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Research problem and purpose
On 26 July 2012, Huffing Post reported that the number of workers filing complaints against employers under the Fair Labor Standard Act increased from 1,457 cases in 1993 to 7,006 cases in 2011. In 2012, this number had already increased to 7,064 cases. According to Huffing Post, there is a lack of clarity in overtime laws and plaintiffs receive lucrative settlements. These are factors, which drive the number of complaints against companies.
At the same time, a weak economy has also facilitated the need for increased working hours from employees. Reports from other studies also indicated the same trend. For instance, the wage violations in New York City established that 77 percent of low-wage workers, who worked for more than 40 hours in a week, did not get their overtime payments. This number increased to 93 percent among people who worked for more than ten hours in a day. Some workers (21 percent) also reported that their payments were less than the recommended minimum wage. On average, low wage employees lose $58 per week and $3,000 in a single year.
In XYZ Company, there was a lack of credibility in making payments to workers. For instance, the clocks were not reliable. Accountants encouraged employees to work overtime, but such employees did not receive their overtime wages. In reality, employees did not receive their wages due to the embezzlement of funds by accountants. After one year, 52 employees lost over $21,000 in terms of wage payments.
The focus of this research is the problem of employers stealing and or not reporting employees overtime hours. While studies have shown various reasons for the rise of filed cases related to unpaid overtime claims, not many scholars have examined the role of the employer and the embezzlement of overtime wages from employees. Thus, the study seeks to show employers stealing and or not reporting overtime hours.
The research will provide a significant attempt in enhancing a good working condition and motivation for employees who work overtime. This study shall also be important to employers who lose money to dishonest accountants. As a result, employers will understand the importance of effective corporate governance and the integrity of accountants when they handle overtime wages. When we understand the factors that facilitate embezzlement and or failure to record employees’ overtime hours, we can assure employees of protection from employers who lack integrity. In addition, the research shall offer recommendations on how to handle overtime wages in accordance with the law and company policies. At the same time, it will also highlight factors that encourage employers to steal and or fail to record employee overtime hours.
Failure of employees to clock in and out for overtime may be easy to recognize through attendance records. However, we have to understand that embezzlement is a white-collar crime that is difficult to investigate because of a lack of physical evidence. Therefore, the research shall show that the proof of embezzlement and or failure by employees to keep attendance records require extensive investigations. As a result, the company must take the right procedures in order to investigate the embezzlement of overtime funds.
The study shall also be useful for employees who face challenges of overtime clocking in and out, accountants who plan to embezzle employees’ overtime wages. It will highlight areas of improvement. It will also act as a reference for scholars interested in issues of overtime wages, the organizational culture of embezzlement, and effective ways of avoiding theft by accountants.
- What are the most enablers of embezzlement by employers or accountants in your company?
- Does employees’ failure to clock in and out for overtime or a lack of awareness about overtime facilitate embezzlement of their payments?
- How can employees protect themselves from losing overtime payments to accountants?
- How can organizations control the embezzlement of the fund by people they trust?
- What are the best approaches to handling cases of embezzlement or failure to report employees’ overtime hours?
This research shall adopt an action research design in order to provide factual accounts of employers stealing and or not reporting employees overtime hours. In this research, the study shall take the following steps.
- Collection of data about the existing overtime practices and employers stealing of wages and their outcomes
- Reflection on data gathered
- Development and implementation of an action plan in order to improve the current condition
- Collection of information after the implementation of the action plan
- Writing of conclusion regarding outcomes of the action plan
This study shall use a collaborative action approach because of the nature of the research problem, which researchers cannot understand by mere observation. The researchers shall have loosely structured interviews in order to change variables as they gather information because of the probing nature of this research.
The company executives and employees must improve the working conditions based on overtime issues. Together they shall review cases of theft and or not reporting overtime hours in order to improve overtime hours reporting and payments. The employer can then introduce actions, which accountants and employees shall implement for the next three months. During the implementation period, accountants, employers, and employees must conduct weekly meetings in order to ascertain the progress made and problems experienced.
At the end of three months, accountants, employers, and employers must compare the report on embezzlement and or not reporting cases of overtime hours against findings obtained prior to the implementation of the action plan. If the report indicates any improvements, then the company decides to adopt the action plan to be a part of overtime management. All stakeholders must agree on monitoring and evaluation of the action plan.
However, if the plan does not show any improvements, then the team must formulate new ways of handling employer theft and or not reporting overtime hours by relying on gathered information. The researcher shall use a simple descriptive research design in this study in order to collect data. The data shall describe cases of employer stealing and or not reporting employee overtime hours, the organizational culture of overtime payments, and reporting and outcomes of such situations. Researchers shall administer a survey interview to purposefully picked employees and accountants in the State in order to gather information on the problem of theft and not reporting overtime hours.
The researcher shall use a descriptive survey interview in this study. The research shall focus on the evaluation of the current practices on overtime payments and or not reporting. It will gather data on issues concerning theft and or not reporting employee overtime hours. After the implementation of the action plan to reduce theft and enhance reporting of overtime hours, the research shall review the efficacy of the implemented action plan. For a descriptive study, we shall also have a general qualitative descriptive of tendencies and features of not reporting overtime hours and theft of funds by accountants.
