Modes of Enquiry

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Task 1

A. Methods of enquiry

The following discussions will cover the means on which information is retrieved, construed and consequently interpreted in the modern organisation. For this study, three types of enquiry are taken into consideration. Specifically, the modes of enquiry like analytic-deductive, systems thinking and inductive-consensual are to be discussed. The discussions are to be based on the existing organisational literature.

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The rational model of inquiry is used in the process of analytic-deductive model. In the simplest sense, this model rests on the assumption that every problem involving the human condition is addressed such that it fits in a formula. This assumption also implies that there is a specific formula that applies in every specific situation. (Linstone and Mitroff, 1995, 43) In a sense, this mode recognises that there is a single truth that could apply provided in every type of problem. Based on that definition alone, it appears that this mode evidently follows a particular pattern in the process of enquiry. Hence, one could surmise that this mode is rather mechanical and even unyielding. At some degree, the lack of flexibility or even the chance to change directions in the last minute is out of the question. This is the weakness of this mode. It presupposes that the every enquiry goes through a particular process and that it also presupposes that every process fits that particular situation.

Another area on which this mode shows some shortcomings is the fact that it does not consider all aspect of the information. It disregards those which do not fit the problem. Logical consistency of the data acquired with the needed information is one of the indispensible elements required in the process. (Linstone and Mitroff, 1995, 45) To put it in plain words, the process has the tendency to treat problems as puzzles to be resolved. This means that every problem is solved as there are only missing pieces required to fill in every situation. Every situation is ready to be dismantled and remade to rectify any of the perceived problems that organisations come across. In looking at the discussions above, it appears that this mode of enquiry uses a simple process which could be beneficial in some respect and adverse in others.

Systems thinking

The Systems thinking enables the decision-maker to be involved in all disciplines and context to come up with the most appropriate actions, solutions or conclusions. In addition, this mode of enquiry enables the management of the decision-maker to choose what he or she thinks would be the most effective and appropriate enquiry system to utilize for a certain issue. In addition, the decision-maker is not restricted to constraints to a certain idea; rather, he or she can provide infinite factors and issues about the given data. In line with the use of internet, the unbounded system thinking is useful since the internet itself offers different challenges and conception which must be given enough consideration to have a successful outcome.

One of the consequences of using this approach is that the decision-maker may use factors which may be irrelevant to the issue given. In this manner, problems in having more conflicting issues may provide difficulties for the decision maker to efficiently decide on the problem or issues. In addition, with too many options developed with this system, the decision-maker will not be able to critically analyze each which may affect the decision to be made.


The inductive-consensual system is defined by the process of deducing a general conclusion from the collection o data acquired or accessed by the organisation. (Linstone and Mitroff, 1995, 35) Like the first mode of enquiry discussed in this paper, the inductive-consensual model is one of the simplest types of enquiry models of enquiry. This is because there is an inherent assumption that the answers to issues are based on these acquired data. The Delphi model indicated in organisational literature is possibly one of the best examples of this mode of enquiry. In these types of models, the processes involve knowing the specific problem and consequently arrive at a perspective that will bestow to the organisation a single final solution.

IS strategic planning Using Systems thinking

Systems Thinking is therefore a way of positioning yourself relative to an organisational or systems issue. People who use systems thinking keep one eye on the big picture and one eye on the detail. They recognise how structures in one part of the system can impact on other parts, and they understand the longer term patterns of behaviour that lead to events and crises.

Systems Thinking uses tools such as causal loop diagrams and graphs over time to analyse and describe problems and ways of making improvements. It is supported by System Dynamics modelling that enables the development of a computer simulation model that is able to test alternative policies and future scenarios.

System Dynamics modelling provides an environment in which feedback and delays that underpin system behaviour are brought into play with a focus on a particular issue. It combines, hard quantitative data derived from analysis of the system under investigation with other more qualitative information. It aggregates this into a high level strategic model designed specifically to explore policy options and future scenarios that relate to the issue under investigation. Systems thinking and the use of system dynamic modeling is an essential tool for strategic planners and commissioners working in complex systems. It enables strong analytical competences within an organisation to be harnessed in a way that ”makes sense”Ÿ to policy makers. It engages these policy makers alongside other stakeholders in a partnership that defines, explores and makes decisions based on their insights. Such decisions are underpinned by good quantitative analysis, but rely equally on stakeholder engagement and an ”intelligent”Ÿ use of this analysis.

