Quantitative researches which are positivist in their nature are often developed with the help of statistical methods to respond to a certain research question. Statistical methods are important to interpret the quantitative data correctly and conclude what the discovered numbers mean for the development of the definite process or strategy. The article “Unprofitable Cross-Buying: Evidence from Consumer and Business Markets” written by Shah, Kumar, Qu, and Chen and published in Journal of Marketing in 2012 can be discussed as an example of the positivist research in which statistical methods are used to analyze and interpret the collected data associated with the topic of investigation (Shah et al.). This paper aims to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of Shah, Kumar, Qu, and Chen’s research.
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Conducting the positivist research, Shah, Kumar, Qu, and Chen present the hypothesis basing on the analysis of the previous researches and literature review that cross-buying realized by customers is influenced by the notion of customer profitability (Shah et al.). The researchers test their hypothesis with references to the data provided by five firms. The main numerical data used in the research is associated with the number of customers performing or not according to the stated hypothesis. The results of the research based on statistical techniques do not support the provided hypothesis. The number of customers whose cross-buying behavior depends on profitability issues can be influenced by a lot of associated factors. The weakness of the research is in the fact this possibility is not discussed or explained basing on the literature review (Abrams; Chan and Mauborgne).
The strength of the research is in the fact that the researchers used statistical techniques to measure and analyze the number of customers performing definite cross-buying behaviors basing on their profitability or unprofitability. It was stated that 10%–35% of customers involving in cross-buying are unprofitable. From this point, the cross-buying phenomenon is discussed with references to the statistical data provided (Shah et al.). One more strength of the research is in the fact the authors focus on the specific two-stage framework to analyze the numbers and discuss strategies for managers (Jorgensen; Kotler and Armstrong; Scott).
Nevertheless, there is also a significant weakness that is associated with the interpretation of the statistical data. Using the statistical analysis, researchers provide themselves with unique opportunities to discuss the meaning of the numbers observed and analyzed (Jackson). However, the conclusions provided by the authors of the article are not based on the effective interpretation of the research’s results. That is why it is almost impossible to focus on the direct correlation between the number of customers involving in the cross-buying behaviors and the profits and losses of the firms participating in the research (Farley; Harris; Jorgensen; Mas-Ruiz).
Shah, Kumar, Qu, and Chen discuss the results of the research related to the phenomenon of cross-buying focusing on the opportunities for managers to change the policies and strategies used to form customers’ cross-buying (Shah et al.). Despite the fact the authors’ research is significant and provides interesting results which are important for the practice of managers, it is possible to speak about the inappropriate usage of statistical techniques to interpret the research’s results. That is why some weak points of the research were determined.
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Shah, Denish, Ven Kumar, Yingge Qu, and Sylia Chen. “Unprofitable Cross-Buying: Evidence from Consumer and Business Markets”. Journal of Marketing 76.3 (2012): 78-95. Print.