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The objective of this paper is going to undertake a critical review of two research papers. The articles have been taken from two different journals, the first one was taken from “The Academy of Management Journal” and the second one was taken from the “Journal of International Business Studies”. The reason for taking two different journals is to avoid homogeneity. After a thorough scrutiny we found that articles of “The Academy of Management Journal” all are in line with guidelines imposed by the publisher.

The same implies to the other Journal, which also clearly manifests the requirements the article needs to fulfil. By using two different journals we are making sure that more obvious differences between both articles can be extracted. Furthermore we found that the article extracted from the journal also includes style guidelines the authors have to comply with. We found that there are some key differences in those therefore we are able to make even stronger differences between our two chosen articles.


The paper is going to analyse the first article explaining in depth the structure and methodology of the article. Then the focus will be drawn to article number drawn. At the end a chapter will be dedicated to comparison in style and research methods arriving from both articles. In the final chapter conclusion will be drawn. Research The following paper is going to analyse the structure and content of the article “Relationships among risk incentive pay and organisational performance” by Mat Bloom (University of Notre Dame) and the George T.

Milkovich (Cornell University and Hong Kong University). The research paper commences with a very clear abstract enabling to capture the key content of the article’s research. The reader immediately realises that the crucial elements refer to managerial pay and organisational performance. Then we discover how the writers conducted research and what they found out. With this, we can extract the central issues researched. 1. 1 Abstract section Smith (! 991) gives a guidelines how a good abstract should be written.

The crucial feature is its shortness and in our case the article has been very successfully comprised into 70 words giving a clear inside of central issues, which were researched. The letter however informs that certain abstracts, especially the ones introducing university work, stipulate a length from 300-500 words. According to Smith (1999) not only structural but also formal issues are of a significant importance ie. objectiveness. The information about how the research has been conducted does not leave any doubt about that the article is an objective, well researched academic work.

In our selected article the abstract does not contain any jargon is objectively written very short, informative and therefore very easy to read. Immediately at the beginning of the article the names of the authors and the associated university names give a first academic and very serious impression. 1. 2 Introduction Section The introduction chapter according to Saunders (2003) should give the reader a clear idea about the central issue of the concern and why it was worth studying. It should include full statement of the research question and research objectives.

In our article it has clearly been stated that the purpose of the study was not to investigate the ultimate effect of risk on firm performance but the work only aims to extent the work of two researchers Beatty and Zajac (1994). The reader is being informed of the sequence of examination. So first of all the article examines whether, there is a correlation between risk of organisation of incentive pay relating to previous research. Secondly, the study examinants an efficacy of various managers from various organisations rather than focusing on CEO.

The main concern revolves around the so-called “agency theory” which deals with the main balance of incentives but mainly non-cash. By doing this we discover that the treated subject have already been researched in the past and only aims to deliver a supplementary information. At the end of the introduction chapter, the reader finds that the research will focus on the cash incentives leaving the “agency theory” in the background. Striking is that an existing theory will lead to various hypothesis, which intent to research one field beyond the theory. The literature review should be before the methodology chapter.

In our article, it is the case. The purpose of literature review is to set your study within its wider context and to show the reader how your study supplements the work that has already been done. The literature review has clearly been included in the chapter “Theory and Hypothesis”, which outlines a great number of authors, who in the past (the last 22 years) issued some papers concerning outcome based pay, compensation systems and the efficiency of incentive pay. The research on incentive pay naturally raises a research hypothesis that has been included in the theory and hypothesis chapter.

To back up the fundamental assumptions of the agency theory the article includes various hypotheses. This chapter specifies to past researches, Murphy (1985) for instance sees that there is a relationship between pay performance to total compensation to the shareholders return. The article sees the need to investigate the correlation between high business risk which could lead to higher returns or dividends to the shareholders that seems to keep pay performance low. The following Hypothesis are mentioned in the article:

Hypothesis 1 Business risk will be negatively related to the use of incentive pay in managerial pay contracts. Hypothesis 2 Business risk will be positively related to base pay in managerial compensation contracts. Hypothesis 3 For firms with higher business risk, the use of incentive pay is negatively related to firm performance. Hypothesis 4a The negative relationship between risk and the use of incentive pay will be stronger in manager-controlled firms. Hypothesis 4b The positive relationship between risk and base pay levels will be stronger in manager-controlled firms.

