seem that the questions asked were on target. Whether or not the telephone interviews were
appropriate for obtaining answers to such a delicate matter is, however, a moot point. HOW
SCIENTIFIC IS THIS STUDY? If we consider the seven hallmarks of science listed and discussed in
Chapter 2, this research investigation, as is generally the case with qualitative studies, does at best
meet only the criteria of purposiveness and parsimony. It does not meet the criteria of testability
(because this is not in the nature of a hypothesis testing 384 MANAGERIAL DECISION MAKING AND
RESEARCH study), replicability (since there is no database to repeat the results), accuracy and
precision (because no statistical tests were done), objectivity (due to the fact that some of the
conclusions are drawn from intuitive solutions), and rigor (since no scientific research design was
possible to be attempted). Does this, then, make the study useless? No, because, as we had noted
earlier in various parts of the book, this kind of a qualitative study does point out solutions to
remedy some of the problems (as it did in this study), though to what extent the solutions will be
effective can be judged only after implementation. Several qualitative studies attempting to find
answers to similar type of problems will form the basis for future theory formulation and hypothesis
testing. Thus, qualitative studies have their place in scientific investigations. WHAT ELSE COULD
HAVE BEEN DONE? Let us see if anything else could have been done to improve the quality of the
study that would have enhanced its value a little more. The following seem to be some aspects that
might have been useful to this investigation. We will first deal with the domestic part and then the
international part of the study. Domestic 1. It would have been better if some unstructured and
structured interviews had been first conducted with a sample of the total of 132 U.S. clients across
the country, to find out what they thought of and wanted from the Cradle of Indian Handcrafts. The
more focused, problem-centered interviews could have followed later. 2. Based on the information
gained through the unstructured and structured preliminary interviews, if considered necessary, a
questionnaire survey could have also been done. This would have provided hard data on matters of
concern to the client system. Such knowledge would be useful to enhance the effectiveness of the
business operations, as well as to enhance client satisfaction. 3. It would have been preferable to
have had personal rather than telephone interviews with the clients located in different regions who
had rejected big shipments. The information in the appendix indicates that all the eight clients were
residents of either Dallas, Texas, or Miami, Florida. Telephone interviews serve the purpose while
asking questions and seeking answers to certain types of topics. Responses to a delicate matter such
as the one investigated would be better forthcoming in a face-to-face interview, where the verbal
and nonverbal messages can be processed instantaneously by the researcher and appropriate
follow-up questions posed. India 4. As for the dialogue with the artisans in India, it would have been
useful if the investigator had sought the help of a native researcher (there are plenty of WHAT ELSE

COULD HAVE BEEN DONE? 385

universities in and around New Delhi), while talking to the artisans. This would have facilitated
comfortable interactions between the local artisans and the Indian researcher. By phrasing the
questions in a way that relates to the experiences of the artisans, pertinent and useful information
could have been obtained regarding the reasons for the delays in production by artisans. Better
suggestions for taking corrective action could have then become possible. Establishing rapport,
particularly while collecting data through interviews, is critical for obtaining good information from
the interviewees. 5. Insofar as the investigation regarding customs inspection is concerned, the
cultural nuances and politics of the situation were not taken into consideration. It would have been
advisable to have approached the customs at the very beginning through one of the high level
ministries entrusted with export promotion and who Anisha was familiar with. Later on, the services
of a local agent who has frequent interactions with customs officials in the course of his operations
should have been sought for follow-up of the application, and the job might have been quickly
attended to. The above is not relevant to the methodology, but to the politics of culture that a
researcher needs to be sensitive to, particularly in a foreign country. The lesson is that when one
who is not a native does research in a foreign country, it is always a good idea to link with another
native researcher who knows the ropes. Problem solving would be easier and more effective that
way. HOW HAS THE RESEARCH FACILITATED THE DECISIONMAKING PROCESS FOR THE PRESIDENT OF
CRADLE OF INDIAN HANDCRAFTS? The president has to make decisions with respect to the following
suggestions that will be highlighted in the report: 1. To change or not to change the current way of
drafting the purchase contract, to include the signatures of both the chief buyer and the vice
