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MB 313

Organizational Research

Fall 2010

William B. Stevenson

Fulton 430B

Office Hours: Tu 1:20-2:00, Th 11-12 or by appointment

Web: www:http://www2.bc.edu/~stevenw

This course introduces you to the tools that you need to conduct and evaluate organizational research. These skills will help you qualify for positions in human resources research, consulting or other jobs requiring research skills. Students who take this course will be able to answer questions that consultants, human resource professionals, and others face such as:

- how to evaluate the success or failure of organizational attempts to change

-how to discover the sources of turnover in a department of an organization

-how to contribute to the design of organizational reorganizations

Although the course is geared to the practice of organizational research, you will learn a more general set of skills. You will learn, for example, to formulate a question about how the world works and find the answer to that question. This is a skill with many applications, particularly in the fields of human resource management and consulting.

Course Requirements:

There will be class presentations, SPSS homework assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. You will also be graded on class participation.

Written and Oral Case Analyses:

Students will be divided into teams and will present two 20-minute analyses of research projects to the class. There will be oral presentations of both qualitative and quantitative research projects. Students will evaluate each other's efforts in preparing for the presentation using this form.


Qualitative Research Presentation 15%
Midterm 20%
SPSS homework assignments 20%
Class Participation 10%
Quantitative Research Presentation 15%
Final Exam 20%

Required Reading:

Required reading available in the BC Bookstore:

Schutt, Russell K., Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research. 6th ed. CA: Pine Forge Press. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-4129-6940-6 (paper)

Block, P. Flawless Consulting, 2nd. ed., NY: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2000. ISBN: 0-7879-4803-9

There are also a few journal articles that we will read. They are noted on the syllabus, available in the library, and available online from our online ejournal databases.



We will be reading a few articles during the class. These articles are applications of methods that we will be discussing in class. You should read the article before the day when we discuss it. There may be quizzes on the articles on the day that they are due.

The articles are in the library, and you should be able to read them online using our Boston College online ejournal databases. Go to the online ejournal databases and type in Academy of Management Journal, for instance. Click on EBSCOHOST Business Source Complete in the next window. For the Sutton and Rafaeli article you would then click on 1988, and then Volume 31, issue 3. Then click on the PDF file to read or download the article. The articles:

Sutton, Robert I. and Rafaeli, Anat, "Untangling the relationship between displayed emotions and organizational sales: The case of convenience stores", Academy of Management Journal, 31(3):461-487, 1988.

Elsbach, Kimberly D. and Kramer, Roderick, M. "Assessing creativity in Hollywood pitch meetings: Evidence for a dual-process model of creativity judgments.", Academy of Management Journal, 46(3): 283-301, 2003.

MB 313 Schedule


Date Topic Class Activity Readings Due:
9/7 Tu Introduction    
9/9 Th What is Research? Consulting?
Formulating a Research
  Schutt, Ch. 1,
Block, Ch. 1,2
9/14 Tu Measuring/

Article: Untangling the relationship
Schutt, Ch. 4,5

9/16 Th class cancelled for Mass    
9/21 Tu Research Design: Experiments and Quasi-Experiments   Schutt, Ch. 6,7

Qualitative Methods

Date Topic Class Activity Readings Due:
9/23 Th Participant Observation Interviewing
Interview Ethics

Schutt, Ch.9,

9/28 Tu Freelisting/PileSorting/
  Article: Assessing creativity
9/30 Th Decision Tree Analysis    
10/5 Tu Using SPSS:Distributions
of Data

SPSS Homework 1

Qual proposals due for Grps 1,2,3,4,5

Schutt, Ch. 14, p. 486-513
10/7 Th Meet with Groups    

Quantitative Methods

Date Topic Class Activity Readings Due:
10/12 Tu MIDTERM    
10/14 Th Survey Research/Designing
a Questionnaire
  Schutt, Ch. 8
10/19 Tu Creating a Scale/Correlation SPSS homework 2
10/21 Th Guest Speaker    
10/26 Tu Qual Project Presentations for Grps 1,3
Introduction to Statistics,
Hypothesis Testing
Group Presentations  
10/28 Th Qual Project Presentations for Grps 2,4,5
Group Presentations  

Data Analysis

Date Topic Class Activity Readings Due:
11/2 Tu Cross Tabulation SPSS homework 3 Schutt: Ch. 14, p. 514-519
11/4 Th Quant Project Proposals due for groups 1,2,3 - meet with professor    
11/9 Tu Quant Project Proposals due for groups 4,5– meet with professor    
11/11 Th Regression Analysis SPSS homework 4 Schutt: ch. 14, p. 531-533
11/16 Tu Meet with groups - Final
11/18 Th No class    

Consulting as Applied Research

11/23 Tu No class    
11/25 Th Thanksgiving    
11/30 Tu The Consulting Project   Block: ch. 2-3, 7
12/2 Th Phases of Consulting   Block: ch. 5, 8-11,


Date Topic Class Activity Readings Due:
12/7 Tu Quant Presentations, Grps 3,4,5 Group Presentations  
12/9 Th Quant Presentations, Grps 1,2 Group Presentations  
12/14 Tu Final Exam    

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