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Positivistic approach

Hence, this research will take an interpretivism philosophy, because the study is related with career barriers to Hong Kong women managers in terms of sexual harassment, work and family stress, stereotyping of genders and negative attitudes of employees towards female managers and which is based on different meanings and interpretations that individuals could have on their own experiences. In addition, Collis and Hussey (2003, p. 67) said “it is an approach which assumes that the social world is constantly changing, and the researcher and the research itself are part of this change”.

Not only the social world is changing, but also the global business environment is and using an interpretivism approach provides flexibility to confront those changes. Whereas the positivistic approach is emphasized by seeking law-like results that can be emphasized and there is an objective truth that exist in the world and can be revealed through the scientific method, where the focus is on measuring relationships, systematically and statistically, between variables (Yin, 1994).

In order to answer the research questions, the investigation’s aim is to explore how women managers in Hong Kong face the challenge of career barriers in the business environment and whether there is a bamboo ceiling these women managers face in Hong Kong hence it would lead to employ a qualitative approach to deal with the data collected. In this case, the development of this research suggests collecting valuable data from interviews of women managers in Hong Kong to be analyzed and interpreted to reach the objectives of this investigation.

According to Saunders et al (2003), a research is conducted to analyze existing theories, or to establish new theories as a result of recent findings. This will depend on whether the approach is deductive or inductive. A deductive approach is where the researcher develops a theory which will be tested, whereas an inductive approach is where the theory will be developed from the analysis of the data that is going to be collected. The nature of this research is not to find a specific theory but an explanation of an existing situation, for example, in today’s global business environment.

Therefore, this research will place the inductive approach which is closely related with the interpretivism philosophy due to its characteristic of not assuming results that are inferred from general conjectures, but developing an explanation from the data collected where general conjectures are induced from specific cases (Creswell, 1994; Jankowikz, 2000; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al. , 2003). The obtained data can be either quantitative or qualitative.

Whereas a quantitative research is a logical and critical approach that relies on the use of statistics and numbers, a qualitative research emphasizes on understanding by exploring and giving interpretation to specific situations (Blaxter et al. , 2001; Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002; Berg, 2004). Dabbs (1982 cited Berg, 2004) point out that the concept of quality is essential to the nature of things and quantity is basically an amount of something. These two approaches are mutually inclusive (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002), that is, “qualitative data may be quantified, and quantitative data qualified” (Blaxter et al. , 2001, p. 199)

According to Ghauri and Gronhaug (2002) qualitative methods are more useful and appropriate when the research is inductive, which is the case, since it can lead to explanations by going in-depth into a phenomenon. Therefore, this investigation will undertake a qualitative data approach due to the importance of comparing and contrasting individual’s opinions and experiences, in order to identify what women managers in Hong Kong think about whether a bamboo ceiling affects their career development.

As the data will be collected by the use of interviews, the findings are going to be based on meanings and interpretations of experiences given by participants (Saunders et al. , 2000). Although qualitative data is known as time consuming and sometimes can be expensive, for businesses purpose give more realistic results at the moment of the analysis and interpretations of the data (Collis and Hussey, 2003).

Owing to what have been said, the qualitative approach is the best to fit to the aim and objectives of this research, not only to investigate careers barriers for women managers in Hong Kong, but also it will help to provide information about how these women managers confront such career barriers form the obtained findings. According to Jankowicz (1999) the aim of the research strategy is to establish a plan on how the study is going to be undertaken by the researcher.

It helps to find answers to the stated question, supporting it with the different types of collecting data, objectives and research questions (Saunders et al. , 2000). In this section the information from the research question will be clarified, and the limitation for the data collection will be set, as well as the main reason for the choice of the particular participants. For phenomenological methodologies the most common strategies between the authors are: case studies, surveys, experiment and exploratory (Saunders et al. , 2000; Blaxter et al. , 2001; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Jankowicz, 2005).

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