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MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL The attached Module Guide carefully and based on it to develop my Dissertation which I wrote 12000 words with 31/100. Also, please follow its guidance to revise my report accordingly as all markers wi
MASTER LEVEL – The attached Module Guide carefully and based on it to develop my Dissertation which I wrote 12000 words with 31/100. Also, please follow its guidance to revise my report accordingly as all markers will be based on that for marking.
You have to follow the following steps and read the respected chapters in the suggested textbook mentioned below so that you can group your work in a systematic manner for submission.
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“(Step) Textbook chapter = for your report chapter -> the flow to move on”
I need to be 40/100. I missed the Research questions(primary Research) with answers. Research questions for the SME interview & Questionnaire for the Customers.
Step 1: special attention to reading p.14-17 “PGBM161 Module Guide 2021” ***
Step 2: special attention to Comment from Prof.docx to see the comments from them before revising the file
Step 3: revise your the Literature Review chapter and refine your research objectives and research questions
Step 4: revise the Methodology chapter on the report based on your understanding of those chapters (cover all topic mentioned on the MG and pick relevant concepts that fit the report)
Step 5: Revise the Primary research questions you had -> collect data from primary research = and ready the Research questions & Answers for the SME interview & Questionnaire for the Customers. Insert to the correct chapter.
Step 6:Discussion of Findings -> cover the scope mentioned on the MG -> present the collected data based on your understanding of the suggested textbook below.
MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL The attached Module Guide carefully and based on it to develop my Dissertation which I wrote 12000 words with 31/100. Also, please follow its guida
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN HONG KONG By Executive Summary Aim: This study aims to assess the importance of using social media marketing in small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong. Objectives: To achieve this aim, the following purposes were developed: to assess the challenges that SMEs face when integrating social media marketing in their businesses; to evaluate how social media marketing is changing marketing experience for SMEs in the retail sector; to determine whether social media marketing is effective in attracting and retaining customers; to assess the benefits of social media marketing strategies for SMEs, and to determine the most effective social media marketing platforms, and to determine whether SMEs in the retail industry should embrace social media marketing in their operations. Methods: The study pursued a qualitative research approach, where only secondary research was carried out. Data and information were collected by reviewing relevant literature and using a case study of the use of social media marketing at Coach. Findings: The study found that social media marketing is essential for SMEs in the retail industry, mainly because it helps SMEs minimise marketing and advertising expenses. In addition, it helps in reaching a broader customer base compared to traditional marketing. The organisation of the study: This study is divided into various chapters/sections. The first chapter is the introduction, where the researcher discusses the background that prompts this research, the aim of the study, the objectives, and the importance of conducting the research. The second chapter is a literature review, where a review of existing research and evidence on the topic of study is evaluated to determine what is already known and the gaps in knowledge on the research topic. The third chapter is the methodology, which explains how data was collected and analysed in the study. The fourth chapter is the analysis, where the researcher presents an analysis of the case study. The fifth chapter is the discussion, where the findings from reviewed literature and the case study are discussed in detail. The sixth chapter is the conclusion, recommendations, and suggestions for further research. Table of Contents Executive Summary 1 Chapter One: Introduction and Context of the study 1 1.1 Background 1 1.2 Problem Statement 5 1.3 Research Aim and Objectives 8 1.3.1 Aim of the study 8 1.3.2 Research Objectives 9 1.4 Research questions 9 1.5 Rationale of the study 10 1.6 Scope of the study 11 1.7 Structure of the study 11 Chapter Two: Literature Review 13 2.1 Understanding traditional marketing and social media marketing 13 2.1.1 Traditional marketing 13 2.1.2 Social media marketing 14 2.2 The effectiveness of social media marketing strategies 19 2.2.1 Reaching and attracting customers 19 2.2.2 Interaction opportunities 20 2.2.3 Costs 21 2.2.4 Tracking of results 22 2.2 Challenges associated with social media marketing among SMEs 23 2.4 Benefits of social media marketing to SMEs 27 3.1 Research design 33 3.2 Research approach 34 3.6 Data analysis methods 37 3.6 Ethical considerations 38 Chapter Five: Conclusion, Recommendations, and suggestions for further research 46 6.1 Conclusion 46 6.3 Suggestions for further research 47 Chapter Six: Reflections on developing personal competence 48 Chapter One: Introduction and Context of the study 1.1 Background Marketing is one of the most crucial elements for the survival of any business. Todor (2016) asserts that the primary marketing goals include attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. Slater et al. (2010) show that marketing strategies help draw customers towards a business, and when entrepreneurs can take care of their customers, profits and market share follow. Essentially, marketing helps answer two vital questions: how companies will address the competitive marketplace; and support and implement daily operations (Slater et al., 2010). In the marketing presence, selling in industries becomes simplified because entrepreneurs are fully aware of customers’ needs and customer value. They are aware that prices can effectively promote products due to the strategies used in marketing. Today, large-scale businesses are reaping the rewards of creating good marketing strategies and superior customer value. The contemporary marketplace is highly competitive, and techniques that can ensure consistent approaches for offering products or services in ways that can outsell competition are very crucial for businesses (Todor, 2016). Marketing strategies are essential because they can help businesses research objectives related to their industries, e.g., how to beat the competition (Todor, 2016). Research proves that marketing assists businesses by providing additional skills and knowledge required to ensure that the creative business components are used to the best advantage to allow companies to succeed and grow (Kumar et al., 2017). Good marketing strategies make it easier for companies to attract customers. Moreover, it helps entrepreneurs and customers understand and share information regarding what customers need and what can be done (Kumar et al., 2017). Social media plays a pivotal role in strategic marketing (Ahmed & Hussain, 2018). Social media offers a robust marketing opportunity to business entities since it has a more extensive customer base and is cheap to market. Additionally, social media is conducive to powerful digital marketing, adequately connected in Hong Kong (Chan & Guillet, 2011). Business-consumer interaction is one of the most significant roles social media plays in the development of SMEs. Social media websites provide an essential communication platform with consumers. According to Kumar et al. (2017)., social media is crucial in brand development, brand awareness, and growing new customers among SMEs in Hong Kong. Ahmed and Hussain (2018). reiterates that social media marketing among SMEs is excellently effective as these types of business ventures need to establish themselves as the platform provides a cost-effective marketing platform. Moreover, most SMEs are still establishing their roots. Therefore, they require a more robust form of marketing to attract new customers and maintain customer loyalty (Appel et al., 2019). Social media offer an opportunity for personalised business-to-consumer interaction and help the business grow in its spheres by surveying the rapidly changing market behaviours through personalised consumer attention. Therefore, it plays an integral role in traditional and digital marketing among SMEs, therefore crucial in their development. According to Hong Kong Trade and Industry department, SMEs make up to 98% of Hong Kong’s business ventures and employ approximately 45% of the labour force in the private sector. Hong Kong has grown to become one of the business giants in the Asia Pacific region, thereby having favourable regulations that promote trade and business (Trade and Industry Department of Hong Kong, 2020). Hong Kong’s ambitions have been the cornerstone for the tremendous growth of SMEs, and the government of Hong Kong has been massively aiding their growth and development to attain its ambitions. SMEs in Hong Kong have significantly benefited from favourable policies and programs, comprehensive business information support, free funding projects, and facilitating their expansion. Hong Kong considers the success of SMEs as one of the pillars required for the prosperity and success in its ambitions of becoming a giant regional business hub (Trade and Industry Department of Hong Kong, 2020). The support for the growth and development of SMEs in the country has since faced an uphill task of countering the expansion and market forces of established large business enterprises that large control shares of the Hong Kong market (Appel et al., 2019). The SMEs will have to overcome such hurdles in their growth, and one way of intensifying their expansion is through robust social media marketing. Small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong face competition from thousands of competitive business organisations categorised as formal industries. Such organisations display diverse marketing strategies that enable them to remain viable and to survive. On the contrary, SMEs face numerous challenges in their marketing initiatives. A lack of effective marketing strategies places them in disadvantaged positions when competing with larger businesses in the same markets (Durmaz & Efendioglu, 2016). To partially address the challenge of limited and competing resources, all large businesses are currently engaging in social media marketing to save on traditional or conventional marketing (Todor, 2016). For instance, all renowned firms and companies have Facebook pages, Twitter handles, Instagram channels, and other social media platforms to market their products and services while engaging with their customers. These strategies have derived success from companies more than ever. Based on the positive impacts that renowned and large companies and businesses derive from employing social media marketing in their marketing strategies, it has become essential to assess the value or importance that small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong can derive from social media marketing tools. This will help determine whether SMEs can attract similar positive results that larger companies and organisations use social media marketing strategies (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). 