Strategic planning can easily get a bad reputation amongst those who have had a poorly handled experience with it, with such pitfalls as:

  • Getting bogged down in intellectual debates of conflicting terminology and models.
  • Seeing it as a linear process, requiring perfection at every step before proceeding.
  • Ending up with SPOTS (Strategic Plan On The Shelf) a wasteful, academic exercise.

“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”

Systems thinking offer an approach that avoids these pitfalls and makes strategic planning what it should be a crucial, iterative and adaptive process, helping us judge journeys that are prone to success, not failure.

A Systems Thinking model for Strategic Planning Even the most complex systems can be understood using a simple building-block model of Output, Feedback-Loop, Input, Throughputs and Environment. When applied to Strategic Planning in its skeletal form:

Task 2

Multinational corporations (MNCs) are businesses that have operations in more than one country. The energy business, BP, operates in more than 100 countries. Corporations that control assets in more than one country are also known as transnational corporations (TNCs). Some MNCs control more money than some governments. Exxon Mobil, the parent of Esso, Mobil and Exxon Mobil companies around the world, is the biggest MNC.

Macro level: the most important changes taking place in the macro environment can be summarized in the so-called PEST analysis:

PEST analysis stands for “Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis” and describes a framework of macro environmental factors used in environmental scanning.

P Political and legal factors

E Economic factors

S Socio-cultural factors

T Technological factors.

Can be used as a basis for the analysis of business and environmental

PEST analysis is a useful strategic tool for understanding market growth or decline, business position, potential and direction for operations.

Political Factors

Include government regulations and legal issues, define both formal and informal rules under which the firm must operate. Some examples include:

  • Tax policy
  • Employment laws
  • Environmental regulations
  • Trade restrictions and tariffs
  • Political stability

Economic factors

Economic factors affect the purchasing power of potential customers and the firm’s cost of capital. The following are examples of factors in the macro economy:

  • Economic growth
  • Interest rates
  • Exchange rates
  • Inflation rate

Social Factors

Include the demographic and cultural aspects of the external macro environment. These factors affect customer needs. Some social factors include:

  • Health consciousness
  • Population growth rate
  • Age distribution
  • Career attitudes
  • Emphasis on safety

Technological factors

Technological factors can lower barriers to entry, reduce minimum efficient production levels, and influence outsourcing decisions. Some technological factors include:

  • Research & Development activity
  • Automation
  • Technology incentives
  • Rate of technological change

During the past 20 years,a newand fundamentally different form of international commercial activity has developed, greatly increasing worldwide economic and political interdependence. Very few countries remain isolated in the world of business; rather than merely buying resources fromand selling goods to foreign nations, multinational companies (MNCs) now make direct investment in fully integrated operations that cover the spectrum of goods and services. Today, MNC networks control a large and growing share of the world’s technology, marketing and productive resources. Rates of economic growth fluctuate over time and across the globe. While growth is undoubtedly cyclical, the indications are that the developed economies are unlikely to see again the rate of growth experienced in the first decades after the Second World War.

The state of national and international economies affects businesses directly in a number of ways; for example, it affects interest rates and hence the cost of borrowing. In times of slow economic growth governments, or their central banks, tend to reduce interest rates to make borrowing cheaper and hence stimulate spending. When economic growth is rapid, concerns for growing inflation, or economic ‘overheating’, lead to increased interest rates to dampen demand.

Interest rates have a number of effects in addition to directly raising or lowering the cost of borrowing. In particular they have a psychological effect on the confidence of consumers and businesses, affecting purchasing decisions beyond purely rational, or economic, judgement. Company investment decisions are often delayed in times of relatively high interest rates and that can then have an obvious knock-on effect on suppliers further down the supply chain. Consumers too may delay purchases, especially where they are to be made using loans that are increasingly expensive. The housing market, for example, is particularly vulnerable to interest rate changes.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways in which the political and economic environment affects demand is through the fiscal, or taxation, policy of the regime that is in power. Where taxation rates are high they result in low disposable incomes, which can depress demand. Low taxation tends to be a spur to growth. But there are two main types of taxes and their effects may be different. Direct taxation taxes income and hence affects the overall disposable income available for purchases. Indirect taxation, on the other hand, taxes purchases and may, through its selective application, shift demand from one area to another. Employment and unemployment rates also follow economic and business cycles. In times of economic slowdown firms may find their order books less full and hence be forced to pursue efficiency gains through ‘downsizing’.

