International Business Research Skill Assignment
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Option 3 - International Business Research Tasks
a. Research background
International business research (IBR) is significant before expanding business in global market for understanding global issues and appropriately preparing businesses for diverse opportunities. The book of Bougie and Sekaran (2019) revealed that IBR can help the managers of an organisation to make effective decisions at the workplace as making poor business decisions may lead to poor business productivity and future growth. It has been found that Bicycle market size in Latin America (LA) is twice as high as Europe and therefore expanding business of UK bicycle retailers in LA might be an opportunity for business growth. A business report revealed that there will be a yearly growth of about 3% in the Bicycle market of LA by 2026 (Researchandmarkets, 2020). The country of LA is composed of hundreds of kilometers of bike lanes along with different loan schemes for purchasing bicycles. On the other hand, Brzica and Brzica (2021) mentioned that there are several risks such as political or economical instability, fluctuations in currency exchange rate, and many more for expanding business on global market that has been found through research. However, as the market of LA is flourishing with growth in bicycle as well as outdoor clothing market, therefore, choosing LA countries will be beneficial for the business of UK retailers.
Figure 1: Share of bicycle owners in different Latin American countries
(Source: Statista.com, 2021)
Above figure shows that people of Chile own bicycles at the highest rate of 66.3% which signifies that the people of this country are more interested in buying bicycles (Statista.com, 2021). Nevertheless, other countries like Argentina, Columbia, Brazil are also increasing in the rate of bicycle usage. Similarly, the outdoor clothing market of LA has also shown steady growth over time and Brazil has been found as the highest consumer of outdoor clothing as demand in this region is the highest (Globenewswire, 2019). According to Saunders et al. (2003), appropriate business research helps in identifying actual problems of business in different regions, relevant factors that lead to an investigation in this sector, and uses of information for making accurate decisions. Hence, it is significant to conduct this research and help managers in making informed decisions regarding business.
Uses of this research for informing managerial decision making
IBR is considered a process of analysing, gathering, and disseminating information in order to make management decisions in the context of international business. Neelankavil (2015) opined that IBR can be used in understanding importance and growth of international business, scope in international market, and organisational structures of international market. Therefore, this research can be used for informing the managers of Bicycle and Outdoor Pursuit Clothing UK Retailers about the market demand for outdoor clothing and bicycles in LA countries like Chile, Brazil, Argentina. In addition to that, competitors of UK retailers in LA countries, business structure followed in those countries can also be learned by the managers through this research. However, conducting international research is expensive, time-consuming as well as challenging which can negatively impact the outcome of research.
b. Research objectives
As per the scenario the research is conducted to help the managers of UK bicycle and outdoor clothing firms in making decisions about choosing significant countries in LA for business growth. It has been found that following bicycle market trends in LA, the bicycle market of bicycle has reached $2.74 billion in 2015 (Researchandmarkets, 2020). Cities that are breaking records in the context of kilometers of bicycle lanes include Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Santiago, and many more. Furthermore, the Brazilian market has been found as the dominant bicycle market share as well as the highest demanding market for outdoor pursuit clothing. Considering the growth of bicycle trends, roads of these countries are made in favor of cyclists and therefore it has been estimated that bicycle market of this small region can contribute to the financial development of the country by about 27.91% by 2026 (Researchandmarkets, 2020). As per the opinion of Kima et al. (2019) outdoor clothing market is rapidly increasing due to the increment in outdoor-specific clothing brands. Global market size of outdoor clothing has been estimated to grow to $11770 million by 2022 (Globenewswire, 2019). Considering these factors numerous objectives of this research has been mentioned below-
- To identify the countries like Brazil, Chile of LA that can be potential markets for UK retailers
- To determine the growth of Bicycle and Outdoor Pursuit Clothing businesses in LA countries
- To investigate the risk associated with outdoor clothing and bicycle business in LA countries
- To explore appropriate strategies that can help UK retailers to mitigate those risks and expand their business in LA
c. Identification and justification of chosen research approach
Research approaches refer to the procedures and plans that have been adopted for gathering relevant data or information about research topics. In order to meet the demand of research objectives of this study, a qualitative research approach will be followed.
Qualitative research plays a significant role in gathering non-numeric data and can be beneficial for gaining in-depth insights into any research area. Johnson et al. (2020) mentioned that as qualitative data is based on real human experiences therefore it can help in maintaining quality in research. Therefore, to understand the opportunities of UK retailers in LA countries this research approach has been followed. In this research, following qualitative approach, both primary and secondary data will be collected including authenticity as well as market data. Furthermore, interviews will be conducted as a research tool for primary qualitative research. On the other hand, secondary qualitative research will be completed with the help of pre-published journals, articles, and research papers.