1.2 Problem Statement Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are developing and growing in the Hong Kong market (Appel et al., 2019). The good Hong Kong market platform offers a favourable market environment for SMEs, which constitutes the market’s lion’s share. The flourishing business SME market has witnessed rapid growth fueled by the growing propensity for digital marketing and the robust growth in strategic marketing. Social media marketing mainly played an integral part in business ventures in Hong Kong. Its roles in the growth and development of well-established business entities have been well-documented (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). Some studies have proved that SMEs would significantly benefit from widespread social media marketing to boost their customer base and grow into new horizons (Durmaz & Efendioglu, 2016); SMEs, however, engage in less robust marketing strategies to increase their sales, especially in the digital and online forums, due to marketing constraints, brand unawareness, and other marketing challenges. Small and medium enterprises face numerous marketing challenges in the wake of their expansion, especially when competing to sell similar products and services with large corporations. Large corporations can mobilise resources such as capital, skills, and talent to develop rigorous and robust marketing strategies (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). For instance, large corporations can pay for adverts on national television stations, hold shows and exhibitions, and use roadshows for marketing their products and services. These are costly methods of marketing that may not be possible for small and medium enterprises due to a lack of enough resources. Seemingly, SMEs find marketing a significant challenge. Even SMEs with marketing departments typically have limited resources, and they find themselves struggling to sell their products and services effectively (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). Financial security is one of the critical factors hindering SMEs from conducting thorough business marketing. SMEs lack the much-needed capital base to engage in effective marketing strategies (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). As posited by Durmaz & Efendioglu (2016), the small size of these business ventures forces them not to rely on thorough marketing practices. However, Geraghty and Conway (2016) reported that SMEs would significantly improve their performance with adequate marketing strategies, mainly social media platforms. Most SME ventures would not realistically meet strategic marketing that requires sufficient financing. According to Durmaz & Efendioglu (2016), very few companies are willing to spend millions on their marketing, but the scenario is worse for SMEs. Small and medium enterprises are faced with exceedingly limited budgets for promoting their products and services. Traditional techniques for advertising such as direct mail and print advertising can be costly and difficult to assess in terms of returns. For this reason, some SMEs do not market their products and services but instead rely on return customers. Other considerable drawbacks hindering the utilisation of adequate marketing services include unmatched competition from well-established big firms and lack of sufficient human resources and time required to conduct marketing strategies (Appel et al., 2019). The owners or families operate most small and medium enterprises. Remarkably, owners play active roles in running the operations of SMEs. There is never enough time for SME operators to run the business and market it simultaneously (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). Marketing demands planning, reviewing, and using the findings to influence the subsequent plans (Durmaz & Efendioglu, 2016). Failing to do this translates to missing out on gaining sales or prospects. Most small business operators lack the marketing knowledge that is required in the development of solid marketing strategies. Consequently, few of these operators attempt to engage in marketing their business and products. In the middle of these challenges, social media marketing seems to have brought a solution to SMEs struggling to sell their products and services (Durmaz & Efendioglu, 2016). The use of social media marketing has become almost inevitable if businesses want to succeed in the current competitive business world. Social media marketing will boost the position of SMEs and significantly play a part in their development and growth in the favourable Hong Kong market environment. SMEs should be empowered to utilise the opportunity to engage in social media marketing to build new customers, establish good communication interactions with them and popularise their brands which helps in their expansion. While large companies can use sophisticated social media marketing tools, less complicated ones have proved efficient for small businesses like SMEs (Durmaz & Efendioglu, 2016). For instance, social media platforms have been ranked as some of the most influential and user-friendly marketing platforms. Therefore, social media marketing can impact SMEs positively by aiding their growth and boosting their sales in the background of hindrances like cost and required resources to conduct the marketing strategy. 1.3 Research Aim and Objectives 1.3.1 Aim of the study This study aims to evaluate the importance of using social media marketing tools for small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong to determine whether they are effective in attracting and retaining customers to achieve sustainability and growth of SMEs. 1.3.2 Research Objectives To assess the challenges that SMEs face when integrating social media marketing in their businesses To evaluate how social media marketing is changing the marketing experience for SMEs in the retail sector To determine whether social media marketing is effective in attracting and retaining customers To assess the benefits of social media marketing strategies for SMEs and to determine the most effective social media marketing platforms for the growth and expansion of marketing among SMEs To determine whether SMEs in the retail industry should embrace social media marketing in their operations 1.4 Research questions What challenges do SMEs face when integrating social media marketing in their business in Hong Kong? How is social media changing the marketing experience of SMEs that operate in Hong Kong’s retail industry? How is social media marketing effective in attracting and retaining customers for SMEs in the retail industry in Hong Kong? How beneficial are social media marketing strategies for SMEs, and which are the most effective platforms or tools for SMEs in Hong Kong? Should SMEs embrace social media marketing in their operations in the wake of their development and expansion? 1.5 Rationale of the study The importance of small and medium enterprises cannot be taken for granted. SMEs play essential roles in the economy of any country. Within small communities, the importance of SMEs is rooted in purchasing and selling with neighbours and friends (Savlovschi & Robu, 2011). Within the rural settings and big cities, the importance of SMEs is witnessed in the economic benefits of local shopping. In some setups, small businesses are the only companies specialising in providing personalised or unique customer experiences (Biondi et al., 2002). Small and medium enterprises offer employment opportunities while at the same time serving as the building blocks of some of the largest corporations (Biondi et al., 2002). Fundamentally, SMEs play essential roles in developing the economies of nations. Their roles in employment generation, production, facilitation to equitable distribution of income, and contribution to exports are crucial (Savlovschi & Robu, 2011). As such, the growth and survival of SMEs require considerable attention. Currently, SMEs have become less competent and less effective in their operations due to increased competition from large companies enjoying economies of scale. Streamlining the processes of SMEs can go a long way in improving their effectiveness and performance. One of the ways SMEs can improve their efficiency and operations is by employing effective marketing strategies. This study is critical because it will help assess whether and how social media marketing can help SMEs improve their operational efficiencies in enhanced marketing. SMEs can adopt some of the social media marketing strategies that will be more effective in this study to market their products and services to attract and retain more customers. 1.6 Scope of the study This study will use secondary research only. As such, it will not involve primary research. Data in this study will be collected from secondary sources that include journals, corporate publications, books, and other essential peer-reviewed materials on research. In addition, the study will mainly focus on SMEs that are based in Hong Kong. Therefore, while other studies about the use of social media in businesses worldwide will be reviewed, the scope of the study will be narrowed to social media marketing in Hong Kong. 1.7 Structure of the study This study is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is the introduction. In this chapter, the researcher discusses the background that prompts this research, the aim that the study seeks to achieve, the objectives, and the importance of carrying out the research. The second chapter is a literature review. This chapter encompasses a review of existing research and evidence on the topic of study to determine what is already known and the gaps in knowledge on the research topic. The third chapter is the methodology. This chapter explains how data was collected in the study, such as carrying out secondary research, analysing data collected, and considerations observed in data collection, analysis, and presentation. The fourth chapter is the analysis, where the researcher presents an analysis of the case study. The fifth chapter is the discussion, where the findings from the case study are discussed alongside the reviewed literature findings to identify how the results confirm or differ. The sixth and final chapter is the conclusion, recommendations, and suggestions for further research. Chapter Two: Literature Review 2.1 Understanding traditional marketing and social media marketing 2.1.1 Traditional marketing According to Cant and Wiid (2016), traditional marketing refers to all marketing channels that emerged before online advertising. These channels could be separated into leads prospecting, general ads, and customer relationship. The most popular approaches within these channels include print adverts such as adverts on magazines and newspapers, broadcast adverts such as radio and television adverts, outdoor adverts, for example, using filters and billboards, door-to-door sales, brand activation, for example, using events and kiosks, direct mail, door-to-door sales, and telemarketing (Cant & Wiid, (2016). The most widely used traditional marketing options in Hong Kong are television (9.7%), print media (8.4%), event marketing (8%), outdoor marketing (5%), radio (2%), among others (Thomala, 2022). Traditional marketing concentrates on reaching a broad general audience to win numbers with the idea that the more people will see ads, the more a business will attract leads. Cant and Wiid (2016) find that the active method of promoting brands using traditional advertising is deficient. Enterprises have to present it to attract attention when most people are not interested in or open to purchasing what a business offers at that particular time. For instance, even though the public can see adverts on television, they may not be interested in what is being advertised at that specific time (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). For this reason, Dzisi & Ofosu (2014) maintain that traditional advertising effectively creates brand awareness but does not guide leads to conversion. It may demand increased efforts and additional resources tying in the entire marketing strategy in conventional marketing had to be redefined to conform to the growing digital technology and the changing consumer needs and behaviour that shaped the digital market (Appel et al., 2019). Most traditional marketing options like event marketing were less utilised after the pandemic, and strategies favouring growing digital marketing and technology like social media marketing were significantly embraced. With the advent of rapidly growing technology and the impact of COVID-19, traditional marketing faced unprecedented challenges, as posited by (Melović et al., 2020). Marketing strategies 2.1.2 Social media marketing Social media marketing entails more than only advertising through social media sites. Even though the concept started through online advertising, it has proliferated within the last two decades (Srinivasan et al., 2016). Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that utilises popular social media platforms to achieve marketing and branding goals (Appel et al., 2019). The core of social media marketing is simple; it is a strategy that utilises online platforms, tools, and channels in promoting services or products (Strauss & Frost, 2008). All communication, advertising, or engagement with target customers is done online. Social media marketing is part of digital marketing that includes other methods such as content marketing, email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), and inbound marketing (Salehi et al., 2012). Adding to the findings of Salehi et al. (2012), Srinivasan et al. (2016) reported that the new digital method of advertising focuses less on volume and more on efficiency; with a significant goal of producing ads and relevant content that is tailored towards people that are more inclined to purchase things from the business. Within this context, digital marketing values intelligence and automation. Social media marketing benefits from gathering data volumes that are impossible or difficult to collect or analyse using traditional marketing channels (Trusov et al., 2009), which translates to real-time tracking flexibility in adjusting campaigns fast among businesses. Thus, social media marketing is considered one of the best ways to embrace new channels, adapt to new demands, and identify new market opportunities (Salehi et al., 2012). Essentially, the focus on engagement and data in social media marketing makes it different from traditional marketing. According to the Hong Kong advertiser’s association (2020), social media marketing is one of the most widely used digital marketing strategies in Hong Kong, accounting for 11.3% of the marketing strategies, an increase in utilisation from 10.5% before the COVID-19 pandemic. Video-based advertisements were slightly more popular than social media marketing at 11.5% of the marketing share in Hong Kong. Sulaiman et al. (2020) reported an increase in SME digital advertisement utilisation, mainly social media marketing. Civelek et al. (2020) claim that social media advertising is a challenge among Hong Kong SMEs as they are in a revolutionary process of adopting changes in the business platform. As reported by the Hong Kong advertiser’s association (2020), the most widely used social media platforms in Hong Kong are Facebook, Whatsapp, and Youtube. 2.1.3 Importance of social media marketing and how social media marketing is changing marketing experience for SMEs There has been robust support and mobilisation of SMEs to embrace digital marketing (Ngai & Ng, 2013, p. 4) in the Hong Kong market. The advent has witnessed an increased utilisation of social media marketing among SME retail companies to promote their products, connect with new clients, and interact with them to determine their needs and preferences (Melović et al. (2020, p. 18). Social media marketing enables adequate business-consumer interaction to improve product quality and business brand. It allows market researchers to determine the best way to approach and grow the brand in any market platform. As noted by Civelek et al. (2020), social media marketing would significantly promote the growth of SMEs in the Hong Kong market. Additionally, SMEs would accrue a competitive advantage in growing faster due to robust social media marketing over large corporations. To support these claims, (Melović et al. (2020, p. 10) eluded that SMEs benefit from their agility in venturing into new markets if they embrace substantial social media marketing strategies. Cost-effectiveness is perhaps the most beneficial aspect SMEs would use to explore social media marketing. A study done by Appel et al. (2019) indicates that up to 90% of SMEs recommended the effectiveness and value of social media marketing in their businesses. The strategy lowered the financial risk of most SMEs by providing a cost-effective marketing strategy. Appel et al. (2019) support these assertions by opining that small businesses should implore social media marketing as the most effective yet cheapest marketing strategy. Contrary to this, Ahmed and Hussain (2018) claim that it is only a mix of social media marketing with other systems that make it cost-effective; otherwise, it is still costly to most small businesses due to the higher cost of management. For instance, Facebook is one of the cheapest yet most effective social media platforms many SMEs employ to market their brand. Little capital is required to venture into this platform. Yet, a company benefits big from a large customer base than using media like video advertisements, which are more costly and limited. One of the most underrated benefits of social media advertising is a brand development and building. Chen (2021) opines that many small firms have built their brands employing the power of social media marketing. Consumer behaviours and preferences would be easily swayed to the advantage of the business if the right social media marketing mix is employed (Ahmed & Hussain, 2018). Branding enables customers to know what to expect from a particular company and is critical in distinguishing it from other businesses (Chen, 2021). Social media provides a crucial platform that helps build a competent and strong brand that will stand out. Consumers’ needs and preferences allow refining particulars in the business to make the brand stand out from the competition. The resultant impact is increased customer loyalty, business recognition, and company image (Melović et al., 2020). Chen (2021) further posits that a more robust business brand in the social media platform attracts a strong network of fans, making the brand quickly assimilate new customers. Moreover, social media increases the exposure of a particular business brand, which ultimately increases the traffic to the business website, which translates to increased sales (Ioanid et al., 2018). In connection to this, Chen (2021 argues that a strong brand allows the business to acquire new business and marketing partners, reducing the overall marketing cost. 2.2 The effectiveness of social media marketing strategies 2.2.1 Reaching and attracting customers Grundey (2008) explains that the significant difference between traditional and social media marketing is understanding what a business needs to do to succeed. Marketing is a matter of reaching readers and attracting them towards a brand. Traditional marketing strategies put brands out there to instigate methods of quickly capturing audiences’ attention (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). As such, they require leaving a mark every time adverts are displayed. On the other hand, online marketing channels rely on connections and relationships, where they try to invite the public towards becoming part of the life of a brand (Grundey, 2008). Other than focusing on reaching customers only, social media marketing uses important content in laying paths that attract new leads (Strauss & Frost, 2008). The tracks are also essential in leading attracted authorities towards the brand. Many consumers have access to the digital platform in the current era of tremendous digital market growth. Ngai and Ng (2013) reiterate that the current era of revolutionary digital technology has enabled many consumers to go online in a sudden change in business market platforms. As stated by Statista, 87.5% of the population in Hong Kong are actively using social media platforms. A further 90% of the population has access to the internet and considers digital marketing over traditional marketing (Appel et al., 2019), causing a change in consumer behaviour and preferences to be more dynamic, quality-oriented, and explorative. The impact of this move is a consumer base that is not likely to maintain customer loyalty. Appel et al. (2019, p. 13) explained that the numerous upcoming digitally oriented markets offer a preference for them. Appel et al. (2019, p. 14) postulate that social media platforms provide a wealthy consumer base in the current market situation. Additionally, it gives an excellent interaction platform between SMEs and the consumers over product improvement and preferences. This makes social media a powerful tool for building customer loyalty and attracting new customers. Moreover, the adequate presence of social media users offers an excellent platform for building the business brand and expanding into new horizons. 2.2.2 Interaction opportunities Social media marketing offers a strong customer and brand interaction critical to any business venture. The rich presence of online users in Hong Kong ensures adequate social media interaction with customers. Consumers prefer using social media platforms to engage with their favourite brands due to ease of accessibility, availability, and cost-effectiveness. Engaging with consumers in the venues is also beneficial. Consumers gain confidence in the brand and can help in the marketing process by sharing their positive experiences, which is critical at building a new customer base (Ioanid et al., 2018). The impact of such interactions creates the brand name and helps the business grow considerably. On the contrary, negative reviews and poor consumer-to-business interaction result in poor outcomes for business ventures marketed on social media platforms. The users offer a very effective and efficient tool of influence over the market situation (Ioanid et al., 2018). The interaction opportunities with clients are a golden opportunity for SMEs to empower their growth and development. 2.2.3 Costs According to Loanid et al. (2018), even though some social media marketing platforms can be significantly cheap, others can cost almost the same as traditional marketing. However, one of the main reasons most businesses migrate to social media advertising is optimisation (Salehi et al., 2012). Social media marketing offers more data and methods of analysing it to companies, thus making brands focus their investments on social media channels that produce the best results (Strauss & Frost, 2008). Before online marketing, most marketing campaigns demanded huge investments in reach, but they had lower conversion and engagement rates (Strauss & Frost, 2008). Today, it is possible for businesses to be on campaigns with smaller budgets that enable them to connect with buyer personas, thus attracting significantly higher leads (Srinivasan et al., 2016). 2.2.4 Tracking of results Observing audiences’ reactions in real-time is one of the major factors that create a vast difference between traditional and social media marketing (Grundey, 2008). For instance, with an advert on the television or radio, it is difficult to determine precisely how many people watched or listened to it (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). This is the same with an advert on print media, e.g., in a magazine. It is challenging to determine the number of people who bought the magazine or read the advert even after buying the magazine. Moreover, it is impossible to tell what people did after watching an advert or how they perceived the brand or product (Strauss & Frost, 2008). Such impacts can take a significant amount of time and effort to measure in traditional advertising (Salehi et al., 2012). On the other hand, such data is the core of social media marketing. For instance, considering an avert on youtube, it is possible to ascertain the number of people who viewed the advert, the number of people who liked the brand or product, the number of dislikes. It comments about the product (Grundey, 2008). With well-structured campaigns, alongside effective key performance indicators, it is possible to test different approaches concurrently, monitor other channels, and understand the best media for the business (Salehi et al., 2012). 