The concerns for economic development through the proliferation of perspectives referring to technology have emerged as a significant promoter of corporate success. National economic development is considered to be largely dependent on the transfer of technological competencies in the case of developing countries. Developing countries are subject to limitations such as limitations of resource capabilities, lack of production and manufacturing competence, technological disadvantage, faulty infrastructure and reduced investments in R&D. As per Acemoglu, Mostagir & Ozdaglar, the transfer of technology and information has been an integral aspect of productive activity with the initial modes of technology transfer involving reverse engineering, migration, purchase of capital goods and imitation (Acemoglu, Mostagir & Ozdaglar, 2014).
However, recent systems of technology transfer have acquired substantial formalization. Classifications of technology served as the primary precedents for the development of technology transfer frameworks which referred to general technology, system-specific technology, and firm-specific technology. The promotion of technology transfer initiatives in developing countries can be facilitated through the channel of multinational firms and international joint ventures (IJVs). Research studies on distinct forms of strategic alliances suggest that International Joint Ventures proved to be the most reasonable mechanism for ensuring technology transfer.
According to Beamish, technology transfer has also been associated with promising outcomes such as the promotion of local firm competence in acquiring higher positions in the global value chain. The practical examples of emphasis laid by policymakers in developing countries on the promotion of FDIs are reflective of their favorable intentions to acquire investments from MNCs (Beamish, 2013). Furthermore, the investment made by multinational companies is not only perceived as a source of financial capital but also as a new channel for the acquisition of marketing techniques, production methods, and updated technological information. The following research proposals are aimed at investigating technology transfer from the perspective of effectiveness between IJVs and local suppliers.
The possibilities for successful transfer could be realized through the effective realization of inter-organizational dynamics especially from the perspective of social ties, trust, transfer mechanisms, and the capability of recipients to adopt the technology. The primary discussions in the report would be directed toward the implications of qualitative and quantitative research proposals comprising references to the methodology and data collection methods that should be implemented for addressing the research questions, aims, and objectives illustrated as follows.
The empirical context of the research is vested in the automotive industry in Thailand with primary emphasis on the local suppliers segment obtaining technology transfer from IJVs. As per Bessant, the research paradigm associated with the quantitative research methodology is positivism, and researchers adopting positivism rely on procedures that could provide inferential statistics, experimental design, hypothesis testing, and mathematical analysis (Bessant, 2003). Quantitative research accounts for the utilization of formal logic and deductive logic to manipulate theoretical propositions so that relative explanatory power, chances of error, logical consistency, and survival requirements are fulfilled. Quantitative data is acquired through experiential surveys which could validate deductions of the hypothesis (Castilla, 2013).
The phenomenon is generally characterized by the investigation of the causal relationships that exist between the distinct organizational variables. In the quantitative approach, researchers are not able to exercise potential control over the research and the independence of personal opinions from the research phenomenon is also a profound characteristic. As per Çetindamar, Phaal & Probert, one of the major focuses of the quantitative research approach is also vested in the quantification of data and representing it in the form of percentages and numbers.
The prominent methods implemented by quantitative researchers include survey-based instruments that can provide highly standardized research data referring directly to real-world observations (Çetindamar, Phaal & Probert, 2016). The advantages of survey-based instruments are observed in the cost and time effectiveness albeit with the criticisms that are drawn against the information outcomes of statistical tools and other viable techniques. According to Chen, Chen & Zhou, the use of a questionnaire survey is identified as the noticeable outcome derived from the data collection approach in the quantitative research alongside improving the credibility and relevance of the generic outcomes of the study (Chen, Chen & Zhou, 2014).
The questionnaire is directed towards the essential topics of categories of technology transfer, mechanisms for technological transfer, underlying motives for business relationships between assemblers and component suppliers, educational proficiency of employees, the effectiveness of technology transfer, institutional linkages, and technological competencies. The measurement of the distinct elements of the questionnaire is realized through different scales such as nominal and ordinal scales which also include references from the literature review about technology transfer and semi-structured interviews (Cuypers, et al., 2016).
