Article review-Leadership (study design & methodology)

The study uses a non-experimental research design. This is from the fact that the researchers do not indicate whether there was random assignment of individuals to the respective study-teams (Trochim, 2006). The sample used was a convenience sample of 252 graduate students who were undertaking their final year of their respective MBA courses (pp. 66- 69). Out of the sample, 54 percent were male, their mean age being 29 (pp. 66-67). Of the sample, 98 percent were in employment, 41 percent were pursuing an MBA focused on finance, 23 were undertaking a marketing-focused MBA, 23 percent were pursuing an MBA focused on information systems, and 13 percent were advancing their studies towards management and organizational behaviour (pp. 67). Devoid of the target population estimates, the appropriateness of the sample size for external validity may not be evident, as would, otherwise, be determinable via such ways as use of Cochran’s sample size formula (Bartlett, Kotrlik & Higgins 2001). Similar validity issues are brought about by the use of a student sample, rather than a sample from typical organizational environment, but the authors note of this limitation.

Methodology

The study used a business simulation model advanced by Thorelli, Graves and Lopez (1995) – the INTOPIA business simulation, varying the business scenarios. The simulation length was a year, the characteristics being that the teams were required to practice “the abilities to manage a virtual global firm, operating in several international markets (p. 67).

The data was sourced from three instruments; a questionnaire that team members filled in writing, each respondents exam results, and a score of team performance that encompassed the “team assignment grades and … the firm performance rating (p. 67). The questionnaire had statements that evaluated leadership style (transactional versus transformational), team cohesiveness (a three statement – measuring contribution, atmosphere, and decision-making process – social inquiry), and demographic data such as age, marital status and area of study.

The exam result was used as a measure of knowledge level. It was comprised of “written multiple-choice exam and … oral exams” (p. 68). For the team performance score, “the team assignment grades (34 percent) and the firm performance rating grade (66 percent)” were the determinants. The former was a mean of three aspects – explanation of management decisions throughout the simulation runs, the initial strategy report, and succinct assessment of a functional area. The latter – the firm performance rating grade – was comprised of grades taken to assess the management of an existing entity (46 percent) and those for a start-up venture (54 percent). Go to part 5 here.

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