2.2 Challenges associated with social media marketing among SMEs Gliga & Evers (2010) found that despite the use of internet and internet marketing growing significantly over the years, it is evident that most small and medium enterprises continue using traditional tools of marketing. Another study conducted by Kumar et al. (2017) found that most SMEs believe that online marketing is complex and time-consuming. Consequently, this makes them reluctant to invest in social media marketing. Nonetheless, while some small and medium enterprises are working to adopt new digital marketing tools, others are confident that traditional marketing methods are working (Salehi et al., 2012). Therefore, SMEs do not need to explore new digital marketing tools. Research maintains that the marketing landscape changes with businesses moving more budgets from traditional marketing to social media marketing. Some experts have argued that the death of conventional marketing is inevitable (Kumar et al., 2017). On the other hand, other researchers say that traditional marketing plays an essential role in marketing even though social media marketing is increasing. The truth is that even though conventional marketing is not dead, it is clear that traditional marketing tends to be inferior compared to social media advertising (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). Research finds that the bitter truth is that even with the realisation that social media marketing provides numerous benefits to businesses, most small and medium enterprises hold onto traditional marketing methods as their primary marketing strategies (Todor, 2016). One of the main reasons SMEs are reluctant to adopt social media marketing is that they tend to consider and rely on the most tried marketing tactics they consider trustworthy and the most effective. Social media marketing offers lucrative opportunities for the growth of Small and medium businesses. However, SMEs often face numerous challenges in utilising any marketing strategy. According to Kumar et al. (2017)., SMEs often face challenges in social media marketing which stem from the size of the business, leadership structure, age, type, and geographical location. Civelek et al. (2020) further illustrate that up to 93% of small businesses have reported a challenge in social media marketing, and the most challenging websites registered were LinkedIn (32%), Instagram (19%), and TikTok (17%). At the same time, the most favourable were Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. In their study, Todor (2016) argues that to achieve success, SMEs must navigate various challenges like privacy issues, difficulty in measuring results of the strategy, reputational damage due to ineffective marketing, and lack of social media marketing experts to lead the team. Additionally, Civelek et al. (2020) argue that these problems SMEs face in social media marketing due to their inexperience and naivety in digital marketing lead to challenges in generating leads, gaining new followers, engagement with followers, and posts, consistency in content posting, and the creation of new content. Legal issues like privacy, intellectual property, and online security pose a significant challenge for most SMEs. Before they utilise the marketing strategy, SMEs need to understand better the laws and regulations on the online platform, as proposed by Civelek et al. (2020). Appel et al. (2019) further reiterate that online security and privacy matters are the most snowballing challenges SMEs face in the new digital platform embracing social media marketing. According to Chan and Guillet (2011), different social media platforms are guided by different regionally rules and regulations. Many SMEs are afraid of the financial risk of breaking such information technology laws and are therefore cautious about embracing social media marketing. Additionally, small businesses are scared of hidden costs in social media marketing, like security fees. As posited by Chan and Guillet (2011), many small SMEs’ security and operational risk of social media marketing remains high. Hence SMEs should be careful before adopting the strategy. They measured the effectiveness and results after social media marketing has become a hurdle to many small businesses (Sulaiman et al., 2020). There is no feasible tool used to gauge the strength of social media marketing among many companies that rely on social media to market their brands (Ioanid et al., 2018). Chan and Guillet (2011) further assert that no business entity would want to operate blindly without knowing the actual cost and time risks. Many small companies use it without measuring the impact of social media marketing on their brand value (Chen, 2021). This proves problematic for some SMEs to utilise social media marketing strategies. In relation, most SMEs fear reputational damage in case of poor brand image, online criticism, security, and privacy issues. Ahmed & Hussain (2018) posits that social media platforms play a huge role in shaping the reputation of any business, and in case of a negative attribute, the same platform that built it considerably accelerates its reputational damage. Ahmed and Hussain (2018) notes that the most prevalent cause of reputational damage among SMEs is ineffective operations, overuse of advertising, and poor interaction with social media customers and users. Appel et al. (2019) affirm that the impact of reputational damage entails damaged brand image and value reduced social media followers and leads, which significantly affect sales. The risks of reputational damage may outweigh the benefits of social media marketing (Ahmed & Hussain, 2018). In the era of the digital technology boom, very few experts in social media marketing would adequately guide SMEs in the full utilisation of social media platforms. Chan and Guillet (2011) claim that most of the available experts are at the service of well-established companies making small companies lack adequate expertise in social media marketing, which affects their uptake of the strategy. Todor (2016) states that experts in social media marketing and information technology aid in market approach, navigation, and survival strategies that positively impact the company’s performance. However, Chan and Guillet (2011) opine that most SMEs do not afford expert advice due to cost constraints, putting most SMEs at dire financial risk. Before utilising social media marketing services, SMEs should consider the various challenges that may impede the progress of the business. Ahmed and Hussain (2018) stated that the benefits of implementing a social media marketing strategy outweigh the risks, thereby recommending SMEs to embrace social media marketing in the wake of digital technology advancement to match market competition despite the discussed challenges. 2.4 Benefits of social media marketing to SMEs Keeping in mind the recent growth of social media marketing, especially in the United States, Todor (2016) finds that it will not take long before social media advertising takes over traditional advertising. Salehi et al. (2012) find that 60% of marketers in different industries already use social media marketing in their marketing efforts. Based on the growth and advancement in technology, there are some facts that SMEs need to understand to understand the benefits that they can accrue from employing social media marketing in their operations. SMEs need to understand that more than 80% of consumers conduct online research before deciding on the service or product to invest in (Scullin et al., 2004). In the United States, Todor (2016) found that 60% of adults use Facebook regularly. In addition, Xu et al. (2016) also maintain that 4% of B2B marketers actively use Linkedin to market their brands. It has been projected that mobile marketing will account for more than 70% of spending in social media advertising by 2019. Grundey (2008) maintains reports that B2C businesses admit that social media is the most effective tactic in content marketing. Various benefits have been put forward regarding social media marketing. As aforementioned, traditional marketing hinders direct engagement and interaction with customers. On the contrary, social media marketing offers higher levels of interaction and engagement (Xu et al.,2016). Social media marketing ensures that the target audience is connected instantly with the brand through different social media marketing channels (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). Businesses can quickly build long-lasting and better relationships with customers through direct interactions (Salehi et al., 2012). Companies perform better when they run in conjunction with the requirements of their customers (Cant & Wiid, 2016). Social media marketing enables companies to do this as they engage with customers to solve their problems without wasting time (Trusov et al., 2009). Additionally, the consumer and business interaction leads to consumer satisfaction, and the overall consumer experience with the business is desirable. Consumers ultimately gain trust in the industry and increase traffic to the business social media platform. Businesses can position themselves in the market environment through a brand identity and establishment (Chan & Guillet, 2011). Social media marketing makes it possible to access desired information regarding customers and prospects to assist the business in crucial marketing decision-making processes. (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). For instance, it is possible to determine the number of people leaving or visiting a business’s social media site or the percentage of visitors converting to customers (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). Market research is also critical in determining the types of goods to offer and how to approach consumers to build strong consumer trust (Chen, 2021). As noted by Chan and Guillet (2011), the good market insight noted through market research by monitoring the results after utilising the marketing strategy can be useful in expanding the scope of the business improving brand authority and loyalty. Moreover, increased brand awareness results in increased business outcomes, which are substantially beneficial to the business. Apart from tracking positive sales and brand development, enterprises require a monitoring strategy to scan for any problem consumers might be facing and respond swiftly to avoid any reputation damage (Chen, 2021). Social media monitoring in this business marketing model is critical in elucidating the business’s level of support to its consumers. For instance, in 2020, 59% of social media marketing channels consumers reached out to companies on social media because of the excellent satisfaction they had with the business (Civelek et al., 2020). Forty-seven per cent reached out because they had a question or a clarification regarding the company. At the same time, 40% were reported to have reached out because of bad experiences like inadequate support and lack of consumer-business interaction. The objective of SMEs is to grow significantly and expand to global reach (Xu et al.,2016). SMEs need to start as early as possible to employ strategies to help their businesses become renowned in their countries and even abroad. A firm can create highly customised campaigns through social media marketing, thus widening its reach to different countries or cities (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). One of the most incredible benefits of social media marketing is that this marketing method is more effective and less expensive in terms of spending money on marketing. Returns on investment help decide whether marketing campaigns are successful or not (Todor, 2016). It is not surprising that social media marketing fetches a better return on investment because it is cheaper compared to traditional marketing methods in different ways. Social media marketing helps businesses in gaining more while spending less. As observed, numerous facts and data prove that social media marketing is the way to advertise for companies. Since small and medium enterprises lack enough resources to engage in more robust marketing strategies that are costly, Scullin et al. (2004) opine that there is minimal risk and great rewards linked to social media marketing. Even though most of the studies do not concentrate on social media marketing in SMEs but rather on the general business arena, the observed impacts of social media marketing are highly applicable to SMEs. However, it is vital to conduct research specifically among small and medium enterprises in Hong Kong to determine the specific impacts of social media marketing in SMEs. With social media marketing, SMEs must open free business websites and start marketing the brand. The cost of running such a platform is minimal concerning other marketing tactics, making this model very efficient (Chen, 2021). Civelek et al. (2020) state that in case of any paid promotions, little funding is spent, which cannot offer a financial risk to the business. The effectiveness of social media marketing has been proved to reap more benefits in combination with other tactics like video advertisements (Ahmed & Hussain, 2018). For instance, a business can make promotional videos about its products and post them on all its social media platforms to supplement other forms of marketing like graphics, text, and pictures, which offers more benefits to the business as it combines two marketing strategies in one as proposed by (Chen, 2021). SMEs are highly recommended to embrace social media marketing due to its role in their expansion and its benefits despite the risks involved in marketing in the digital platform. 