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Business Decision Making (BDM Assignment)

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In business, making good decisions requires the effective use of information. Business Decision Making provides the opportunity of learning a variety of sources and develops techniques in four aspects of information: data gathering, data storage, tools available to create useful information and presenting. (Lawley,  2009)

Moreover, using appropriate IT software and spreadsheets for data analysis and the preparation of information provides the advantages of using information systems which is currently used at all levels in every organization.

Importance of business decision making

Decision-making is a vital part of the business world. Even a low-level supervisor makes several decisions in a work day, and with some companies, decision-making is encouraged among workers on the line. 

History of the organization

The company I have chosen for my report is Marks & Spencer. Marks and Spencer, originally known as Penny Bazaars, was founded by Michael Marks in 1884 as a clothing sales company in Northern England. Thomas Spencer joined Michael Marks ten years after its startup, becoming co-owner of the company. The company has continued to work under the name of Marks & Spencer (M&S) since 1894.It became a phenomenon, first in its country of origin, the UK, and later internationally. American chain stores influenced M&S to start selling both food and clothes in the 1920s. The company saw itself grow from 1894 to 1939, by opening a staggering 234 stores. M&S worked in close cooperation with its suppliers and made strategies for the use of new technologies which in turn led to the highest quality in its products. The company had future foresight thus adding internationalization and product diversification to its strategy in the late 80s. Over the years it took over its competitors, as a major retailer selling diverse product ranges under their own exclusive brand in more than 30 countries. Marks and Spencer can be proud of leading the race over all its major competitors in the key areas of quantity, quality, and trust, breadth of range and customer service. (Rogers, 2008)

Task 1

1.1 Create a plan for the collection of primary and secondary data for a given business problem


The primary method of data collection is the most original and authentic method of data collection. Primary data is actually unvarnished data that have never been manipulated before. Therefore, primary data are preferred in any research. Primary data increases the reliability and authenticity of research and in most of the scientific researches primary data are used. (Cagan, M, 2008)

Primary methods of data collection

There are different types of primary data and they are used according to the type of study. Some of the most prominently used methods of primary data collection include observation, interview, questionnaire and experiments. There are many other methods but they are less recognized compared to the above mentioned methods.

Observation is the most commonly used method of data collection in the humanities and social sciences.  Observation can be conducted without the knowledge and awareness of the participant’s even, if the participants are aware or not aware of the observation the observer should understand the ethics of the privacy of the participants. (Abrahamson,  1996)

Interviews are another important method of primary data collection. Interviews are expensive as compared to other methods of data collection. In the interview the interviewer collects information from each respondent independently.  Interviews are more reliable as compared to observation. 

The questionnaire is one of the most commonly used methods of data collection in research. Questionnaires are formulated to get to the point information on any subject area. The questionnaire is an inexpensive method of data collection as compared to other methods of primary research. Questionnaires can be submitted by the vast audience at a time and the responses can be obtained easily. (Lawley,  2009)

Experiments are the most reliable source of data collection in natural sciences. Experiments can be conducted in any area of scientific study, whether it is chemistry, biology, physiology, physics, astronomy or mathematics. Experiments can be conducted in a controlled environment as well as in natural situations.  Experiments can be conducted in the field as well as in laboratories.

In any method of data collection in primary research the researcher follows a code of conduct. The researcher from M&S aims at obtaining the most authentic, reliable, valid and up to date data. M&S tries his best to keep biases far from the research study. In any form primary data collection tools are far superior to secondary data collection tools, although it is difficult to obtain data using primary research tools.

Advantage and disadvantage of primary data

1. Basic data 
2. Un biased information 
3. Original data 
4. Data from the primary market/ population 
5. Data direct from the population. 
1. Large volume of data. 
2. Huge volume of population. 
3. Time consuming 
4. Direct and personal intervention has to be there. 
5. Raw data. 

Secondary data

Secondary data is the data collected by someone else other than the researcher himself. Secondary data can be collected from a number of sources which can broadly be classified into two categories.

i) Published sources

ii) Unpublished sources

Published Sources:

Mostly secondary data are collected from published sources. Some important sources of published data are the following.

1. Published reports of Central and State Governments and local bodies.

2. Statistical abstracts, census reports and other reports published by different ministries of the Government.

3. Official publications of the foreign Governments.

5. Journals, Magazines and periodicals.

7. Reports submitted by Economists, Research Scholars, Bureaus etc.

8. Published works of research institutions and Universities etc.

Unpublished Sources:

Statistical data can also be collected from various unpublished sources. Some of the important unpublished sources from which secondary data can be collected are:

1. The research works carried out by scholars, teachers and professionals.

2. The records maintained by private firms and business enterprises. They may not like to publish the information considering them as business secret.

3. Records and statistics maintained by various departments and offices of the Central and State Governments, Corporations, Undertakings etc. (Cagan, M, 2008)

Advantage and disadvantage of secondary data



Less Expensive

Less activities (Field trip, Survey etc.)


Not easily available

Not adequate

May not meet the needs of researcher

Outdated information

Variation in definition

Inaccurate or bias

1.2 Present the survey methodology and sampling frame used


What is sampling?