Sampling is an imperative aspect of research involving survey-based instruments and generally, survey-based research implements random sampling to derive statistical outcomes. This research proposal could not adopt the random sampling method as the time and resource limitations are profoundly observed in the research activity. As per Gawer & Cusumano, the application of random sampling could lead to prominent limitations regarding a distinguished set of characteristics that can be used for selecting participants. The establishment of a specific precedent to evaluate the group of individuals that could be aptly suitable for the survey process is also termed theoretical or purposive sampling that relies on a specific criterion (Gawer & Cusumano, 2002).
The applications of purposive sampling can be observed in the outcomes of affluent sets of information that could be considered appropriate for the topic of concern. Snowball sampling could also be implemented as a viable source for sampling as it envisages the proposal of other sample participants by existing members of the sample (Georgiou, 2014). The snowball sampling technique can be evaluated as a supporting entity for the outcomes of purposive sampling. The technique is also utilized to limit the bias that is profoundly observed in the component suppliers if they are introduced by governmental agencies. The sampling procedure was used to identify approximately 50 component suppliers of Toyota’s International Joint Venture (IJV) in Thailand with the major emphasis laid on communication with the main contacts of the company that supervises the supply relations of the organization with the assemblers (Gupta & Gupta, 2014).
The questionnaire was directed towards the preservation of the confidentiality of information furnished by participants albeit with the optional suggestions for participants to provide generic information about the year of establishment of the unit, the number of employees, and the location of suppliers. As per Kerr, et al., obtaining the background information would be credibly accountable for demonstrating the variability of responses as noted in the sample alongside induction of measures for explanatory investigation through in-depth interviews (Kerr, et al., 2013).
The application of purposive sampling allows access to prolific advantages such as the development of relationships based on trust between managers and researchers during the research, identification of any faulty data from similar participants in the different approaches, sustaining data consistency, and accomplishing a higher and accurate response rate.
According to Khan, Shenkar & Lew, the data collection instrument utilized for the quantitative research in this proposal is the survey questionnaire that is to be administered to the employees of the component suppliers of IJV of Toyota in Thailand. The limitations on response rate could be assumed as major influences on the performance of survey-based research. The survey could be facilitated to participants through a wide assortment of channels such as phone, e-mail, web-based platforms, postal, and face-to-face interviews as per the convenience of the participants, researchers, and the context of the study (Khan, Shenkar & Lew, 2015).
As per Lind & Lind, the outcomes of the quantitative data collection method of the survey questionnaire are influenced by the impact of factors such as the requirement of resources, response rate, and time required for completing the survey (Lind & Lind, 2017). The advantages of the quantitative data collection approach are observed in the acquisition of interaction with various participants with credible information related to the automotive industry in Thailand as well as the limited necessity for providing reminders to participants to acquire research information. The survey outcomes depict primary data related to the relationship of component suppliers with assemblers thereby implying the transfer of technological assets also. Informant bias is limited to a large extent through the quantitative approach that could have been abundantly observed in subjective research paradigms (Luftman, et al., 2013).
According to Lundstedt & Moss, data analysis that could be implemented for data acquired from the survey questionnaire would account for the description of the quantitative data analysis for this research proposal. The survey questionnaire can be reviewed to obtain numerical data in the form of charts, graphs, standard deviation, and mean which are considered generic techniques for quantitative data analysis (Lundstedt & Moss, 2013).
The use of simple descriptive statistics has accounted for noticeable benefits in the various approaches for analyzing quantitative data. The other means that are implemented for the analysis of quantitative data refer to partial least square, multiple regression, and factor analysis that could facilitate a legible description of key patterns and relationships of distinct variables. As per Lundstedt & Moss, the proposed data analysis framework for the quantitative research data in this proposal would be directed towards the implementation of simple descriptive statistics by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences that can provide a quantified representation of information availed from the survey questionnaire in the form of percentages and frequencies (Lundstedt & Moss, 2013).