president of companies. 2. Should an incentive system be instituted for artisans who stick to their
production schedules without any delays? 3. What should be done to expedite the approval for spot
inspection from customs authorities in India? 4. Should she accept the recommended suggestion of
treating goods with wax to avoid mold and mildew formation? 5. When she recruits another
manager, how should the duties and responsibilities be reallocated? The easiest decision will be with
respect to item 4 above. The president would readily accept and implement the recommendation of
treating susceptible goods 386 MANAGERIAL DECISION MAKING AND RESEARCH with the special
wax. Even if a mistake is made and the wax treatment does not work, not much expenditure would
have been incurred. This particular remedy lends itself to immediate and easy implementation as
well. With regard to item 5, which is the next easiest to decide upon, the president would probably
accept the recommendation of first giving the incoming manager limited responsibilities, and then
entrusting the individual with the responsibility of handling the accounts of half of the clients. This
would ensure relatively smooth transition with minimal disruption to the clients and the office. The
first item of changing the format of the purchase contract so that it includes the signature of both
the chief buyer and the vice president, though apparently simple and useful, is ridden with political
implications. The buyers may wonder why the change is now being made, the chief buyer may
question and resent the change, and the vice presidents of the companies involved may not want to
increase their workload. Under the circumstances, it would probably be best if the president first
casually mentioned to the VPs the problem of the rejections after the orders are accepted, and
obtain their informal reactions. She could subsequently determine how best to take care of the
problem. As such, the president is not likely to accept this recommendation. As for the second item
of instituting an incentive system for the artisans, there may be no need to do this. The artisans are
paid adequately, especially compared to the other village artisans and to the living standards in the
area. If it is considered necessary to establish an incentive system, the president might consider
motivating the artisans in other ways. Given the president’s philanthropic bent of mind toward
furthering the progress of the families of the artisans, she may be more inclined to institute an
incentive that could be tailored to the family needs of the artisans. For example, she might offer to
bear the educational expenses of a child in the family, or finance the construction of a small house
for the artisan and his family, when goods are produced and delivered on time over a period of a
certain number of years. Such a scheme would serve the dual purpose of continuously keeping the
artisans motivated, and helping their families to experience a better quality of life. Before
considering any alternative, the president is likely to elicit suggestions from the artisans themselves
as to what would facilitate their adhering to schedules. Hence, this recommendation is also not likely
to be accepted. The third item of what she should do to get the quick approval of the customs is
baffling. Maybe the best solution under the circumstance is to find an agent who is familiar with the
rules and procedures of the system because of his constant dealings with export officials, and see
what can be done about the application that has been submitted. In this qualitative study, it would
seem that two of the recommendations made by the consultants should be clearly acceptable to the
president, and two others not. For yet another recommendation made, suggesting that the
president should vigorously pursue her application with the customs, the politics of culture were not
taken into consideration, and the solution offered was naive. HOW HAS THE RESEARCH FACILITATED
THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS? 387 AN UPDATE ON THE CRADLE OF INDIAN HANDCRAFTS AT THE
END OF 2001 The company is flourishing under Anisha Sekar’s guidance, operating from the fourth
and fifth floors of the mansion. The VP resigned for family reasons. Now a very competent general
manager practically runs the business with the help of a staff of 10 who attend to orders, make
shipments, maintain good customer relations, fight fires, and attend to all other related matters. The
company now has offices also in Egypt, Italy, and Taiwan, in addition to a full-fledged export office in
India with a general manager and a contingent staff of six others—a spinoff of the expanded
business in the past 2 years. The India office supervises the artisans, places production orders, and
ensures quality control and strict adherence to the specification of the orders. It also attends to
details connected with the shipment of goods, deals with the local customs, and oversees the
payments related to the shipments. The Cradle of Indian Handcrafts is a shining example of how an
organization can benefit through research. As we see, qualitative research can offer solutions but
the manager has to engage in experience-based decision making to a greater extent than in the case
