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Cs/Herausragende Fundstellen/Empirical Part

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The empirical results of the thesis are presented in section 6.3 which spans the pages 136 to 176. The core of this section is the presentation of results of interviews with German, British and US-american managers working in Germany. Those interviews have been conducted according to a questionnaire that is attached to the thesis as an appendix. There are several aspects of this analysis that makes one wonder whether it does in fact comply with minimal standards of scientific rigour:

  • The sample size is very small (40 German managers, 10 British managers, 10 US managers -- see page 136), but Cs does not even mention that this might affect the statistical significance of her results, let alone perform any statistical analysis to investigate the question of significance. After mentioning the sample size at the beginning of the chapter, Cs then presents her findings in terms of percentages without reference to sample size. This leads to statements like: "this point was mentioned in total by 10 percent of the German interview partners, in the case of American managers it was 30 percent and for British managers it was 20 percent." (page 171), which disguises the fact that for instance the difference between British and American managers depends on the answer of only one individual.
    • Despite the small sample size Cs does claim that results from the questionnaire have the power to confirm certain hypotheses: "The basic hypothesis of this dissertation is that national culture influences the attitude towards SOPs as motivators. The research objective is therefore to find out, using empirical methods on [sic!] the case of managers in Germany, if is [sic!] hypothesis can be verified." (page 5, line 2). And: "The central hypothesis of this dissertation can therefore be seen to be confirmed, [...]" (page 167, line 19). It is remarkable, how Cs comes to the latter conclusion, refer to here
  • There is no description to be found in the thesis, according to which criteria the interview partners have been selected and why those criteria have been chosen or why they ensure a somewhat representative sample. All Cs says about the question of sample selection is: "All 60 candidates were carefully selected and represent a cross-section of managers from senior, middle and junior levels and from a variety of different types of branches of business and different functional departments. [FN 31: See appendix for detailed listing]" (page 136). There is no such listing in the appendix, however.
  • There is no description to be found in the thesis, according to which principles the questionnaire has been developed, and why it is fit for purpose. Cs states here only: "The results of the empirical analysis are based on a questionnaire that I developed" (page 136) and "Before the questionnaire was presented to the interview candidates a test run was undertaken with five individuals who have experience in the area of market research and in particular in developing questionnaires. Based on their feedback minor changes were made to the questionnaire [...]" (page 136). Despite this feedback there remain still questions in the questionnaire which could be seen as sub-optimal, e.g.:
    • "Question 15. Would you agree to an increase in the variable remuneration with at the same time a decrease in the fix remuneration?" (Answer: Yes/No) (page 187): Clearly the question does not give enough information for a meaningful answer, as an answer most likely would depend on the details of the variable remuneration package and also the overall size of the remuneration package.
    • "Question 9. German society is sometimes described as a consensus society. Do you agree with this statement?" (Answer: (Yes/No) (page 186): The question should include a definition of "consensus society", independent of that it is also suggestive.
  • There are several mistakes in the reported results that become apparent at first glance:
    • Page 144: Cs writes "35 percent of the British managers", how is this possible? -- there are only 10 British managers
    • Page 148: the bar chart does not correspond with the numbers given in the text describing it, which says: "In fact 47.5 percent of the German managers interviewed believe that shareholder value is not very important or has no importance" The chart actually shows 20% for this group.
    • Page 157: the bar chart does not correspond with the numbers given in the text describing it. Also, Cs writes: "75 percent of the American [managers]", which is bewildering, given that there have been only 10 American managers.
    • Page 172, line 2: "American managers, 25 percent": again, there are only 10 American managers

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