2.5 Conceptual Framework Challenges SMEs face in social media marketing integration. Effectiveness of social media in attracting and maintaining new customers Adoption of social media marketing by SMEs Influence of social media on marketing experience Benefits of social media marketing Chapter Three: Methodology 3.1 Research design A secondary research design was employed during data collection. This will involve a review of secondary literature and case studies to come up with a conclusion regarding the research topic. Secondary research refers to a method of analysis where the researcher depends on existing research materials instead of gathering primary data for research. This approach is less expensive in this study because the researcher did not have to travel far and wide searching for data, e.g., arranging and conducting interviews (Cowton, 1998). In most cases, data from secondary research is accessible from archives, the internet, organisational reports, libraries, educational institutions, books, seminar papers, and other relevant literature sources. Even though secondary research was employed in this study, extra caution was maintained by the researcher to see to it that only valid data was collected to avoid negative impacts on the process of research and in the outcomes. There are several reasons why secondary research is advantageous compared to primary data, and these advantages were of much essence in this study. Unlike primary research, which can be time-consuming and expensive when collecting preliminary data, secondary research helped the researcher complete the investigation within the period required and with limited resources (Lefever et al., 2007). Consequently, expenses that could have been incurred when gathering first-hand information, for instance, travel expenses, were eliminated, thus making the study financially viable. The secondary data collection also helped prevent the repetition of knowledge by mapping out existing research efforts (Lefever et al., 2007). This allowed the researcher to explore new areas of expertise rather than concentrating on existing knowledge. 3.2 Research approach The research approach that was adopted in this study was qualitative. The adoption of the qualitative research approach was based on the fact that the study did not seek to find or identify the relationship between variables. Still, it sought to assess a concept’s effectiveness (social media marketing). As such, this study required assessing real-life scenarios where social media marketing has been employed in a business and the impacts it has had on that business or business. Qualitative research is essential and effective because it is easily understandable, and all researchers, including inexperienced researchers, can interpret it (Remenyi & Williams, 1996). The qualitative design will provide a detailed description of the subject matter and an in-depth analysis of the cause-effect relationship (Remenyi & Williams, 1996). Additionally, this approach will enable a broader approach to the subject matter and allows for detail-oriented data to be collected for s firm conclusion. This approach’s cost-efficacy and timeliness make it more desirable for the project. 3.3 Sample size and justification The project involved a review of 30 secondary literature sources and case studies published in the last seven years in peer-reviewed journals. The sample size was arrived at because Hennink et al. (2019) recommend that for studies utilising a review of secondary sources, 20 to 30 or more articles would be employed to gain adequacy into the topic of discussion. However, Zhang et al. (2021) refuted that larger sample size in such studies would result in information repletion and is not recommended to be utilised. Peer-reviewed literature sources were preferred because they provide an expert opinion on the subject, therefore, present credible information (Hennink et al., 2019). The publication period of sources was restricted to less than seven years to provide current, up-to-date information regarding social media marketing and SMEs, as the most recent news is desirable. Pearson correlation will be determined to assess the sample size’s significance and evaluate if the chosen sample size is adequate to infer based on the results. The Pearson correlation is a multiple regression test to determine if the articles in the sample size are correlated and a value ranging from -1 and +1 being the average values. 3.4 Sample selection method and justification When identifying articles for review, Hiebl (2021, pp. 3 – 4) proposed three steps select the sample articles and case studies used. The first step involves an exhaustive search on PubMed, where key search terms regarding the research topic will be utilised. In this case, the search term is “Impact of social media marketing among SMEs in Hong Kong.” This step identifies relevant articles which are related to the searched topic. The second step postulated by Hiebl (2021, pp. 3 – 4) involves screening the identified articles with the more targeted search for specific words in the texts, abstract, and headline to determine the most suitable sources to utilise during the study. In this stage, an inclusion criterion is set, for instance, in terms of quality of the article, years of publication, impact factor of the journal where it is published, and what the article addresses. The final step involved the presentation of the last 30 articles that were utilised. The inclusion criteria in the second step significantly narrowed down the articles used. This step seeks to determine the final sources by assessing their quality and relevance to the topic. The purpose of conducting the above steps is to end up with quality sources relevant to the topic to avoid falling out of context. Such a selection process also ensures the most relevant and up-to-date information is obtained instead of conducting the project haphazardly. 3.5 Data collection methods The method of data collection used is a systematic critical literature review to obtain patterns regarding the importance of social media marketing among SMEs in the identified sources. This involves reading the articles several times for in-depth understanding and critically analysing them to obtain patterns used in data analysis. The designs were noted in coloured texts, and similar patterns in different papers were presented in the exact colour text. 3.6 Data analysis methods Data analysis in this study was carried out using thematic content analysis. Thematic analysis is a popular method used in analysing qualitative data, and it is usually applied in numerous ways to address different research questions (Gavin, 2008). The patterns obtained from data collection were further analysed using thematic analysis to get broad themes that prevailed in the respective sources. Several broad themes are received, and prevailing themes from the general themes are obtained. The overall specific themes will form the basis of the variables to be expressed in the final study. The pieces include the base of the research conclusion and recommendation. To further synthesise the evidence acquired from the literature review of the selected articles, quantitative methods would be used for analysis and data presentation to make the work easy to dissipate and interpret. Tables and graphical representation would be utilised to express the dominant themes and ensure the interpretation of the evidence is less complicated. 3.6 Ethical considerations Secondary research does not involve a lot of ethical issues, as is the case in primary research that involves human subjects. This study did not have many ethical considerations that the researcher was required to observe. The primary moral concern that the researcher observed in this study was respect to property rights (Kara & Pickering, 2017). Secondary research in this study involved using information, data, and findings that other researchers adopted. It was essential to avoid these findings as to the researcher’s conclusions. The researcher ensured that he acknowledged different authors and researchers when using their findings to achieve this. This was done by using in-text citations in the body of the text and recognising the works of other researchers within a reference list at the end of the study (Kara & Pickering, 2017). To avoid duplicate content and plagiarism, the selected articles were paraphrased adequately. Additionally, ethical considerations would have involved reaching out to authors whose papers are protected by copyright licenses to seek permission to use their documents for the review. Still, none of the articles employed had such claims. Chapter Four: Discussion From reviewed literature, it is evident that social media marketing is changing the marketing experiences for SMEs, especially where it is helping to address the challenges faced by SMEs when using traditional marketing methods. Social media marketing is the game-changer in the development of SMEs as it has proved to be affordable, easily accessible, and widely acceptable. Additionally, the model is prone to fewer challenges than other marketing strategies. Multiple studies provide adequate evidence which suggests that SMEs benefit considerably from employing social media marketing. SMEs in Hong Kong would use such evidence as guidance to practice social media marketing for optimum market benefits. As stated by (Ahmed & Hussain, 2018), social media marketing is changing the marketing experience for many small business ventures, and it is acting to prevent such businesses from becoming obsolete and uncompetitive due to drastic changes in the market environment courtesy of the tremendously growing technology and the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In Hong Kong, SMEs enjoy a competitive advantage thanks to adequate support from the government, which has influenced their substantial growth and development (Chan & Guillet, 2011). These ventures would further boost their growth and expansion by employing social media marketing. Deposit al. (2019) posits that unforeseen benefits would overpower SMEs’ challenges when implementing social media marketing. Reviewed literature found that while traditional marketing is still efficient in promoting business, it is associated with significant drawbacks, especially in small and medium enterprises that lack enough capital and resources for carrying out traditional marketing initiatives. One of the most prominent and most important limitations is little or no interaction (Salehi et al., 2012). The mediums used in traditional marketing have little or no room for interactions with customers. For example, television or radio adverts offer no room for customers to ask for clarifications or other questions about the products or services. On the other hand, social media marketing brands can communicate with