IS Strategy

Information System Strategy provides students with an understanding of the contemporary technological and organizational issues involved in the management of information technology resources at a strategic level. The role of information systems in providing competitive advantage and the frequent need for business re-engineering that accompanies adoption of new technology are discussed. Strategic IT planning and the evaluation process to ensure proper alignment of technology to business goals are also explained. Global IT issues are also considered.

The segment looks at how IT may be used to give firms a competitive advantage. Students learn how to link IT applications with business strategies within an organisation and to identify strategic business opportunities that IT can help create. Different models of competition, such as the extended rivalry model, generic strategies model and value chain model, are examined.

Information technology can be used to enable business process reengineering, a powerful management technique characterised by critical scrutiny of business processes followed by their redesign. The different types of business process reengineering projects are discussed. Students learn how to apply the process and evaluate the impact of information technology on business process reengineering in organisations.

Strategic planning within an organization must involve information technology planning, to align the overall business plan of the firm. Students explore ways in which IT enables a firm to fulfil its strategic objectives and some of the challenges faced by organisations while conducting IT planning. Commonlyused approaches – the critical success factors approach, contingency approach and business systems planning approach – are reviewed, along with best practices in IT planning.

The segment describes ways in which you can assess the costs and benefits of IT deployment, at the economy level and at the level of the firm. Economic evaluation techniques are explained, as are complementary evaluation methods to examine IT performance. Service level agreement monitoring and the user satisfaction measurement are among the methods covered.

Students are introduced to some of the challenges relating to the management and deployment of IT on a global scale. A global information systems strategy can help organisations improve business coordination of worldwide activities and exploit supply chain efficiencies. It is, however, important to ensure effective planning and communications, as development and implementation of global IT systems are typically centred in different locations.

Task 3

Potential ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ problems on IS strategic planning for MNC

Socially beneficial goods or services include public education programs, recycling programs, and public health programs. Socially beneficial products are culturally or socially defined and vary with a country’s conditions. For example, consumption of fatty or oil-rich foods may be considered as harmful in many developed countries where too much of oil and fat is consumed. However, in some African countries where the diet is poor in fats, consumption of these foods may be, in fact, quite desirable. Products targeted at a specific segment of a market, such as disposable diapers, disposable dishes or other time-saving goods. Although these products are highly beneficial for working mothers, they have a negative impact on the environment.

Products that could be harmful if abused, such as alcoholic beverages or firearms. Buyers often do not have a good knowledge of the potential dangers of these goods. Sellers, on the other hand, are aware, or should be aware of the risks and consequences of the misuse of these products. For example, marketing powdered milk in countries where water is not safe to drink, can endanger the lives of consumers. Inherently harmful products, such as cigarettes or opium.

Socially beneficial goods or services include public education programs, recycling programs, and public health programs. Socially beneficial products are culturally or socially defined and vary with a country’s conditions. For example, consumption of fatty or oil-rich foods may be considered as harmful in many developed countries where too much of oil and fat is consumed. However, in some African countries where the diet is poor in fats, consumption of these foods may be, in fact, quite desirable. Products targeted at a specific segment of a market, such as disposable diapers, disposable dishes or other time-saving goods. Although these products are highly beneficial for working mothers, they have a negative impact on the environment.

Products that could be harmful if abused, such as alcoholic beverages or firearms. Buyers often do not have a good knowledge of the potential dangers of these goods. Sellers, on the other hand, are aware, or should be aware of the risks and consequences of the misuse of these products. For example, marketing powdered milk in countries where water is not safe to drink, can endanger the lives of consumers. Inherently harmful products, such as cigarettes or opium.

Ethics issues

Ethical behavior in organizations

  • Ethics deals with morality rules regarding behavior conduct. and
  • In organizational set up, ethics can be defined as the rules or standards governing the conduct of individuals and organizations.