The percentage-based response was derived concerning each question and was associated with distinct questions such as the nature of technology transferred, technological competence, trust, and effectiveness of technology transfer initiatives. The simple data analysis approach of simple descriptive statistics could not be considered as a validation for existing theories rather the implications should be directed towards supporting the qualitative research findings.
The proposal for qualitative research on the subject of technology transfer among IJVs and the impact on component suppliers is characteristically associated with the methodology of interpretivism that guides qualitative research findings. The selection of interpretivism as a research methodology signifies the pursuit of perceiving social interactions and the opinions of people in case of various intuitional and cultural contexts. As per Phillips, qualitative research is largely inclined towards the significance of meaning which cannot be quantified and therefore apprehension of a specific social reality is the outcome of qualitative research. The rationale of qualitative researchers is vested in apprehending the context of the involvement of participants through personal interaction with the environment as well as the acquisition of information (Phillips, 2013).
The findings are interpreted by the researchers on the grounds of specific precedents established by their previous experiences as well as benchmarks in the research literature. The output of qualitative research is noticed in the non-numeric form and descriptive illustration of individual action and perception of words. Therefore qualitative approaches to research are generally reflective of an informal and semi-structured nature which can promote the acquisition of comprehensive opinions from participants as they would be encouraged to share their opinions flexibly (Poblete & Spulber, 2013).
As per Reddy, sampling is an inevitable concern for researchers in the context of qualitative data collection and analysis even if many research studies indicate that sampling does not have any potential impact on the findings in qualitative research studies. The use of random sampling is a plausible implication in the case of qualitative research as suggested by many research studies which can be disregarded on the grounds of equal opportunities for each individual to be selected (Reddy, 2014).
Therefore the random sampling method could imply the involvement of certain individuals in the qualitative semi-structured interviews who do not have any promising knowledge of the automotive industry, international joint ventures, and component suppliers.
Semi-structured interviews can be assumed as integral aspects of research methodology in this qualitative research proposal as they provide the opportunity for comprehensive engagement of participants with researchers to garner a wide-ranging impression of the opinions shared by participants. Reuer, Klijn & Lioukas said that as data collection methods for qualitative research purposes, semi-structured interviews can also be held accountable for access to an interpretation of behaviors that are possibly generated from the ideological and cultural perspectives of the participant (Reuer, Klijn & Lioukas, 2014).
The design of a semi-structured interview could acquire support from the interview guide that could ease the process of including all topics that are included in the existing plan alongside depicting the possibilities for emerging themes. The ecological validity of the study’s design can be observed in the variable application of semi-structured interviews in the automotive industry. The interview guide resolves major implications about the perspective of component suppliers alongside facilitating reasonable insights into the distinct aspects of the research issue that should be addressed in the questionnaire. The use of an interview guide allows flexibility to the researcher that is also reflective of questions about the process, mechanism, and nature of the technology transfer initiatives (Scalera, Perri & Mudambi, 2015).
The technology transfer process could imply references to questions such as the initiating agent for the process, the description of the process, the mode for initiating the process, and activities implemented for supporting the transfer of technology. Technology transfer mechanisms are related to the rationale for implementation of the mechanisms, mechanisms for implementing the technology transfer initiatives, and the implications of different technology transfer mechanisms. These questions could provide a comprehensive impression of the perception of IJV’s effectiveness in technology transfer to the component suppliers of the automotive industry in Thailand concerning the case of Toyota Company.
The implications for the nature of technology transfer have also been profoundly noticed in the case of the automotive industry that was included in the semi-structured interview through references to questions such as the type of technology transferred to the component suppliers through the international joint ventures (IJVs), reasons for the reluctance of clients to engage in technology transfer as well as the perceived benefits of technology transfer. The noticeable feature that could be observed in the case of semi-structured interviews is the requirement of a substantial degree of engagement between the researcher and participants which can be addressed with flexibility through the application of the interview guide (Shi, et al., 2014).