The researchers shall use a survey interview that involves both pretest and posttest method of gathering information from research participants. Researchers shall develop a survey interview based on discussions with employers, employees, and accountants. Interviews are appropriate and personal than other survey questionnaires. The researchers shall use both personal and telephone interviews. The personal interview shall involve participants directly.
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This is because of the ethical and integrity concerns of the research problem raises. The interviewer shall have the opportunity to present probing questions to respondents. At the same time, the researcher shall encourage respondents to give their views or impressions. However, interviews are time-consuming and require extensive resources. The researchers are also a component of the measurement instrument. Therefore, they must learn how to handle unforeseen events during the interview. The researcher may also use telephone interviews in areas they cannot gain access to due to constraints in resources.
This is a rapid method of collecting information from respondents. In addition, telephone interviews shall also provide some degree of contact with respondents. However, the researchers will have to find telephone numbers of research respondents, which may not be publicly available. At the same time, researchers will also control eventualities due to the length of calls, which some respondents may regard as time-consuming.
This qualitative research interview shall account for both factual and relevant information regarding employer stealing and or not reporting overtime hours. The method shall enable the researchers to gather data behind respondents’ experiences with embezzlement of overtime funds and or not reporting overtime hours. It will also give the researchers opportunities to pursue in-depth data regarding the increasing cases of failure to pay overtime hours among companies.
The researchers shall also adopt survey questionnaires. The researcher shall use a mail survey. This is because such mail surveys are not expensive to administer. Respondents also have the advantage of filling the questionnaire at their convenience. However, the researchers must prepare for low response rates. At the same time, respondents may fail to provide detailed responses to probing questions.
This research shall also use a group-administered questionnaire to employees. The approach facilitates convenience. It guarantees high response rates from the present respondents. At the same time, the researchers shall be available to clarify any unclear issue for respondents. The company set shall provide opportunities for researchers to assemble respondents. The respondents shall complete the questionnaire while in the room in order to enhance the rate of response.
Researchers shall use qualitative research in order to gather narrative descriptions of the study problem.
Research instruments shall provide the validity and reliability of collected information.
This study shall use a purposive sampling frame. The researchers shall only gather information from employees who have worked overtime and did not clock in and out, never noticed discrepancies in payment, and those who did not receive payments at all. At the same time, the researchers shall target both accountants and employers in these organizations. Thus, they shall exclude employees, accountants, and employers who do not suit the purpose. However, this approach is non-probability and may present errors and bias.
On the sampling size, the researcher shall use enough sample size to provide acceptable precision of 95 percent on employer stealing and or not reporting overtime hours. Estimation shall involve the use of a confidence interval of five percent with a confidence level of 95 percent. In this research, we shall assume a population size of 300. Using an interval of five percent and a level of 95 percent, we have 169 respondents needed for the study. The researcher got the sample size from a Sample Size Calculator from Creative Research Systems (http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm).
Data analysis approach
The researchers shall provide a detailed data analysis approach in order to provide an account of a clear and accurate situation of the problem under study. The researchers shall sort and clean data for missing and wrongs responses. They must classify all data into different themes. The next stage shall involve the coding of data to create a summary in a table.
Researchers shall make data analysis based on collected information from both pretest and posttest results. Researchers shall analyze existing conditions before the implementation of the action plan, review progress during implementation, and analyze data after the implementation. Therefore, the analysis shall involve the three parts based on experiences gathered during the study. These include conditions before, during, and after the implementation of the action plan.
In order to understand the respondents’ experiences with employer stealing or not reporting overtime hours during every phase of the study, the researchers shall analyze data gathered against the background of companies’ practices as noted during the study and participants’ reactions to questions. This approach of analysis shall focus on themes of concern. This will enable researchers to note areas in which embezzlement of funds and or not reporting overtime hours to take place, areas of potential conflicts among accountants, workers, and employers.
The researcher shall have a holistic picture of employees, accountants, and employers perceive employer stealing and or not reporting overtime hours. These perceptions shall enable researchers to understand discrepancies in overtime hours, laws, clocking in and out, and payment.
Data analysis will involve the use of SPSS for generating frequencies and tables, which are necessary to facilitate narrative aspects of qualitative results. The researchers shall also perform ANOVA tests in order to understand the differences between study variables.
The researchers shall consider different target groups for the study. For qualitative results, we shall use narrative techniques to present data rather than the common scientific approach. Therefore, the description shall play a significant role in communicating study results.
The report shall have similar themes and concerns together. For instance, most people who worked overtime were low wages employees, or accountants who embezzled employees’ overtime payments exhibited questionable characters and habits. Reports on frequencies, tables, and percentages shall support such themes.
The report shall also provide the study weaknesses, strengths, implications, and suggestions for further studies.
Issues of employer stealing and or not reporting overtime hours to have serious ethical concerns. Therefore, the researchers recognize that respondents may be reluctant to provide sensitive responses to questions. The research may experience such challenges in questions relating to the embezzlement of workers’ wages. For instance, accountants may regard such questions as attempts to probe their integrity and invade privacy. Therefore, the review board will approve the research for ethical issues before the study can commence.
The researchers shall also guarantee the anonymity of respondents. This is why there are telephone and mail surveys. At the same time, the research shall not identify any company by name or names of its owners.