Ethical philosophy

  • There are three different ethical philosophies that individuals follow under different situations in an organizational set-up. • These are- utilitarianism, individual rights, and justice.
  • Organizations attempt to ensure that their employees behave ethically by using control systems

  • The individual rights philosophy deals with safeguarding the rights of individuals, such as the right to be informed, right to free speech, right to free consent, the right to privacy, and the right to due process.
  • Utilitarianism recommends that a course of action that achieves the greatest good for the greatest number of people is ethical
  • Justice requires that the rules of the organization be enforced fairly and impartially. Individuals should be accountable only for factors which are under their control.
  • Utilitarianism is the most commonly followed ethical philosophy

Ethical decision ideology

  • Ethical decision ideologies can be classified based on two dimensions: one is
  • Idealism – the belief that behaving ethically ensures positive results; and the other is
  • Relativism – the belief that moral values depend on circumstances.
  • Based on these two dimensions, there are four classifications of ethical decision ideologies
  • Absolutist,
  • Exceptionist
  • Situationist, and
  • Subjectivist.

Ethical decision ideologies Matrix

  • An Absolutist believes in strictly following the universally accepted ethical principles.
  • An Exceptionist refers to universally accepted ethical principles for broad guidance rather than for strict adherence.
  • A Situationist takes a decision on a case to case basis by studying and comprehending the situation at hand.
  • A Subjectivist prepare to abide by their respective individual ethical principles rather than adhering to universally accepted ethical principles

Influencing factors of Ethics

  • Individual factors
  • Organizational factors:
  • Culture and structure
  • Performance measurement systems
  • Reward systems
  • Position related factors

Individual factors

  • Individuals with higher ego strengths will not depend on others for decisions making, whereas people with low ego strength will look to others for help in arriving at decisions

Organizational culture

  • The culture of an organization includes its values, belief systems, and norms. It is influenced by the behavior of the mangers or the top management of the organizations

Performance measurement systems

  • The top management of sears auto centers developed incentive systems to improve revenue performance, and set targets for their employees that were practically unachievable. The employees therefore resorted to unethical actions by indulging in unnecessary and incomplete repairs of vehicles and overcharging for services.
  • Finally, consumers initiated legal proceedings against the organization

Reward systems

  • Reward system in many organizations tend to encourage unethical behavior like kickbacks. Also, some organizations tend to discourage and penalize whistleblowers; such punishment systems tend to further encourage unethical behavior.
  • Reward systems should be integrated with the performance measurements systems.

Position related factors

  • These are peer pressure, the expectations of the top management regarding achievement of objectives, the presence or absence of a code of conduct, superior-subordinate relationships, extent of resource availability, etc.,
  • For example, employees of departments like marketing and purchase tend to face more ethical dilemmas

Organizational factors

  • If a specific ethical behavior is rewarded, employees will tend to continue behaving in that way. On the other hand, if any employee gets punished for a specific behavior, he and the others in the organization will not resort to that kind of behavior

Influencing factors of Ethics

  • External environmental factors
  • political economical factors
  • social factors

Political and economical factors

  • It include factors like government polices, tax structures, and the tariffs and duties levied on imports.
  • Many organizations resort to bribing government officials to get contracts or licenses for businesses or to get into such transactions to stay in competitions.
  • The case of Siemens AG officials routing organizational funds to an Italian energy company as bribes is an example of unethical behavior

Social factors

  • Giving the right information to customers regarding products and services is one of the major ethical considerations that organizations must keep in mind.
  • Being ethical serves as a competitive advantage for organizations, as it helps them build up a good reputation and image for themselves.
  • Johnson and Johnson- faced a serious crisis, when a few capsules of its popular medicine, Tylenol were found to be laced with cyanide.

Integrated framework for ethical behavior

  • When the ethical/unethical behavior of an individual is rewarded or punished, these decisions become a part of the employee’ s decision history and this further influences the decisions and behavior of the employees.

MCA and Ethical issues

  • Budgetary slack
  • Managing earnings
  • Ethical issues in sales
  • Ethical issues in operations
  • Ethical issues in Human Resources

Budgetary slack

  • Budgetary slack is a deliberate understatement of revenues and /or overstatement of expenses in the budget.
  • Budgetary slack is caused by managerial intention rather than by an unforeseen error in the estimation process. The slack created by mangers may also be used for the organization’s benefit during bad times

Managing earnings

  • Corrupt managers tend to mange earnings for personal benefits. They try to show higher earnings in order to show that budgeted targets have been achieved.
  • In united states, the Sarbanes Oxley act was enacted to act as an external control system to restrict such practices.

