Paradigmatic Approach to Research in Management


The modern research has evolved over time with many teaching, research and healthcare institutions adopting different models of research, mostly basing their research designs on the context of paradigm. The paradigmatic approach to research has gained popularity mainly in the health and social sciences (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight 1148), thus the increased interest on its analysis and evaluation of its merits and demerits especially in the study design decision making process.

The actual reason behind the increased approach to paradigmatic framework to research design could be due to increased usefulness of both quantitative and qualitative data that looks at all the facets of social and health studies, that is, positivist paradigm, interpretative paradigm, and critical paradigm (Creswell 332). Even though there have been remarkable improvements in the healthcare provision, many aspects of service delivery are yet to develop.

This could be because little focus has been put in the investments related to delivery of healthcare services and the fact that medical, research and teaching institutions also take long to adopt new innovations (Borjesson, Paperin & Lindell 139) In this paper, I discuss the existing principles of positivist, interpretative, and critical paradigms in the management of healthcare and university teaching.

Main Body

The methodology is based on the analysis of the available literature on positivist paradigm, interpretative paradigm and critical paradigm, with up to date derived benefits and limitations derived from their application in the healthcare teaching and management

Positivist paradigm is an approach study that looks at the realist otology, with assumptions that the beyond what the human knows, there are more real objects of the world and that people are in a position to know this reality (Grant & Giddings 334). Positive realists believe that people are in a position to use specific symbols to represent and describe these realistic objects in an accurate manner, thus discovering the essence of the natural occurrences or laws in a neutral manner (Creswell 222). Creswell also says that it looks at the present believes in a derivative approach where the theory is based on some explanations about the laws and axioms, with the possibility of support with some quantitative observations (223)

Positivists’ approach of management is directed towards what is popularly known as the “positive deviance approach” with hypothesis that what can work is already available in the institutions that have shown excellent performance (Grant & Giddings 78).

That is to say identifying those particular organizations that have shown excellent performance in their areas of specializations like excellent medication application and appropriate care in time; application of in-depth or detailed study of these organizations’ reasons for top performance achievements by the use of qualitative approach to data and hypothesis generations; and statistical hypothesis testing that entails analysis of large and representative data from the sample organizations, partnering with major stakeholders like those who are likely to adopt it, to provide the reliable evidence about the new integrated best practices in the management of healthcare provision (Miles & Huberman 309).

This approach can be practiced best in the scenarios where there is a clear performance based channel or formula for ranking, where there exists a considerable natural variations in the level of performance in the entire industry, when there exist sincerity and openness on the practices that lead to the exceptional performances, and finally when a particular concerned group can be engaged in the promotion of the newly found good practices (Patton 14). The process and outcome of healthcare institutions analysis that indicate healthcare institutions’ good performance can give opportunity to implement the strategic qualities for the improvement of healthcare provision qualities.

Interpretivist Paradigm relies heavily on the philosophical views of the world, by sensitizing the particular concepts that may help researchers and students move towards a particular view of facts (Robson 448). In the management of healthcare institutions, the proponents of this approach looks at it in a complex world of “lived experience from the point of view of those who live it” with the ultimate goal of spoken concern of the present world to understand the meaning of events and situations (Patton 14).

Patton states that “the belief is that the world of lived reality and situation-specific meanings that constitute the general object of investigation is thought to be constructed by social actors” (419). In other words, interpretivists oppose the observations of theory as a neutral facet approach and universal law idea as it happens in science and instead forward the idea that people and their institutions are separate from their institutions (Robson 449).

In this approach, there is more of relativity in the knowledge construction consensus among the competent material sources and individuals that leads to a theoretical view of understanding and that which does not have strong power of prediction with little generalization (Ironside 54). However, critics argue that the interpretivists’ approach is inferior because it relies on ontological variations, individuals, and multiple inclinations but lack realities abound by socio-cultural realities (Guba & Lincoln 109)

Critical paradigms on the other hand is assumes that there is a definite reality in all the aspects of research and education that are defined by socio-cultural, economic and political developments Grant & Giddings looks at critical paradigm as the ultimate line of thinking because we cannot separate human from what they know and this is what instigate inquiry, and that what we know it is connected to the particular interaction between the researcher and the object of investigation (22).