“When business risk is higher, greater use of incentive pay may become dysfunctional for directing managers behaviours, because it imposes still more risk”. 1. 3 Methodology Section Another important part of the research paper is the methods chapter, this chapter will provide us with an estimate of the reliability and validity of these methods. Robson (2002) has charted the threats to validity, which provides a useful way of thinking about this important topic, validity is concerned with what the findings are about.

The reliability is closely related to the method applied, our following article has got a well structured chapter about methods and measures, here the reader discovers how many companies and how many managers has been interviewed and what information was obtained. As Mitchell (1996) sees that the variety of sources function as the main measure of reliability therefore information on the interviewed 740 firms and 75 randomly selected managers is of significant importance. This makes us understand that the sampling process has been correctly applied.

First of all we can see that the managers have been randomly selected which allows research to analyse a broader spectrum of managers. Also important in the observation of the managers is what has been taken into account to be able to come to a conclusion. Those elements have been very clearly stated in the article, for instance annual salary, annual bonus, pay range information, age, years of education, etc. Due to a random selection of managers from all kind of backgrounds, we can conclude that the quantitative methods of research have been applied. This is also supported by the fact the collection of standardised database.

In this research it becomes though no emphasize have been put on qualitative research. Qualitative data means the interpretation relies on the word expressed of the respondent nor has data been collected in the non-standardised way. There is no information about the use of conceptualisation. Therefore, the data collected thus not qualified as a qualitative data. According to Robson the reliability can be threatened by a participant error (the time in which research has been conducted another possible mistake or threat is the so-called participant bias where participants are forced to say what there superiors want.

Another factor could be an observer error, which arise from using different approaches to elicit answers. Observer bias, where answers are being differently interpreted Also a huge emphasis has been put on the section, which explains the measures of systematic and unsystematic risk, clarified by stock data from a monthly base to computer measures of the stock market risk. To test the hypothesis the whole chapter examines the whole mathematical equation to prove the correlation between incentive pay and risk. 1. 4 Results Section

The most important findings of the report are included in the chapter “measures and results”. The results include a very clear list of various ranges of monetary incentives. The conclusion chapter in this report is called “discussion” and it should reflect the main message. In the article the message appears in a very straightforward way and reflects the main body in a very clear statement, “The data suggest that organisations facing higher risk do not place greater emphasis on short-term incentive pay-indeed. ” Article 2 Subsidiary Autonomy : The case of multinational Subsidiaries in Malaysia

(Ron Edwards, Adlina Ahmad, Simon Moss) Journal of International Business Studies, 33, 1(first Quarter 2002): Pg183-191. 2. 1Abstract The article is an attempt to look at the autonomy of subsidiaries in Malaysia. In our view, the authors managed to construct their research in a succinct and comprehensive way. Therefore, reader could easily get an overview of the objectives, methods, and conclusion of the findings in this section. 2. 2 Introduction section We become aware of what the central massage is immediately at the very beginning of this section.

The introductory part of the review opened with a general explanation of the benefits in terms of economics, which requires a FDI injection from MNCs into the host country. This was further explained by the effect of autonomy of subsidiaries in national interests granted by the parent companies. Most of the literatures adopted by the authors are up to date. The research has been conducted recently (Year 2000) and the research methods proof its validity up to date, not only because of its undisputable process but also as the economy in Malaysia did not experience any dramatic changes in the last 3 years.

Next, the authors also stated the research objectives clearly, after a general introduction they narrowed the research evaluation. Thus, this explained to the reader in a constructive and coherent way, by applying a process from a general idea to a level down, progressing to a more focused and specialised level. This was exemplified by the fact that the literature included is relevant to the research questions and objectives. Therefore, the review covered the important key theories of recognised experts in the area under research. This is crucial in order to link the hypothesis later.

However, the refinement process didn’t stop there. The authors further constructed their hypothesis by linking it with the relevant literatures from past studies. For example, the authors used various literatures sources to show that most of the MNCs adopted a similar progressive approach when expanding into an other country, which could be broken down into 3 decisive stages. These are relative autonomies granted to foreign subsidiaries initially. Next the MNCs set up an international business division in a parent company in order to co-ordinate subsidiaries activities overseas.

Finally MNCs adopted either a worldwide product division or regional division. This explained further that a regional structure is an intermediate base due to the proximity between managers and the customer base and thus it is in an advantageous position to control the production process and products. The authors formed their 1st hypothesis by relating to the above literatures. The stated that subsidiary of MNCs with regional division may enjoy more autonomy than subsidiaries organised in product division.

