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Aim, objectives and feasibility of the dissertation
The proposed research study is going to be focused on those techniques and strategies companies can utilise to reach cost optimisation. The purpose of the dissertation will be to identify these approaches and to discuss their effects based on the UAE organisations. With the focus on the general idea of cost optimisation, the proposed dissertation will discuss those practices, to which Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company refers. Thus, the following research questions will be considered:
- What are the strategies that Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company can use to optimise its costs?
- Can these cost optimisation strategies help this firm overcome the problem of reduced revenues?
To answer them, such research objectives will be set:
- Discussion of the current market situation;
- Identification of the necessity to focus on cost optimisation;
- Discussion of those advantages cost optimisation may provide;
- Short outline of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company’s background;
- Identification of the cost optimisation strategies that are used by Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company;
- Discussion of the effectiveness of these strategies in the overcoming the problem of reduced revenues.
The opportunity to fulfil the purpose of the dissertation will be obtained when properly addressing all these objectives.
The proposed dissertation discusses those issues and their solutions that are relevant not only to the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company but also to other oil and gas companies in the UAE. Thus, the information it will provide will be rather useful for the whole sphere. To ensure professionals that they can rely on the results of research and to gather all relevant data, it is critical to proving the feasibility of the study (Berk, 2010).
First of all, it should be mentioned that technical feasibility is ensured by the researcher’s access to the Internet and a laptop. Thus, there is an opportunity to reach enormous amounts of the information published online and to communicate with the sample. In addition to that, the researcher will try to prepare the dissertation based on the secondary data sources, addressing those books and peer-reviewed journal articles that can be found online or/and are available in the University library. As a result, the majority of the information will be obtained from printed sources that can be easily obtained and investigated. Of course, it is impossible to omit some literature gaps as secondary sources tend to provide generalised information that was already discussed by other professionals and may be biased by their views. To fill in these gaps and ensure the high quality of the study, primary data will be obtained as well. It will be gathered through interviews with the employees of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company.
Thus, data for the proposed research study will be obtained from different sources. The most basic information will come from books because they tend to reflect generally accepted ideas. Peer-reviewed articles will allow focusing on a narrowed topic and identify primary research examples. Online libraries and other reliable websites will allow getting company-specific information, but the major part of it will come from the interviews with some of the employees of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, especially those who are at the management level.
It is critical for those companies that operate in the oil and gas industry to be able to overcome the problem of reduces revenues that they currently face because with time this issue can affect their competitiveness greatly. As a result, they will not be able to operate efficiently and will lose their clients’ loyalty. The thing that can improve the situation and assist businesses is strategic cost optimisation. A lot of different companies that are engaged in various markets consider it to be the best solution ever. Still, it is not that easy to identify those strategies and techniques that can surely bring advantages to the company. Kothari and Dhillon (2011) encourage oil and gas companies to emphasise on long-term goals because even though they can be achieved only making a range of small steps, the overall results are worth it. Based on the related literature that is represented by peer-reviewed articles and authoritative books, it can be stated that four main steps should be followed by companies.
Sasaki (2012) as well as Yu, Kuo, and Yeh (2014) believe that organisations need to start cost optimisation with the prioritisation of spending. Sasaki (2012) underline the necessity to involve all departments in this process so that each of them can define those areas in which some limitations can be implemented without critical consequences. Of course, it also means that they need to be aware of those expenses they are currently facing, so research should be maintained beforehand. Thus, the management will be able to consider how the resources will be utilised in the future. Yu, Kuo, and Yeh (2014) support the necessity to maintain such steps and add that it is also vital to pay attention to clients and suppliers because they had a great influence on the expected and provided services/products. All in all, Chowdhury and Taguchi (2016) encourage organisations to pay attention to their external environment and internal resources when prioritising spending.
Engel (2010) claims that cost optimisation is impossible without increased efficiency. The author states that companies can reduce expenditures if they use the little resources available but reach those targets they have set. In this context, it is also important to fit the timeline and the best possible performance. Thus, it is possible to reduce labour costs and eliminate waste. Engel’s (2010) idea is supported by Simboli, Taddeo, and Morgante (2014), who claim that the reduction of waste is very popular currently. If organisations resort to it and try to follow the eco-efficient use of resources they are likely not only to maintain cost-effective operations but also to protect the environment. Aziz and Hafez (2013) add that waste reduction maximises value for the clients and attracts them. Such an initiative can make a company’s operation less stressful for all stakeholders and give them a chance to earn more.
Lauria and Lauria (2014) believe that cost optimisation can be reached due to the enhancement of flexibility and agility in the business. Professionals underline that changing environmental factors often affect organisational performance adversely and ruin the firm’s sustainability. The falling oil price has already influenced many businesses negatively. Thus, it is significant for companies to improve their ability to identify changes beforehand and adapt to them within a short period. Lauria and Lauria (2014) encourage organisations to consider the use of advanced technologies, such a state-of-the-art machines that can lead to the reduction of labour cost. Mircea (2010) supports this position and states that flexibility of business processes ensures its sustainability. Still, she also emphasises the fact that agility of employees plays a critical role in this process. While technologies can have high initial costs, labour costs tend to remain unchanged. Thus, they are worth emphasising. All in all, regardless of the approach utilised by the organisation, it is significant to ensure that the quality of products/services will remain the same because its reduction is likely to cause customers’ dissatisfaction and exaggerate existing problems.