Ethical issues in sales

  • The samples and gift adjustments in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is the practice to give samples of new products to doctors as a part of the sales promotion.
  • These samples are given to the doctors so that they can try out the drug and also to help them in brand recall.

Ethical issues in operations

  • Consuming more resources, providing for greater lead times, or accepting relatively poor quality. Focuses only on gaining maximum profit at minimum costs without taking social responsibilities into consideration.
  • Neglecting the safety of employees. Having unhealthy and dangerous working conditions and passing off confidential information

Ethical issues in Human Resources

  • Lack of Job security
  • Increased risk of unemployment
  • Excessive scrutiny and control
  • Discrimination
  • Absence of proper appraisal methods
  • Sexual harassment
  • Recruiting on contract basis
  • Force them to work longer hours

Regulating Ethical conduct

Control activity Mechanism to regulate ethical conduct

Indicating and communicating objectives Code of ethics Ethics committee Ethics training for employees Corporate governance focused on ethics

Feedback through performance measurement systems Ethics committee System of whistle blowing

Reward systems integrated with objectives accomplishment Reward systems focused on ethics

Codes of Professional Conduct

The utility principle and the golden rule are intended to be applicable to all ethical reasoning, in all contexts.

For practical reasons professionals have found it convenient to supplement these with ethical rules, which address the specific needs of a specific profession.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

“Commitment to” the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct “is expected of every member of the Association for Computing Machinery”.

British Computer Societ (BCS)

The BCS Code of Conduct “sets out the professional standards required by the Society as a condition of membership”.

“In your professional role you “I must not misrepresent my skills shall have regard for the public or knowledge.” ~ ASM Code of Ethics. Health, safety and environment.”

(BCS Code of Conduct.)

“Avoid harm to others.”

(ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.)

“You shall not claim any level of competence that you do not possess. You shall only offer to do work or provide a service that is within your professional competence.”

(BCS Code of Conduct.)

Heuristic Methods

Ethical behavior and unethical behavior of the Professional Conduct an recognize a solution to an ethical problem when he see it.

It does notoffer much management on how to finding a solution when he is confronted with a new ethical problem.

Heuristic methods have been proposed as a way of bridging this gap.

  1. Form an ethics committee of at least five persons.
  2. Frame a specific question that creates the desired ethical dilemma.
  3. Construct a scenario of about 150 words that will evoke the dilemma.
  4. Construct at least three persuasive arguments on each side of the question.
  5. Raise objections to these arguments.
  6. Make replies to these objections.
  7. Make counter-replies to these replies.
  8. Take a stand on the issue and reach a verdict.

Paramedic Method

  1. Collect data systematically about the parties
  2. Analysis the data systematically for the alternatives.
  3. Try to negotiate a social contract agreement in an imaginary meeting where all the parties are represented.
  4. Judge each of the alternatives according to ethical theories.

Data Accessibility

Individual Efforts to Protect Privacy

  • Find out what is stored about you in existing databases
  • Be careful when you share information about yourself
  • Be proactive to protect your privacy
  • When purchasing anything from a Web site, make sure that you safeguard your credit card numbers, passwords, and personal information

Corporate Privacy Policies

  • Should address a customer’s knowledge, control, notice, and consent over storage and use of information ~ fairness of information use
  • May cover who has access to private data and when it may be used
  • A good database design practice is to assign a single unique identifier to each customer Fairness in Information Use

You have access to the sales and customer information in a flower shop. You discover that the boyfriend of a woman you know is sending roses to three different other woman on a regular basis. The woman you know is on the flower list, but she believes that she’s the only woman in his romantic life. You really think you should tell the woman. Your dilemma is that you have a professional responsibility to keep the company’s information

Health Concerns

  • Occupational stress
  • Repetitive stress injury (RSI)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Emissions from improperly maintained and used equipment
  • Increase in traffic accidents due to drivers using cell phones, laptops, or other devices while driving

Avoiding Health and Environment Problems

  • Work stressors: hazardous activities associated with unfavorable conditions of a poorly designed work environment
  • Ergonomics: science of designing machines, products, and systems to maximize safety, comfort, and efficiency of people who use them
  • Employers, individuals, and hardware manufacturing companies can take steps to reduce RSI and develop a better work environment

Avoiding Health and Environment Problems (continued)

Research has shown that developing certain ergonomically correct habits can reduce the risk of RSI when using a computer

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Modes of enquiry. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved August 17, 2022 , from

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