of quantitative research. Since the solutions do not emanate from analyses of hard empirical data,
one has to try different solutions, until the right one works! However, there is no alternative to
qualitative research in some situations, as in the preceding case study. Gradual theory building can
progress through successive qualitative studies on a given topic. This would later foster scientific
hypothesis testing studies, which in turn will help to solve business problems. A timely qualitative
research analysis would have helped the second case study detailed below as well, but never got the
chance to be studied. CASE STUDY 2: CASE OF THE RISE AND FALL OF JOSUS APPAREL Background of
the Company Joan Garcetta and Susan Meades formed a Sub Chapter S company with a small group
of stockholders having limited liability and with less reporting requirements and responsibility than a
regular corporation. The new entity named Josus Apparel was opened with much fanfare. Both Joan
and Susan were experienced in the apparel business, having worked in the corporate environment of
a huge apparel retail company for a number of years. Both had developed extensive contacts in the
apparel business and had gained business acumen in such matters as hiring the right people, setting
employee goals, identifying critical markets, designing fashionable sportswear, deploying effective
advertising strategies, and the like. As per the requirements for a Sub Chapter S company, Joan
Garcetta and Susan Meades installed a Board of Directors with five members. The Board was 388
MANAGERIAL DECISION MAKING AND RESEARCH expected to meet at least once a month, and as
circumstances warranted. Board members were known to the two owners while working in other
organizations and were chosen primarily for their knowledge of the apparel business. The First Year
of the Company’s Business The first year of the company’s business grossed over a million dollars,
with a small profit for the company. By the end of the second year, the company had a turnover of
more than two million dollars. The partners were very elated and congratulated themselves for
having had the courage to take on the risk of starting a new venture, leaving the security of a steady
job behind. The Changing Scene As business grew, Susan felt she had several ideas for enhancing the
visibility of the company and considerably increasing its sales. When she expressed these thoughts
to Joan, she was somewhat upset that Joan did not seem to fully appreciate her creative ideas. This
resentment developed into full-fledged animosity as the months sped by and there was no change in
Joan’s attitude, who came across to Susan as more efficiency than effectiveness conscious. Susan
decided to implement her ideas on her own initiative. She recruited new staff including marketers,
designers, sellers, and other personnel to operationalize her dreams without consulting Joan. Not to
be outdone, Joan created her own fiefdom, and the net result was that the two women were not
talking to each other, and nobody was attending to the markdowns of slow-moving merchandise or
ensuring that merchandise was received in time before customer preferences changed. Trivial
matters that should have been taken care of by the two owners now engaged the attention of the
Board and had to be dealt with by them. Instead of mapping the strategic future of the company, the
Board met several times to resolve mundane matters. The Board members became frustrated and
were ready to quit. The End of Josus Apparel Before the end of the third year, the company had to
fold due to sustained severe losses. What promised to be a bright future during the first year turned
out to be the final year for the company even before the end of the third year. As Susan Meades sat
ruminating in her chair one cold rainy evening, she tried to assess what went wrong with the
business. She had left a big corporation just 3 years previously because she had little opportunity for
self-expression, individual creativity, and an outlet for her talents, not to mention that she was also
fed up with the lack of trust and organizational politics inherent in a large system. She had started
the apparel company with great expectations and enthusiasm, only to find that in less than 3 years
everything went downhill. “If only Joan had been a little more appreciative and encouraging, things
might have been different,” she angrily muttered to herself. For want of a simple qualitative analysis
an organization was lost! CASE STUDY 2: CASE OF THE RISE AND FALL OF JOSUS APPAREL 389
SUMMARY After having gone through the different steps in the research process and research
design of hypothetico-deductive studies, we came full circle in understanding and acknowledging the
role of both qualitative and quantitative studies in research. We saw that every hypothetico-
deductive study must have had its genesis in prior qualitative investigations. Hence we end this final
chapter with the note that both qualitative and quantitative studies are integral parts of scientific
investigations—each having its distinct role to play. In the ultimate analysis, the induction–deduction
process is what leads to problem solving— an issue we examined at the beginning. DISCUSSION
QUESTIONS AND POINTS TO PONDER