The researcher will adopt a case study approach. A case study is an in-depth investigation of an individual group, institution or phenomena. Most case studies are based on the premise that a case can be located that is typical of many other cases. The case study is viewed as an example of a class of events or a group of individuals.
Direct observation will be used in the working environment of the identified companies. Interviews with managers and key leaders in selected companies will be done as well as focused discussions. Applied research will be used for applying and evaluating its usefulness in solving problems. It will provide the data to support the theory, guide theory revision or suggest the development of new theory. The primary purpose of the research is to generate knowledge, which is of immediate practical use. The qualitative method will be utilized in conducting this research. This type of research includes techniques and measures that do not produce discrete numerical data (Mugneda & Mugenda, 1999). More often, the data is in the form of words rather than numbers. The words are often grouped into categories. There are various methods usually used to collect qualitative data.
The first of these methods is direct observation where the required behavior is observed in a particular setting. The second is participant observation where the data is collected by an observer who is regular, a full participant in the activities being observed. The third is the interview method.
The primary purpose of a case study is to determine the factors that have resulted in the behavior under study. The investigation therefore will take a detailed examination of a single group or phenomena. In this case, a group will be investigated which will involve mid-size companies in Singapore.
Establishment of the focus of the study
The study is clear as it originates from the need to find out the interventions taken by medium-sized companies in Singapore for succession planning. It should be understood that succession planning is the backbone of the success of any company that intends to transcend generations. Therefore, succession planning is of primary importance for any business enterprise. Research is powerfully affected by the researcher’s motivations and values (Blaxter et al. 1999). That is essential in sustaining interest over an extended period to be able to utilize the strengths and prior knowledge and for the research to be useful in someone’s professional life. In this regard, the analysis is not carried out for research sake to fulfill an academic requirement, but rather to contribute to knowledge and offer solutions to existing problems in the society.
Identification of specific objectives of the study
According to Cohen and Manion (1994), the first stage in the research process is the identification and formulation of the problem. It is not always that there will be a problem that the research is focused on solving. However, in this case, there is indeed an identifiable problem. The problem that has been identified is that successive planning for many mid-sized companies, and indeed even large companies remain an area that is not given the appropriate consideration. Succession planning remains an essential part of a company’s strategic plan. It should be noted that organizational changes are inevitable and as such, it is important that the operations of an organization continue despite exit by key persons in an organization (Sullivian, 2012). Organizational survival remains a primary objective of any organization (Adewale, Abolaji & Kolade, 2011). That is also the case with mid-size companies including those in Singapore. Failure to focus on successive planning therefore can pose a greater risk to the survival of the company.
In carrying out research, Johnson advises that it is important to attempt to define specific objectives in advance. It is this counsel that has guided this research in that it has assisted in identifying particular goals which include the choice of the research method and decision on the forms of access needed (Johnson, 1994).
There were background reading and literature review, which was ongoing, and this initial reading guided the formation of objectives of this study. A report conducted in this study has been recently published in regards to succession planning for mid- size companies. These reports have had a significant impact on the work of this study especially in reinforcing the findings. In this regard, reading continued throughout the research period. The literature review attempted to provide the reader with a picture of the state of knowledge and major questions in the subject of investigation (Bell, 1999).
The population is defined as a complete set of individuals, cases or objects with some observable characteristics (Mugenda & Mugenda, 1999). The features differentiate it from other populations. In this case study, the target population will comprise mid-size companies in Singapore. The population that the researcher will generalize the results will be referred to as ‘target population’ or universe.
It should be noted that it is impractical to select a representative sample from the target population because it is difficult to study all the companies in Singapore owing to shortage of time and the fact that companies are scattered all over Singapore. To cater for these difficulties, the researcher will narrow the study to accessible population. The available population for this study will be companies located within the capital city of Singapore. That may be a more close and defined population. The companies located in the capital, Singapore could share common characteristics like all other companies in Singapore. This will increase the degree of population validity. Generalization of accessible population could be applied to the target population with confidence.
A sample is a smaller group obtained from an available population. This is because dealing with all the companies in Singapore would still involve tremendous amount of time and resources (Mugenda & Mugenda, 1999). The group will be carefully selected to represent the whole population with the relevant characteristics. Since all companies in Singapore share common characteristics, the research will take the case study of the capital city of Singapore. This is because the companies in Singapore may more or less face the same problems in the process of their operation. This problems will be well captured in the case study and hence justify the choice of the case study research design.