customers on Twitter or Facebook on a full-day basis. On the other hand, traditional marketing is a one-way street where businesses provide information about their products or services to the target audience (Todor, 2016). This form of advertising aims to attract attention from the target population and possibly convert them into customers (Grundey, 2008), giving lieu for SMEs in Hong Kong to embrace social media marketing over the traditional marketing strategies, which most are getting used to. Traditional marketing over social media marketing lacks control over timing. Traditional marketing relies on promotion methods, which are difficult to update (Salehi et al., 2012). For instance, if the advert is in a magazine, it is impossible to edit it, and the entrepreneur will have to place a new advertisement to replace the previous one, as found by Grundey (2008). Small and medium enterprises may not have the funds to place new adverts from time to time. The solution seems to lie in social media marketing, where SMEs in Hong Kong only need to edit or add content to the previous adverts in the event of a need for change. Lack of control over timing links to another limitation of traditional marketing: high costs. The difficulty to edit adverts leading to the need to create new ones translates to recurring expenses. Recurring fees in traditional marketing have proved to be an investment with an unknown return. It could have good or no returns. However, with social media marketing, SMEs in Hong Kong can market or edit marketing content at zero costs. This helps SMEs in the retail industry save on the costs they could have incurred in marketing using traditional marketing methods. Reviewed literature finds that adverts on television or popular newspapers are costly. They can only be effective when they are seen by target audiences when they are published (Scullin et al., 2004). The chances that potential customers view the advert are limited compared to adverts on social media, where customers can view them at their pleasure. With traditional marketing, when an advert passes audiences, the business can only create and publish a new advert to attempt and reach a broader target audience (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). The advert could also be run for several days on the television, but this can attract exceedingly high costs. Not many SMEs can incur such charges. On the other hand, when using online adverts, businesses can reach out to the correct type of customers, but it is also possible to show them offers that are tailored towards them (Srinivasan et al., 2016). According to the study, traditional marketing has effectively attracted people based on exceptional sales or discounted prices. However, when offering customised, unique pricing options, SMEs could face challenges when using traditional marketing (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). When analysing the opportunities that entrepreneurs are offered in conventional marketing, e.g., in television adverts or print adverts, they may not find the spaces they need to display all their pricing options, as illustrated by Scullin et al. (2004). It can be challenging to measure the impacts of marketing campaigns when using traditional marketing methods. During the execution, it is essential to realise the level of the traditional marketing strategy to ensure that SMEs do not invest in the wrong direction (Trusov et al., 2009). Regrettably, the results that an entrepreneur gets from traditional marketing are not efficiently and quickly measured, as Xu et al. (2016). Nevertheless, when launching online marketing campaigns, SMEs can effortlessly identify where they go wrong and whether the campaign is successful or not. This makes social media marketing significantly better compared to traditional marketing. From the findings of the reviewed literature, there are numerous benefits that SMEs in the retail industry in Hong Kong can accrue from using social media marketing in their marketing initiatives. Reviewed literature finds that based on the growth and advancement in technology, there are some facts that SMEs need to understand to understand the benefits that they can accrue from employing social media marketing in their operations. SMEs need to understand that more than 80% of buyers/shoppers conduct online research before deciding the service or product to invest in (Scullin et al., 2004), for instance, in the United States where Todor (2016) found that 60% of adults use Facebook regularly. Various benefits have been put forward regarding social media marketing. As aforementioned, traditional marketing hinders direct engagement and interaction with customers. On the contrary, social media marketing offers higher levels of interaction and engagement (Xu et al.,2016). In addition, conforming to the findings from reviewed literature, social media marketing ensures that the target audience is connected instantly with the brand through different social media marketing channels (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). Businesses can quickly build long-lasting and better relationships with customers through direct interactions with customers (Salehi et al., 2012), e.g., responding to customers’ comments on Facebook. Companies perform better when they run in conjunction with the requirements of their customers (Cant & Wiid, 2016). Social media marketing enables companies to do this as they engage with customers to solve their problems without wasting time (Trusov et al., 2009). The study suggests that, unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing helps businesses measure results (Todor, 2016). Social media allows SMEs to play clear-sighted marketing games instead of blind ones. Through social media marketing, it is possible to access adequate information regarding customers and prospects to assist the business in understanding where it is going wrong (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). For instance, SMEs in Hong Kong can determine the number of people leaving or visiting a business’s social media site or the percentage of visitors converting to customers (Dzisi & Ofosu, 2014). Further evidence from the study suggests that social media marketing would help SMEs in the retail industry create highly customised campaigns, thus widening their reach to different countries or cities (Taiminen & Karjaluoto, 2015). One of the most significant benefits of social media marketing in such a situation is that this marketing method is more effective and less expensive. It is not surprising that social media marketing fetches a better return on investment because it is cheaper than traditional marketing methods in different ways. Since most small and medium enterprises lack enough resources to engage in cost-effective traditional marketing, Scullin et al. (2004) show minimal risk and great rewards linked to the social media market. Chapter Five: Conclusion, Recommendations, and suggestions for further research 6.1 Conclusion The study shows that social media marketing presents a new, viable marketing strategy that surpasses the benefits of traditional marketing. For instance, social media marketing brands can communicate with customers, for example, on Twitter or Facebook, on a full-day basis. Social media marketing can have unrivalled significance on SMEs. The Hong Kong SMEs have been provided with best practice benchmarks in terms of the evidence from this study to embrace social media marketing. The strategy has proved more beneficial in cost effectivity, timeliness, accessibility, and applicability. SMEs in Hong Kong would significantly benefit from such opportunities and gain considerable growth and development. In this market environment shift, Hong Kong SMEs should embrace social media to remain competitive and relevant, as this strategy significantly changes its market experience. Since the system is crucial at attracting more sales and SME’s productivity and performance, highly effective and accessible social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ should be employed for marketing. 6.2 Recommendations Since social media marketing is significantly essential to small businesses, SMEs in Hong Kong are highly encouraged to embrace this marketing modality in the digital world. The utilisation of social media marketing will promote their growth and productivity. Additionally, in this era of technological advancement and shift to digital marketing, social media marketing can aid SMEs in Hong Kong shift entirely to digital marketing by providing brand development, among other benefits. It is also highly recommended that SMEs conduct more market data research to determine the best social media platform that suits their function and ensure they interact adequately with clients for optimal results. 6.3 Suggestions for further research Since this study was based on secondary research, future studies need to be conducted through primary research, where primary data is collected from SMEs in the retail industry. This will help get an accurate picture of the importance of social media marketing among SMEs in the retail sector because entrepreneurs will obtain first-hand data. Furthermore, more studies should be conducted on the follow-up to the significance of social media marketing on SMEs after a pandemic period. Chapter Six: Reflections on developing personal competence There are many things and teachings that I have learned from undertaking this study, especially about marketing. I have learned that all forms of marketing methods are essential in their aspects. For instance, traditional marketing is necessary because it helps connect first-time buyers to businesses. However, conventional marketing methods are costly, and only large organisations can use them. Small and medium enterprises that face capital limitations may not afford to use traditional marketing methods such as television advertising. However, all is not lost for SMEs because social media marketing has proved to be a viable solution for them. Social media marketing involves no or low costs, and SMEs do not require third parties to market their products and brands. I have, however, learned that there are various social media marketing platforms that SMEs can use, and these platforms can have different impacts on businesses. 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MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL The attached Module Guide carefully and based on it to develop my Dissertation which I wrote 12000 words with 31/100. Also, please follow its guida
Dear Oscar, It looks better. To speed up your progress, I would suggest: 1.) please do pay special attention to read p.14-17 the Module Guide (MG) and follow its guidance to revise your report accordingly as all markers will be based on that for marking. 2.) follow the following steps and read the respected chapters on suggested textbook mentioned below so that you can group your work in a systematic manner for submission. (Step) Text book chapter = for your report chapter -> the flow to move on Chapter2, 3 = Literature Review includes research objectives and research questions -> read MG -> revise your the Literature Review chapter and refine your research objectives and research questions based on your understanding of those read articles/textbooks earlier Chapter 5, 7, 10 & 11 = Methodology -> read MG -> revise your the Methodology chapter on your report based on your understanding of those chapters (cover all topic mentioned on the MG and pick relevant concepts fits your report) Revise the Primary research questions you had -> collect data from primary research Chapter 12 & 13=Discussion of Findings -> cover the scope mentioned on the MG -> present the collected data based on your understanding on the suggested textbook below. arrange a supervision meeting with me once you finished the above The suggested textbook: Research Methods for Business Students Ebook by Mark Saunders, , Philip Lewis, , and Adrian Thornhill https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sunderland/reader.action?docID=5774742 Let me know if you have any queries we can then arrange a supervision meeting for that.
MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL MASTER LEVEL The attached Module Guide carefully and based on it to develop my Dissertation which I wrote 12000 words with 31/100. Also, please follow its guida
Sunderland Business School Master of Business Administration PGBM161 MBA Project Academic Year 2020 /21 (October 2020 cohort) Module Leader Dr. John Dixon-Dawson St. Peters Campus, Reg Vardy Building, Room 103A Tel: – 0191 515 3128 Email: – [email protected] Welcome to the Module Dear Student, Welcome to PGBM161 – MBA Project. I hope that you will find this guide useful and that it answers many of the questions that may be in your mind. This module acts as a capstone for your programme of study and enables you to critically examine a suitable topic of your choice by completing a research project into an organisation or industry sector with which you are familiar. Before you begin your project, you will complete a series of critical skills/ personal competence and research methods workshops, all designed to help you to succeed with your research project. There are further details of these workshops later in this guide. I hope you enjoy the module and take every opportunity to engage with the materials and activities on offer. It is important that you read both widely and deeply to develop your own personal competences as well as your research knowledge, skills and experience. Good luck. John Teaching and Supervision Staff Module Leader: Dr. John Dixon-Dawson Email: [email protected] Office: Reg Vardy Building Room 103A Research Methods and Personal Competence Workshops: Ms. Iris Ren Email: [email protected] Project Supervisors: Your Supervisor will support you through the project phase of your studies. The scheduled dates for meeting your Tutor should be mutually agreed between yourself and your Tutor. It is your responsibility to make and maintain contact with your Tutor. The Supervisor is there to support you not to do the work for you. Make use of their expertise in the subject area. They are a very experienced team and will support you in your studies. Your Module TITLE: MBA Project CODE: PGBM161 CREDITS: 60 LEVEL: 7/MASTERS FACULTY: BUSINESS, LAW AND TOURISM MODULE BOARD: MARKETING, MANAGEMENT AND STRATEGY PRE-REQUISITES: NONE CO-REQUISITES: NONE LEARNING HOURS: 600 hours, the exact nature of which is specified in the module guide LEARNING OUTCOMES Upon successful completion of this module, students will have demonstrated; Knowledge K1. An understanding of specific substantive problems or issues within an organisation or business sector placing them into a strategic context within the research investigation. K2. A critical understanding of valid research questions via a review of the academic literature; a critical review of the activities and operations of the organisation/sector and the environment in which it operates. K3. A clear understanding of different research methodologies and their limitations and be able to critically explain when one might be more appropriate than another in the context of the chosen research topic. K4. That the project findings have been logically derived and that the conclusions/solutions and recommendations are fully supported by the evidence presented. K5. That the recommendations for strategic change in the organisation/business sector investigated are capable of implementation K6. How the personal and organisational learning that has taken place has affected the development of your skills and competences during the completion of your programme of study. Skills S1. The necessary skills to design and undertake appropriate qualitative and / or quantitative research as necessary to analyse your chosen organisation/business problem or task. S2. How to interpret record and analyse data relating to the research topic. CONTENT SYNOPSIS Final Project Utilising an applied business research approach, students will choose the format of the final project: Business Dissertation Applied Corporate Project Route Specialism – Applied Corporate Project or Business Dissertation The chosen project will include: A clear abstract. A clear account of the organisation/business sector being investigated. A review of relevant academic literature and derivation of valid research questions both from the literature and the organisation/business sector issues. A review of the methodological issues concerning the research question including critical evaluation of alternative research methodologies and their limitations. A review of the research method adopted and data collection techniques including interviews, observations, and participant observation and their implications and limitations. Interpretation and analysis of qualitative, and if appropriate quantitative data, using appropriate statistical and computational techniques. A clear presentation of empirical findings and implications for the activities and operation of the organisation/business sector. The workshops will reflect and develop the lecture content to enable a dissertation/project proposal to be developed during the initial phase of the module and working with the academic supervisor, the student will identify the key issues to be analysed within the main body of the dissertation or project. The proposal is a purely formative element to enable the student to begin the investigation phase. The supervision process will involve a series of one-to-one meetings during which the academic supervisor will: Aid the student with the strategic context in which the project is being set as well as determining the scope of the literature review to be undertaken by the student. Help the student to clarify the research methodologies that will be used by the student in gathering data/ intelligence for the project. Discuss with the student the findings arising in the project and help the student to reflect upon the conclusions and recommendations of the project. Review with the student any final issues before submission. Developing Leading and Management Competence Part of the formal teaching will include the delivery of practice-based workshops covering critical skills, research practice skills and employability, this will support the self-reflection element of the assessment to enable the student to demonstrate personal development and mastery of postgraduate skills. The reflection will encompass an evidence-based approach to experiential learning opportunities embedded or available to students during the course of the programme. These can take the form of a study visit; company visits, guest speakers; interaction with professional bodies the MBA challenge events. The overarching style will be critical self-reflection on the part of the student examining their personal development. This element will also show evidence of reflection on the personal and organisational learning as a result of undertaking the project and how that learning relates to the programme as a whole. TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODS: Scheduled activities Independent study Placement Total hours Hours Detail Hours Detail Hours Detail 20 Research Methods Workshops 20 Developing Leading and Management Competence Workshops 551 Directed study 591 Supervision 9 Total 600 ASSESSMENT METHODS Required For KIS return to HESA Seq. Element % of module assessment weighting Summary Pass Mark LO Written exam – central timetable (% of the element) Written exam – local timetable (% of the element) Coursework (% of the element) Practical (% of the element) Type Type Type Type 001 Project/Dissertation 100% All 100 All 100 Assessment Each Project is assessed internally by two members of staff. A sample of work is also sent to the Programme External Examiner. Students will be required to submit one written report of approximately 12000 words (this is for guidance only). The main project will contain a literature review, methodology, data analysis and recommendations. The issue of how recommendations for change could be implemented given the studies undertaken and will be based on prior experience of the organisation or business sector which has been investigated. Within the recommendations an outline plan detailing the timescales, management interventions and resources that would need to be available to implement the recommendations will be included. Note: As part of the development of the dissertation/project, the student will be required to complete a research proposal which the academic supervisor will confirm as appropriate and provide feedback to enable the student to continue with the project. This element will be formative to support the student in preparation for the main phase of the research. The critical self-reflection element of the final report, supported by evidence, will take the form of a critical reflection upon the development of skills and competences derived from the experience of undertaking the programme of study, the added value activities and the final project. This element of the assessment will be approximately 2,000 words (for guidance only). My Module Resources List Link https://moduleresources.sunderland.ac.uk/#/list/16695 Relevant journals will be consulted by the students depending upon the area of study and chosen topic. The module will draw upon a range of printed and electronic sources suitable to reflect on the contemporary issues of the subject material. Some texts are regarded as key to understanding the development of the subject and may not therefore be the current edition of a particular text but the reading list will be reviewed annually to ensure its relevance and appropriateness. PROGRAMMES USING THIS MODULE AS CORE/OPTION: MBA (Core) MBA (Finance) (Core) MBA (Marketing) (Core) MBA (HR Management) (Core) MBA (Supply Chain Management) (Core) MBA (Enterprise and Innovation) (Core) MBA (Hospitality Management) (Core) MBA (Cybersecurity) (Core) MBA Final Stage (Core) Is the programme delivered On Campus or off campus: On and off campus College(s) Various Approved Colleges Work based learning: Yes Professional Accreditation: Yes MODULE LEADER Dr. John Dixon-Dawson, Reg Vardy Building, Room 103a, Tel: (0191) 515 3128 Email: [email protected] LEAD DELIVERER John Dixon-Dawson JACS CODE: N100 Schedule of Learning The module consists of two elements: Semester 1: Developing, Leading and Management Competence sessions Semester 2: Research Methods. You are expected to not only engage with the full range of learning materials and attend the workshop sessions, but also undertake additional reading and independent study to widen your knowledge and understanding of the course material. You will be expected to demonstrate this in your final project. Developing and leading management competence Week 1 (wc 26th Oct.): Welcome and introduction to the module Week 2 (wc 2nd Nov.): Global mindsets and skills Week 3 (wc 9th Nov.): Discussing the concept of global mindsets Week 4 (wc 16th Nov.): Professional Identity Week 5 (wc 23rd Nov.): Presenting our professional selves: An alternative CV Week 6 (wc 30th Nov.): Exploring professional identity in a business environment Week 7 (wc 7th Dec.): Reflecting on your experience and evidencing knowledge, skills, and experience. Week 8 (wc 4th Jan.): Identifying your professional self Week 9 (wc 11th Jan.): Pitching your professional self Week 10 (wc 18th Jan.): Researching possible links between your professional practice and your project topic and looking ahead to semester 2. Research Methods The Semester 2 workshops will focus on the various elements of research methods. There will be 10×2 hour workshops to provide you with a sound understanding of the importance of the research process and its significance for the development of an effective project. The topics to be covered will consider the following although the exact allocation of time on a topic will be determined in the workshop outlines. Introduction to Business Research Introducing you to the importance of business research in a changing business environment and helping you to identify the fundamentals of a valid research proposal. Literature Review and Identification of Research Objectives Helping you to understand the importance of a robust and critical literature review in shaping your knowledge and approach towards identifying and addressing research questions. Qualitative Research Methods Helping you to identify and evaluate the different stages involved within a qualitative research process i.e., project planning, sampling, data collection, data analysis etc. You should also be able to identify different qualitative research tools [projective techniques, brand mapping, word association etc.] available to a researcher to optimise research outcomes. Quantitative Research Methods Helping you to identify and evaluate the different stages involved within a quantitative research process i.e., determining sample size, sampling and non-sampling error, data collection, data analysis etc. Aiding you also to identify different statistical methods [studies involving means, studies involving proportions] available to a researcher to optimise research outcomes. Analysing Data and Writing Recommendations Helping you to consider the various ways of analysing primary and secondary empirical data that you collect as part of your research and analyse it by linking it with existing literature. Helping you to understand how recommendations for your dissertation can be derived from your analysis and findings. Throughout the taught element of the module, it is expected that all students will prepare and actively participate in the module. You are expected to attend all module workshops and engage with the weekly Canvas activities. Assessment You are required to submit (via Canvas) one written research project of approximately 12,000 words (for guidance only). The project will be a critical review of a topic of your choice (subject to the agreement of your Supervisor). Part of the report will be a critical self-reflection on the development of your skills and competences during your studies, the added value activities, and the final research project. It is essential that you fully engage with all aspects of the module and build an evidence base which you can draw upon when writing your project. The submission date of the research project is September 2021 (date TBC). You are required to submit