A shortcut method for investigating a whole population

Data is gathered on a small part of the whole parent population or sampling frame, and used to inform what the whole picture is like

There are two main types of sampling: probability and non-probability sampling. The difference between the two types is whether or not the sampling selection involves randomization. Randomization occurs when all members of the sampling frame have an equal opportunity of being selected for the study. Following is a discussion of probability and non-probability sampling and the different types of each. (Cagan, M, 2008)

Description: Description: https://image.slidesharecdn.com/week09sampling-1225331134431442-8/95/sampling-methods-in-qualitative-and-quantitative-research-12-728.jpg?cb=1337852547

Source: www.googleimage.com

Probability Sampling – Uses randomization and takes steps to ensure all members of a population have a chance of being selected. There are several variations on this type of sampling and following is a list of ways probability sampling may occur: (Selden, 1998)

Random sampling – every member has an equal chance

Stratified sampling – population divided into subgroups (strata) and members are randomly selected from each group

Systematic sampling – uses a specific system to select members such as every 10th person on an alphabetized list

Cluster random sampling – divides the population into clusters, clusters are randomly selected and all members of the cluster selected are sampled

Multi-stage random sampling – a combination of one or more of the above methods

Non-probability Sampling – Does not rely on the use of randomization techniques to select members. This is typically done in studies where randomization is not possible in order to obtain a representative sample. Bias is more of a concern with this type of sampling. The different types of non-probability sampling are as follows:

Convenience or accidental sampling – members or units are selected based on availability

Purposive sampling – members of a particular group are purposefully sought after

Modal instance sampling – members or units are the most common within a defined group and therefore are sought after

Expert sampling – members considered to be of high quality are chosen for participation

Proportional and non-proportional quota sampling – members are sampled until exact proportions of certain types of data are obtained or until sufficient data in different categories is collected

Diversity sampling – members are selected intentionally across the possible types of responses to capture all possibilities

Snowball sampling – members are sampled and then asked to help identify other members to sample and this process continues until enough samples are collected

Advantages and disadvantages of random sampling


Can be used with large sample populations

Avoids bias


Can lead to poor representation of the overall parent population or area if large areas are not hit by the random numbers generated. This is made worse if the study area is very large

There may be practical constraints in terms of time available and access to certain parts of the study area

Advantages and disadvantages of systematic sampling


It is more straight-forward than random sampling

A grid doesn't necessarily have to be used, sampling just has to be at uniform intervals


It is more biased, as not all members or points have an equal chance of being selected

It may therefore lead to over or under representation of a particular pattern

Advantages and disadvantages of stratified sampling


It can be used with random or systematic sampling, and with point, line or area techniques

It is very flexible and applicable to many geographical enquiries

Correlations and comparisons can be made between sub-sets


The proportions of the sub-sets must be known and accurate if it is to work properly

It can be hard to stratify questionnaire data collection, accurate up to date population data may not be available and it may be hard to identify people's age or social background effectively

Quantitative research: Provides Quantitative research is a method which involves collecting numerical data (which is analysed at a later stage) in order to test a particular hypothesis or analyze a certain assumption about society.  ‘Quantitative research is empirical research where the data is in the form of numbers’. (Punch, 2005, Pg. 3)

Qualitative research: Provides a holistic view of a research problem by integrating a larger number of variables, but asking only a few respondents.

In quantitative and qualitative research, the commonly used methods are:

1.       Questionnaires

2.       Surveys, and

3.       Structured interviews.

The best example of quantitative method of M&S is questioner that means numerical data will be used like calculation etc. whereas qualitative method in which data cannot be calculated the best example is interviews. In this research I used both the method questioner and interviews. I shall prepare the questions like about the choice and likeness of the M&S firm in UK market. (Lawley,  2009)

For this business problem both survey methodology and sampling method both are important in decision making. We have selected target customer from Greater Lon Open-ended questions are asked to get the comprehensive information on any particular topic, attitude, opinions and facts don. For this case we have collected information which are systematic sampling, stratified sampling, quota sampling, simple random sampling, cluster sampling for accurate result in this research. For this M&S company personal interview, telephone interview, electronic interviews, open-ended question, structured interview, unstructured interview (Healey and Rawlinson 1993, 1994).  M&S is very famous company in United Kingdom for its better service, reasonable price, goodwill. Their profit margin is also high but recently they are facing downward profit margin for lack of up to date customer services and knowledge about the pattern of behavior.


1.3 Design a questionnaire for a given business problem


The design of questionnaire differs according to how it is administered and, in particular, the amount you have with the respondent. Questionnaire as a general term to include all techniques in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of question in a predetermine order (deVaus 2002) . Questionnaire should be precise, relevant to the business decision making problem and avoided unnecessary quires so that we can get accurate answer from the customer and it will be helpful to the company for taking correct decision. As M&S company wants to improve their customer services quality and find out customer’s behavior for this task questionnaire design is a crucial part to solve regarding problems and we should specifies the information needed and objective of the survey.


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