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Exploring the Use of Positivism and Interpretivism in Business Research

Autor:   •  November 11, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,234 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,881 Views

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Exploring the use of positivism and interpretivism in business research


According to Zikmund W.G (2003), business research is a systematic and objective process of collecting, recording and analysing data as a form of solution in making business decisions by using research philosophies. There are varieties of research philosophies, which could be used when undertaking business research. During the exploration, two main philosophies were studied positivism and interpretivism. First, this essay will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the two philosophies, the comparison of both philosophies by using the three assumptions and the result of exploring positivism and interpretivism in business research.


As the East Bridge Business Institute (2010), points out positivism researchers see their mission as gathering facts and then study the relationship from one to another. They use statistically valid techniques to analyse quantitative data, which assist them to provide quantifiable and stable conclusions. In other words, positivism underlines the importance of an objective scientific method and stress the significance of exploring social and organizational realities in a scientific way that reflects the research processes used in natural science.

Case example:

There is a positivist example pointed out from Darke et al (2002, p276) about a larger study of 26 multi-business unit organizations that was being reported by Broadbent et al (1996). This research examined the relationship between theoretical constructs IT infrastructure capability and strategic context. In the report, IT infrastructure capability was being defined and measured according to their number, reach, range of service provided and strategic context which covers the industry bases, including the market volatility levels, the extent of business unit synergies and the nature of business strategy formation processes. The constructs above tested and empirically estimated in 26 organizations using comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data sources with many business and IT participants involved. The regularities between the constructs' has been clearly identified by analysing and comparing the organization patterns of IT infrastructure capability and the nature of their strategic contexts as if it was characterized in the study. The result of this study stated clearly that ‘there is a positive relationship between IT infrastructure capability and the particular strategic contexts'. (Darke P et al, 2002, p276)

Advantage and disadvantage:

The East Bridge Institute claims that positivism philosophy can help researchers collect large amount of data's economically with clear theoretical focus, it not only create greater


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