Umanailo et al. (2019) opined that primary data collection guarantees up-to-date, relevant and authentic information within study. In the context of primary qualitative research, the most suitable method for collecting data is an interview which is conducted within a small participant group in the form of one-to-one questions and answers sessions. In order to learn about the view of the UK outdoor clothing and bicycle retailers, interviews with several questionnaires will be conducted. These questionnaires may include their perception about LA countries for expanding business, which countries they found most attractive for bicycle and outdoor clothing market, and many more. As per the opinion of Abhulimhen-Iyoha (2021), interview in the context of research can help in better explaining, understanding, and exploring research areas based on the opinions and experiences of participants. Therefore, through the interview session, the countries that are prioritised by UK retailers as their potential market can be recognised. Moreover, the interview will be semi-structured and conducted through video conferencing keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.
According to Martins et al. (2018), secondary data is freely available over internet and therefore is easy to access and requires less money, effort, and time to collect. Hence, this study will include secondary qualitative data collection to research the market position of bicycle and outdoor clothing industry in LA countries. These secondary sources will be gathered from Google Scholar, ProQuest, and authentic government websites of different LA countries and will be helpful in understanding the market structure of LA countries.
d. Target audience for research
Sampling refers to the selection of the special group from which relevant information about the research area can be gathered. Main target audience for the interview will be businesses that operate in bicycle and outdoor clothing industry in UK. According to Ames et al. (2019) non-random purposive sampling help in making the most interest of a small sample population which leads to the research at a valuable outcome. In addition to that, purposive sampling helps in collecting qualitative responses that aim to better insights and more precise results. Therefore, for reaching the targeted audience this sampling method will be used.
In order to select an appropriate sample population, several criteria will be followed which includes-
- UK retailers who retail bicycle and outdoor clothing
- Retailers who are looking for international business opportunities
- Businesspersons who are mostly focused on expanding their business in LA countries
- UK retailers who have already operated their outdoor clothing and bicycle business in LA countries
Majid (2018) mentioned that number of people interviewed for research is directly associated with research cost and sampling based on specific criteria helps in choosing most valuable sample population and reducing cost of research. Therefore, along with delivering accurate information related to the research objectives these specific criteria-based sampling will also help in cutting research costs.
In order to reach the sample population, this study will go through online interviewing procedures allocating all the participants on online platform over different media. In this context, UK retailers who have recently shown interest in expanding their business over LA countries will be searched over internet. After that, an email describing the interview methods as well as reason for conducting this interview will be sent to them. Based on their responses, virtual interviews will be conducted with the help of video conferencing software like ZOOM. This selected sample population will help in effectively meeting the demand of each objectives of this research in the context of international business. Besides that, this sampled population can help in understanding the financial aspects, organizational aspects, government policy related aspects associated with operating in foreign countries.
e. Challenges associated with selected research approach
Conducting research in one's own country is itself a complex job and conducting international research is even more difficult. Neelankavil (2015) mentioned that while operating in international countries firms identify their basic research steps and their complexities. In international research challenges such as long schedules, difficulties in selecting vendors, weak depth analysis may be experienced by the researchers. Besides that, it also becomes difficult for the researcher to maintain research design and research methodology based on different countries. In this book of Neelankavil difficulties of international research are highlighted which are as follows-
- Differences in level of market development
- Complex government regulations associated with the operations of foreign firms
- Different external variables in foreign market
- Lack of knowledge among international managers regarding consumers of that country
- Market fluctuations in a foreign country
Aspers and Corte (2019) mentioned that data gathered from qualitative research is highly subjective and therefore can be generalised along with inaccuracy in nature. Furthermore, the perspective of individuals is often the base of this research approach hence it might be difficult to prove rigidity of information in research. Furthermore, conducting interviews with the retailers operating in LA market over online platforms may create limitations due to misunderstanding of provided information. According to Patel et al. (2020), it is difficult to assess body language in virtual interviews as traditional face-to-face interviews may lead to wrong interpretation of information and can lead to research failure. Therefore, it can be another challenge for this research approach. Nevertheless, Bhardwaj et al. (2021) mentioned that a virtual interview is cost-saving, flexible in the context of schedules, and requires less time to collect valuable information. Hence, conducting international research is an appropriate approach.
In the context of gathering secondary qualitative data challenges such as lack of information regarding those businesses over government sites of LA countries, journals and articles consist of poor information, and information that is not updated may be experienced. Nevertheless, choosing information, checking its published date, or choosing peer-reviewed articles and journals may help in mitigating this issue. As qualitative research is not a statistically representative form of data collection, therefore it may be difficult for understanding the statistical data of the bicycle market and outdoor clothing market of LA countries. Furthermore, to come to an accurate conclusion and understand market trends it may be required to conduct multiple interview sessions with the participants which is another challenge of the chosen research approach.
The importance of conducting international research before expanding business in international countries has been identified in this assignment. It has been found that conducting international research can help the managers of UK bicycle retailers to make informed decisions regarding global business expansion, especially in Latin American countries. Aim of this research of choosing best LA countries for outdoor clothing and bicycle business has been identified in this study. It has been identified that the qualitative research approach is appropriate for conducting research in Latin American countries.
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