management–research question hierarchy

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5.12 Develop the management–research question hierarchy (Exhibits 5-6 and 5-8), citing management dilemma, management question, and research question(s), for each of the following:

a. The president of a home health care services firm.

b. The vice president of investor relations for an auto manufacturer.

c. The retail advertising manager of a major metropolitan newspaper.

d. The chief of police in a major city.

The management question hierarchy aims to guide the research from an ambiguous question to actionable research (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). The hierarchy first starts with the managerial dilemma where the researcher questions the symptoms that cause concern for a manager. After identifying the symptoms, the management question is asked which aims to seek ways of eliminating the negative symptoms. Step three of the hierarchy is the research question which determines multiple courses of action that could be used to solve the problem at hand. This then moves into the investigative questions which queries what the manager actually needs to know in order to choose the best course of action. The next question is the measurement questions which asks what should be observed to gather the information the manager needs. Lastly, the management decision is given providing the recommended course of action based on the research findings. Mithun, Rajesh, & Shenov (2012) suggest decisions should be made by tracking down the available evidence, assessing its validity, and then using the best evidence to make the most informed decision possible. In total, that is essentially what the management question hierarchy does. It is a tool to provide the most effective, research supported solution to a problem that the manager has.

a. The president of a home health care services firm.

The president of a home health care company is most concerned with the bottom line of the company. When analyzing the annual review, he notices the logistics of providing home health care is on the rise. This is the management dilemma. He then moves into the management question which is, how can the organization eliminate excess costs associated with the logistics of providing home health care. In the next step of the hierarchy, the president develops the research question. Possible courses of action include the following. Should the company switch to an all travel reimbursable expenses policy instead of providing company cars? Should we open more distribution centers for medical supplies?

b. The vice president of investor relations for an auto manufacturer.

The vice president of investor relations is always looking to attract more investors, and according to Link (2012), the best way to win investors is to win with consumers. For the month of October, U.S. auto sales fell on average 7.5 percent (Auto Sales Fall, 2016). This forces a dilemma for the V.P. of investor relations due to the lack of people wanting to invest in a failing market. The management question would be, how do we increase sales thereby increasing the amount of investors? The research questions would be, do we need to increase the amount of dealer discounts? Do we need to alter our designs to make our product more user friendly? Are we effectively competing with our competitors?

c. The retail advertising manager of a major metropolitan newspaper.

With the holiday shopping season ahead, a retail advertising manager of a metro newspaper could be concerned with being able to take full advantage of the limited advertisement space within the newspaper; this would be the management dilemma. The management question would be, how does the newspaper fully capitalize on the increased demand from retail businesses? Research questions may include, can we raise the price on ad space during this time of year? Can we allow more room within the newspaper to allow more vendors space?

d. The chief of police in a major city.

Especially in current news, one major concern for a chief of police is the growing discern for police with random acts of brutality. As a management question, this dilemma would ask, how does the force reduce or eliminate the risk of public discernment for police within the city? A research question would be, should we increase police presence, to show support for the community? Colossians 3:13-14 (New International Version) tells us to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Another course of action could also be, should we increase our involvement in community events as a sign of forgiveness to build a stronger bond within the community?


Link, C. (2012). Healthy snacks market attracts significant investor interest. Nutrition Business Journal, Retrieved from

Mithun Pai, B., Rajesh, G., & Shenoy, R. (2012). Research design hierarchy: Strength of evidence in evidence-based dentistry. Journal of Interdisciplinary Dentistry, 2(3) doi:

Auto Sales Fall in October Despite Dealer Discounts (2016). Reuters. Retrieved from

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