The interview guide eases the data collection process by inducing flexibility for the researcher to determine the number of questions and the order of the same that would be administered to different respondents within the selected sample. However, the data collection process in the qualitative research proposal has to be accompanied by permission from the respondents to obtain recordings of the conversations between the researcher and participant in the semi-structured interview (Teece, 2003).
Data analysis in the qualitative research proposal could derive prominent references from the literature which facilitates cognizable insights into the approaches for analyzing semi-structured interviews in qualitative research approaches. The procedures that can be implemented for obtaining viable research outcomes from data analysis refer to summarizing data into familiar formats, data coding, and presentation of data with feasible conclusions. The coding aspect of the analysis process could be facilitated with the help of the Excel software that provides efficient opportunities for storage, organization, coding, cross-referencing, and scouting the interview data (Thamhain, 2013).
The process of data coding has to be followed by the introduction of auditing schemes that could verify the process as well as review the interview questions and implement revisions in categories of required information. The validity of the collected information is facilitated by the integration of discussion and cross-referencing of data which indicates substantial complexity in itself. The data could then be categorized into a specific structure for addressing the distinct research issues about the learning intention of suppliers, social relationships, the willingness of foreign companies to express technological transfer, absorptive capacity, and effectiveness of transferring technology and trust (Tidd & Bessant, 2013, 5th edition).
Cross-referencing that can be implemented among interviews as well as between primary and secondary data can be trusted as validation for the collected data through triangulation. The interpretation of collected data is also subject to varying precedents such as observation of similar phenomena as the variability of a range of the responses by participants rather than as a measure of frequencies.
The consideration of qualitative as well as quantitative research approaches has been noticed formidably across various sectors of research and since the conduct of research is dependent on the consideration of the validity and appropriateness of the research approach, the outcomes of the research study could be affected invariably by the two selected research methodologies. As per Tidd, Bessant & Pavitt, the observation of the fact that research approaches cannot be validated or rejected on the grounds of generic description and therefore variability of methods implemented in research activities could be associated with the rationales for accomplishing specific research objectives (Tidd, Bessant & Pavitt, 2005, 3rd ed.).
While quantitative research approaches allow the privileges of obtaining research information in the form of quantified data represented as graphs, percentages, and frequencies, qualitative research can be associated with the use of material experiences for interpreting the data from a personal perspective and deriving potentially positive implications towards the use of recordings, photographs, conversations and interview transcripts (Yan & Luo, 2016). The primary differences between quantitative and qualitative research approaches can be validated on the grounds of emphasis on the measurement of causal relationships between the variables and quantification of data in the case of the former while qualitative research implies the measurement of significance that cannot be encompassed within quantifiable boundaries (Tsang, 2016).
Hence the selected research proposals could account for major differences based on underlying implications related to each approach including the role of values in the study, the relationship of subject and researcher, applied methodology, research rhetoric, and the nature of context subjected to research. Hence it can be appropriately observed that each research methodology is associated with certain advantages as well as disadvantages albeit with minimal references to the impact that can be rendered by the nature of the topic under research and the implications of the researcher’s rationale.
Despite the profound criticisms drawn against the combined implementation of qualitative and quantitative research proposals about concerns of complexity for assessment, the hybrid application of the semi-structured interviews and survey questionnaires indicates the combination of qualitative and quantitative research approaches (Waldman & Terzic, 2017). The mixed application of the approaches is necessarily required for pressing limitations on the bias that could exist in the research approach as well as introduce viable improvements in the data sources such as aspects of neutrality in unison with other variables, research methods, and data sources.
The proposal report presented an illustration of the quantitative and qualitative research proposals for addressing the research objectives of technology transfer by International Joint Ventures to component suppliers in the automotive industry in Thailand. The sampling and methodology utilized in the individual research approaches are also highlighted in the proposal followed by a critical evaluation that provides an insight into the limitations and advantages of each research approach proposed in this report.
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