Critical theorists believe in the dialogue and methodologies that combine both observations and interviewing thus allowing the researcher and other participants to question the state of nature and offer platform for challenging the conservation of order (24)

In the university teaching and healthcare managements, mixed paradigmatic approach has gained popularity due to the need for diverse and in-depth criteria for healthcare managements’ processes, with a framework to assist in the study design (Creswell 224). However, Patton (29-31) states that if this mixed approach is not explicitly defined during the research, a researcher may get lost thus struggle to answer research questions in an awkward manner.

He states that health and social science students have found themselves confused in an attempt to combine the approaches, especially if they were doing that for the first time (32). It is therefore recommended to analyze in a critical manner if the particular approach is necessary or the mixed approach.

Research Proposal to examine the Email Practices in Oxford University

Technology has evolved overtime with numerous new innovations that have emanated from the use of computer technology for communication. These days it is easy to contact someone living a miles a way within a flash of a second, with large organizations adopting internet use as a way of communicating with their clients, partners, and their stakeholders. Other than large organizations, email communication is virtually used by everybody at individual level as well as group level, due to its quickness and reliability in relaying the message to the target recipients. However, email communication has stayed for quite a long period before it was adopted by many large organizations.

This is because it was perceived to be an unofficial communication channel and mostly due to the fact that there was no official evidence of the receipt of mails. Secondly, it mainly caused more problems when the underlying tone of the email was misinterpreted by the emotions of the composer, mostly giving a wrong impression far much different from the actual content. As Tashakkori & Teddlie (88) puts it, the moment the composer of the message starts to use phrases in the texts to express emotions that would be relayed the other side of the recipient who have completely different body language, the intentions of the message could be grossly misinterpreted due to differences in the then present emotional tones.

There is also the aspect of incorrect use of email services especially in the organizations by the employees, who end up flirting with risks associated with the virus and spam and poor email etiquette. Many organizations have therefore taken a step further to restrict the use of email services by their employees.


Despite the email popularity, there is lack of enough knowledge on the actual email practices, since most organizations act on imagined theories on what their employees might be doing with email services at their disposal. There is no doubt that everyone has received at least an email that either is derogatory, flattery, or soliciting for your involvement in a particular deal with a stranger. However what matters is what you do or the action you takes after the receipt of such an email, that can either make or break the organization’s or the individual’s privacy.

In most cases, as it has happened to me, forwarding messages has never been a big issue, with just a click of a button to copy the message to all the contacts without looking at the need of each individual in specific individual. This could create a cultural conflict since different people have different believes, depending on their upbringing and environment (Bero et al., 37).

The objective of the research

The objective of this study is to establish specific email practices at Oxford University by staff. The staff at oxford University just like ant other large organization are entitled to email addresses that defines them with their places of work, always carrying the domain name of the organization.

It therefore follows that when they use such email addresses at personal level, it may involve some of the above mentioned poor email etiquettes that would eventually give the company a poor image, in this case Oxford University as a center of academic excellence. This study would also dwell on the ethical norms research and emailing culture. First, the main of the research is to promote ethics and foster knowledge, establish truth and error avoidance, thus the need to get the guiding principle that would bring the assurance of the research findings’ fairness, accountability and mutual respect in general.

Scope of the study

The study scope would be based on the both quantitative and qualitative data collected from all the Oxford University staff (subordinate and senior staff). The questions will be directed towards answering the traditional email practices and different individuals respond (reply and forward) or send emails and if they use the email addresses containing the institutions domain rather than alternative email addresses in their general email applications.

The study will generally apply biasness in favor of younger generation staff since this social group tends to use email and other internet services more frequently. However, the older generation staff would also be considered, albeit in small number, to ensure some information that would be important in the general analysis is not left out of the study.


Many of the ideas developed from social research findings are the genesis of actual impact of the technological impact in the human generation over time. Knowledge in research findings are used in a relative consensus approach to both social and scientific enquiry. It is possible that multiple informational concepts can exist in the domain of the public but until it is synthesized, clearly disintegrated, and separated from the existing bulk of knowledge, it will be of no use (Guba & Lincoln 113). My general interest in this research is mainly derived from my personal experiences with emails I receive from friends and unknown sources and my action after the reading. How often did I forward them? How did I respond to other forwards I received considering the source and intended purpose?

The information acquisition system consists of technological application that would require the use of email services to acquire information from the staff at Oxford. First, the selected potential respondents would be talked to in order to get their consent to receive some emails in through their email addresses with the institution’s domain. This is in line with the ethics of research that requires the consent of the respondent, especially in doing a remote survey that would need divulging the respondents’ information.