Finally, professional underline the fact that cost optimisation requires the implementation of the transformation process within the company. It is vital to develop an initiative that will make the firm try to adapt to the changes that have been already implemented. Zhu (2015) believes that it is not always that critical to making an organisation implement new cost-effective strategies to reduce its expenditures and provide it with an opportunity to reduce spending. The author claims that in some cases, the issue is the lack of stakeholders understanding of those strategies and techniques that are currently utilised.
Thus, Zhu (2015) encourages the management to focus on those changes that have already been implemented recently but fail to bring success to the firm. They should try to improve stakeholders’ understanding of the current situation instead of introducing a new set of initiatives. Lunenburg (2010) also speaks about the importance of organisational changes. Still, he pays attention to forces for and resistance to them that are not thoroughly discussed by the previous author. Lunenburg (2010) encourages firms to provide training to the stakeholders and to base it on the reasons why they are likely to accept a change or resist it. He claims that in this way it will be easier to appeal to the diverse population of stakeholders, which will streamline the process of cost optimisation.
Research methodology and methods
Cost optimisation techniques and strategies and their benefits for businesses are often discussed today that is why the possibility to apply them at Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company for it to cope with the declining international oil prices is worth researching. Thus, it is significant to consider the methodology that will be used to obtain the required information and analyse it, as stated by Silva (2014). Considering the fact, that the researcher has a constructivist epistemological approach, according to which the information is to be proactively addressed because it does not exist awaiting for discovery, the most appropriate methodology that will be used in this study is a survey. In addition to that, it cannot be denied that surveys are not difficult to conduct when the sample is already identified.
It will include the employees and managers at Abu Dhabi Marine Company so that the participants will be located in the limited territory. Such location is rather beneficial for the researcher because it provides an opportunity to minimalize the necessity to move from one place to another. As a result, time and finances can be saved. A stratified sampling technique will be used to reach the participants who hold different positions within this company. Having a diverse sample, in this way, the researcher will be able to associate particular participants’ profiles with their responses, which will ensure the possibility of generalisation and simplify data analysis. Such an approach is likely to lead to the discussion of three different strata: respondents who are in the managerial positions, employees in non-managerial positions, and individuals from the board of directors.
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This study will be quantitative so that the most unbiased and precise data will be obtained from the sampled population. Mainly, the focus will be made on the frequency of use of particular cost optimising strategies and techniques. In this way, the researcher will be able to identify similarities in practices and list the most common optimisation strategies used in the field. However, the researcher realises the necessity to maintain qualitative research that tends to provide more in-depth information regarding the utilisation of these strategies. The thing is that the qualitative approach is focused on the explanation and description of some trends and elicit people’s ideas on the matter.
Thus, it can be understood that there is a necessity to refer to mixed methods in this research so that the information of both types (qualitative and quantitative) can be obtained and evaluated. Using a mixed-method approach will be appropriate because it will enable me to have empirical data to support the claims and have descriptive statistics to elaborate further on the findings. Still, the researcher will pay more attention to qualitative methods, aligning them with the aim and goals of the study as well as to industrial and organisational characteristics due to the selected epistemological approach. The focus will be made on those reasons that determine the decision to use particular optimisation strategies, such as its benefits and downsides.
Considering the goals of this research, it will be advantageous to use the case study method. In this way, the experiences and choices of decision-makers within oil and gas companies located in Abu Dhabi will be underlined and thoroughly discussed because these individuals are the ones who make the final decision regarding the use of the optimisation strategies and techniques. The case study approach will give a chance to both be focused on the general topic of the study and to pay attention to the particular organisation and its real situation.
The data will be collected with the help of semi-structured interviews. They will consist of open-ended questions so that the participants will not be limited in their responses. In this way, some bias can also be minimalized, as the sample will mention the information they believe to be relevant instead of considering the researcher’s ideas. In addition to that, face-to-face interviews tend to be the most appropriate for the small size of the sample because they provide the researcher with an opportunity to go beyond the statements of the respondents when gathering facts.
Body language and facial expressions will also be considered and noted so that it will be possible to see if a respondent is making up a story instead of providing truthful information when asked a question. What is more, the sample will be able to ask to clarify a question or to provide some additional information related to the topic. Weber (2011) also claims that the researcher will have a chance to add some questions that were not prepared beforehand if seeing that there is something important that is not discussed yet.
When working with quantitative information, the researcher will use mathematical tools. Coding will be used for data analysis because it allows to find out the most recurrent themes and ideas. The data collected from the respondents will be coded in the statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) spreadsheet. In this way, it will be possible to analyse participants’ responses to each question separately. All in all, in the paper the information will be presented in graphs, figures, and charts. Each of these figures will be accompanied by the further explanation of what they mean based on the questions of this research.
|1||Stage 1: Area of interest identified|
|2||Stage 2: Specific topic selected|
|3||Stage 3: Topic refined to develop a dissertation proposal|
|4||Stage 4: Proposal is written and submitted|
|5||Stage 5: Collection of data and information|
|6||Stage 6: Analysis and interpretation of collected data/information|
|7||Stage 7: Writing up|
|8||Stage 8: Final draft prepared— submission of dissertation|
|9||Final Deadline—9 months from the module start date.|
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