Hence, we identified the importance of literature review because it often employs a deductive process that generally provides researchers with hypothesis to carry out empirical testing in the later stage (Dubin, 1976). Moreover, the key literature review is a correlation with the representative sample. 2. 3 Methodology Section In this section, we shall examine the rigour of the research methods that have been chosen. After a thorough relevant literature searched in their expertise area, we found that the authors formulated their research methods, such as questionnaire and interview techniques.

The authors did a pilot test by using interviews as a preliminary tool. Pilot testing is crucial to reinforce validity and subsequently which lead to reliability. However, we found that the authors failed to mention the results of replies of 1st batch of the respondents ( 527 subsidiaries), although 71 replied in the 2nd mailing process eventually. This might suggest there is a low on generalisation in the sample population. Generalisation is concerned with the applicability of the results of a research study to other settings (Saunders et. al, 2000.)

Scandura and William (2000) further emphasize that in a research strategy and the sample survey maximizes the representative sampling of the population units under research. The primary data collected by the researcher would maximise the realism of context since it is conducted in a field setting. However, it can be low on precision of measurement and lacks control of behavioural variables due limitation in experimental control. We think that the authors however were able to maintain the essence of rigour in research strategy because they applied triangulation approach.

That means that is a qualitative fieldwork and quantitative surveys have been employed within the same research domain. Therefore they improve internal and external validity because combination of research strategies in the same study helps to counter the trade-offs inherent in others (Scandura et. al. 2000). It is realised that researchers need to adopt different strategies to maximise the 4 kinds of validity (Scandura et. al. ,2000) namely internal, external, construct and statistical conclusion (Cook & Campbell, 1979).

Nonetheless, we felt that the authors achieve the rigour of research by formulating their research based around the triangulation approach (Saunders et. al,2003). 2. 4 Results Section In our view, the authors applied different statistical conclusion to further test the reliability and validity. To name a few such as the Cronbach’s Alpha (a statistical used to measure the internal reliability of a multiple item scale), standard deviation (measure of dispersion), mean, Chi-Square (theoretical probability distribution) and function analysis.

This stage is crucial as it serves as a pinnacle point of exposing the relationship amongst the determinants being analysed in conforming the hypothesis. Thus the researcher can formulate conclusion and build platform for further discussion. Progressively, the authors manage to review and relate the hypothesis they formulate initially entailed from past literature reviews. Later, the review did provide a fresh insights for the issues been raised to the reader subsequent statistical analysis. To polish up, the authors further made justification by pulling other external factors that might have contributed to the issues.

Finally the authors concluded that there is correlation between MNC and subsidiaries autonomy and economy interest. 3. Comparison of two articles In our view the second article is not as much in depth as the first. First of all the sentences used in the second article is much more simple and comprehensive, therefore reader friendly. For researchers who would like to gain more in depth and insights information, the first article would be much more preferred. Its reliability and validity appears undisputable. With the second article questions can be still raised in terms of validity due to 71 replies against 251 mails.

Also this is because the first article in contrast is explaining the statistical model. By doing this reader becomes aware of the tool how the hypothesis has been linked. Another crucial difference is the use of qualitative and quantitative methods. The first article only relied on quantitative research methods. The second one comprised both the qualitative and qualitative methods to obtain data from the respondents. We think that the two-research papers are different due to the in-house style of guideline requirements. Therefore this might limit what and how the researchers publish their works.

We found that the first article includes more references; the first article has 73 references, whereas the second one only contains 18. Clearly this suggests that the first article gives a more holistic view. Furthermore the first article explains the models in detail and shows tables and calculations, and more thorough explanation of results and discussion has been delivered. 4. Conclusion After having identified the most striking differences in those two articles above, it needs to be understood that an academic research structure cannot deviate from the set structure explained above.

Both articles show similar characteristics covering the same structure section such as abstract, literature review, methods, results, conclusion and references even though the topic and its publishing company differs. Moreover, it has shown that in order for the researchers to formulate hypothesis, these must be in the domain of the relevant literature reviews before they could progress on in carrying out research and apply research strategies.


1. Beatty, R. P. , & Zajac, E. J. 1994.Managerial Incentives, monitoring, and risk bearing: A study of executive compensation, ownership and board structures in initial public offerings. Administrative Science Quarterly, 39:313-335. 2. Cook, T. D. , & Campbell, D. T. , 1976. The Design and conduct of quasi-experiments and true experiments in field settings. In M. D. Dunnette(Ed. ), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: 223-336. Chicago: Rand McNally. 3. Dubin, R. 1976. Theory Building in applied areas. In M. D. Dunnette (ED. ), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: 17-39. Chicago: Rand McNally.

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