In general terms, ethics issues in research are sometimes tempting to be regarded as common sense, but as Rensik (1) poses a question, “if it in deed common sense, them why is there so much ethical dispute in the society?” one reason would be people have different values and believes that make them have different explanations and interpretation of the information contents.

The email approach is meant to reinforce the traditional data collection techniques like physical interviews and questionnaires. This is to ensure that a practical response is got to authenticate the questionnaire results on email culture in the large organizations, represented by Oxford University in this study. It is clear that large organizations have embraced technological advancements that it would be important to adopt the emailing approach to prove the reactions in a practical rather than theoretical sense.

The contents of the email would be classified as “funny”, “flattery”, “derogatory”. As per my personal experience, such kinds of emails tend to be popular with the “forwarding option” ringing in my mind whenever I received them, without even sorting out my recipient address list. It is also note that as researcher, I am part and parcel of research instruments, since I am drawing my personal experience to replicate on the possible respondents, a somewhat preconceived idea in research.

This may result in some biasness since personal experiences are determined by individual mood, but it is the only alternative left since there is little secondary information available for this study. I will therefore attempt to follow the available guidelines, especially the ethical guidelines in the social research, looking at the latest legislative documents protecting the respondents and personal conscience.

A paper instruments (questionnaires) will be developed to collect the necessary data. This questionnaire will be designed in an eight half-size sheets since this would be less bulky to handle and still offer enough space for recording all the necessary information. The first page would contain an appreciation note to the respondent’s, informing them about the actual purpose for their participation, and assurance of their secrecy. The entire expected respondents will be sorted in terms of their demographic background like gender, age bracket (Classified as youth,18-35, middle age,36-55, and old 56 and above), marital status, and position (title) in the university staff.

The first questions would be basically relayed in relations to how frequent the respondent uses their official email address for personal matters? Do you have an alternative email addresses, and is it active? What kinds of emails do they like forwarding? This would give a benchmark for more detailed interview that would be dependent on the response given by the target interviewees. A broad aspect of the study would be looked mostly towards to the young and middle age since it is these gender groups that tend to use email more frequently at personal level, in line with need for social gratification got through fun.

This in line with theory forwarded by O’Hear (216) who postulate that the relatively young generation are unique in their way of thinking and tend to get more satisfaction in remote communication than ever before, a social behavior that generally affect their productivity due to ignorance in consumption and goes even further to help in the production of this fun culture, an idea credited to sociologists like Adorno and Marx.

Expected result

The general expectation in the email use in Oxford is likely to give a benchmark for other studies. This is because the contents of the emails people receive will determine the type of response one is likely to give; i.e. either resending it or forwarding it and to which specific people (nature of relationship) are they likely to send or forward the specific emails to. There is likely to be findings connecting the use of official email addresses in the social setting and the managements of mails, that is, how they manage their inboxes and junk mails.

The gender aspect is also likely to be known in the manner in which a specific gender group (age and sex) use their emailing habits for social satisfaction e.g. by getting fun satisfaction in the humorous mails. This is because the general perception is that younger generation is more flexible and is likely to be less offended by “derogatorily funny” emails hence forward it more frequently, while the older generation, due to their conservative perceptions is likely to delete or ignore such emails wholesomely.

Reasons presented by this action is that they the older generations have an image to protect due to the fact that they are fathers and role models. Since the questions would be directed to also enquire how the emailing habit, especially using the institutions’ official domain email addresses, would affect the image of the institutions by analyzing the individual feelings or perceptions in the respective emails they receive, it is expected that the perceptions on such email addresses are likely to be varied, with negative perceptions and concerns directed towards official email addresses than the alternative ones.

In my personal experience, I tend to specifically use one email address for ease of reference, more so the official address that serves both social and official purpose. I expect this habit to be more prominent among the people who have official email addresses and alternative addresses to use.

Recommendations and Conclusions

It’s clear that specific information about method of data acquisition is important in a well organized research study. However, there is limited secondary information as concerns emailing culture in the large organizations. The available data is mostly dwelling on the general internet use and its general socio-economic impact in the society. It is therefore prudent to acknowledge that this study will not specifically solve all the necessary problems related to email habits in the organizations, but it would only give breakthrough in the related research that is expected to come in the future. I therefore recommend that further research is needed, especially in the emails as a way of electronic information transfer.

This is because of the competition in the business world that have seen many organizations increasing image building efforts, hence the need to avoid any habit that would destroy the already built reputation by a simple click of a button by an individual.

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