your work through the module Canvas site. You must submit your report through the Turnitin process and include a copy of the Turnitin report with your submission. Your project should include a cover page detailing your full name (not informal names adopted in English), your course, student number, the project title and module number. Work should be presented in word processed form using Ariel font size 12 and 1.5 line spacing. The last submission of the assignment prior to the submission date will be deemed to be the final submission for assessment purposes. All work submitted must adhere to the University Policy on ‘Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism’. Research Proposal A research proposal which will outline the approach you are going to take in your research. Although the proposal is not an element of summative assessment by developing a proposal to discuss with your Supervisor you will be able to focus your thinking and obtain feedback on the approach you are considering. Students should complete their work in the format of the template attached and should ensure that this is completed in conjunction with the early meetings with the designated supervisory Tutor who will be asked to sign off before submission. If for any reason your dissertation/project proposal must change during the course of the subsequent research period, then this proposal must be updated and agreed with your supervisor to reflect new objectives and new subject and strategic interventions. The proposal and feedback sheet should be submitted with the final submission to ensure that we can assess the new intentions of the dissertation appropriately. The aim of the proposal is to ensure that you become clear at an early stage of the boundaries of your study such that you can work as effectively and efficiently as possible. The selection and focus of the dissertation can be one of the most difficult early decisions you make but it is important that you make this as soon as possible. It will allow you to focus on the literature and direct it toward the research objectives effectively. Your reading and research will be more precise and targeted. It will also allow you to think clearly about the desired and valuable business performance outcomes that can be derived from the dissertation. The philosophy of a MBA is to develop leaders who are able to propose improvement and change that can have a significant impact on an organisation or a business sector e.g. banking, manufacturing etc. The research proposal will review your ability to achieve the following: To identify a suitable strategic project for an organisation or sector and select a project that could if designed and implemented well be of strategic importance (not just operational) with a significant impact on results. For example, in reducing costs opening up new markets, introducing a new product or service, enhancing skills capability and knowledge, improving quality and or service, redesigning internal business operations etc. This is not an exhaustive list. To define and locate the main academic ideas, theories and business practices evolving from these ideas in a critical literature review. This should cover the main subject area (e.g. service quality) and thereafter briefly review the main ideas: the main ideas and business practices and key areas of possible contention where there are alternative issues either in the nature of the idea or methods of implementation etc. This review should aim to locate some of the primary sources / authors you believe it necessary to review. This will not at this stage be exhaustive as your study is at an early stage in its development. From this you will be required to specify the objectives of the dissertation as clearly as possible. These should be presented as outcomes to be achieved for the dissertation in terms of what business improvement or change the dissertation seeks to implement. The reason and rationale in terms of the sector/ organisation need to be covered under 1 above. You should avoid hypotheses and statements that reflect ‘what’ you are going to do in terms of say investigation or information review. These are not objectives. Finally, you will be asked to identify some appropriate ways that you could investigate: The subject you have selected to ensure that the objectives are met and that information is collected from both primary and secondary sources to ensure that the study can be completed in appropriate depth to achieve masters learning outcomes. These methods should aim to reflect the real methods that can be introduced rather than the theory. Any limitations to data collection can be stated but the methods should reflect the realities of such things as sample size and availability, validity of the methods against the objectives, reliability of data and a blend of primary and secondary sources. As with point 2 above at this stage this aspect will not be complete and you can update and comment in more depth in the final submission of the full project. Project Structure (for guidance) The format of your project may well vary dependent on the topic of your research and discussions with your Supervisor will be extremely helpful in this aspect of the decision-making process. It is likely that your report will be made up of several key sections. Executive summary Statement of originality and authenticity (see section 13 of this handbook) Title page Contents Lists of figures and tables Chapter 1: Introduction and context of the study Chapter 2: Literature review Chapter 3: Methodology Chapter 4: Presentation of research findings Chapter 5: Discussion of findings Chapter 6: Conclusion and recommendations Chapter 7: Reflections on developing your personal competence Reference list Appendix (to include evidence to support reflections) For further guidance; There should be an Executive Summary (approximately 200 words) at the beginning which should review what has been covered and the main outcome proposed. Chapter 1, Introduction, and context of the study. This should cover a strategic overview developing and enhancing the first section of the proposal covering the rationale for the project and its importance to an organisation or business sector. This may be expressed in terms of sustaining competitive position or improving that position. This section might usefully consider the subject from the threats, opportunities, and business contextual factors. It should avoid too broad a scope. This might discuss improvement to internal business processes: customer care, service quality, improvement in skills and or organisation of resources etc. It might include better service delivery, marketing strategies or identification of new markets and or products or services to the external business environment. These are illustrative only. (Approximately 500 words) Chapter 2, Literature Review The work will include a robust and critical literature review. The main purpose is to establish the important areas of research and enquiry such that the project objectives can be achieved. It serves an important purpose in expanding the body of knowledge that we have with which to understand current performance and as a secondary base to build better informed practices for the future. It should review both the academic literature and the empirical practices that organisations operate. Your ability to shape the ideas and practices is one of the key skills. It is not just a question of presenting other authors ideas without comment. The better marks are to be achieved whereby you identify areas of difference and consensus and from these works draw a strong conclusion as to what is important in managing the particular area under review. The outcome is likely to have not much more than 4-6 key ideas and principles in the conclusions and will be framed around the question ‘what makes this a successful strategic business practice- and how can it be managed effectively in practice’. These will be the areas you will further examine in your research. This needs to be written in logical and coherent chapters that flow together. It should be clear as to what is being covered and it should avoid extending into too many areas otherwise critical depth is lost. The number of primary sources will vary. We expect a good range of relevant and contemporary sources but the treatment of them is more important than shear number. (Approximately 2000 words). Chapter 3 Methodology The project must include a critical review of both primary and secondary research methods that are possible but more importantly those deployed in the project from the perspective of such things as selecting valid and reliable sources of information against the objectives. Discussion of sample sizes and drawing reliable conclusions). It should address specific tools used (interviews, questionnaires, case studies etc.) and the various strengths of these and how they can be best designed and used for the designated project. (Approximately 2000 words) Chapter 4 Presentation of Research findings There must be a strong section which presents and discusses the research findings from both primary and secondary sources but emphasising new material collected specifically for the project. This section is important as this is the area where you engage with new and original material that you have collected and the skills deployed here are definitive in terms of the scope final assessment grade together with the recommendations. Data must be presented systematically and structured clearly around tables – if appropriate- or in terms of outcomes against the areas identified from the literature and linked back to project objectives. (Approximately 2000 words) Chapter 5 Discussion of Findings Having presented the data descriptively you will be expected to interrogate the findings by asking questions of your information such as: what is significant here, where is there key agreements between participants /sources what are the main areas of disagreement, how does this information reflect the outcomes (confirm or deny) from the literature review etc. What does this say about important ideas to shape policy /strategy and its implementation. (Approximately 2000 words) Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendations You will need a conclusion which draws together the findings from your research and the literature review and start to feedback and comment on the possibilities that now arise in terms of meeting the objectives. It should shape the agenda and start to define what it is you now think can be done. It should summarise main points and decide what stance you are taking with respect to the practice /policies under review. It should flow naturally from the earlier work. This section should not introduce new ideas or new debates even if you have discovered new information! If this is the case earlier chapters need reworking. (Approximately 1000 words) Recommendations should follow the conclusions. At this stage you move away from a research stance and adopt a leadership stance. Here you will advocate a possible direction for the organisation or sector. It can be specific as to future strategy and policy or it might offer an alternative view and scenario depending on particular future contexts. It should be carefully presented in management terms. Imagine you are presenting to a body of interested organisational managers with different levels of commitment to what you are proposing! It should clearly state what issue / opportunity is being addressed and the impact desired. It should state what should be done and it should say something on the implementation around; resources, barriers, risk, timescales, and organisation of the changes. It should not overly direct to further work or decisions otherwise the project is likely to be overly ‘contextual ‘and general and not solution driven. Again, no new ideas should be introduced here and it should be clear how the recommendations can be derived from the foregoing work. (Approximately 500 words) Chapter 7 Reflections on developing your personal competence. This chapter provides the opportunity for you to reflect on your programme experience and the learning which has impacted on the development of your professional identity. Drawing on evidence you have collated throughout the module you are to write a reflective commentary which addresses the following: what were your initial motivations for undertaking a MBA and what were the central components of your professional identity during semester 1? What did you learn about yourself as a developing business professional and how that learning will shape your future professional self? (Approximately 2000 words) The dissertation/project should be approximately 12000 words. However, the exact make-up of the sections may vary. It is unlikely you will be able to meet the learning outcomes in terms of depth and range of analysis in a study of less than 12000 words. The remainder of the dissertation/project should comprise your research proposal (final) and the reference list and appendices which evidence content in the main body of your report. Appendices should be carefully selected. They should be referenced in the main body of the study and should clearly relate to and provide further important reference for the reader. They should not be included if they have no central bearing on the study or simply a catalogue of all organisational information you can find. Please treat all word guides flexibly as different projects will emphasise different priorities and weightings so these are indicative. The following section give you some suggested reading. The module will draw upon a range of printed and electronic sources suitable to reflect on the contemporary issues of the subject material. Some texts are regarded as key to understanding the development of the subject and may not therefore be the current edition of a particular text but the reading list will be reviewed annually to ensure its relevance and appropriateness. Suggested Reading The following is an indicative reading list for the module which can also be accessed through the MyModuleReseources link in Canvas. Bassot, B. (2016) The Reflective Journal. London: Palgrave. Bolton, G. (2018) Reflective practice: writing and professional development. 5th edition. London: SAGE. Bell, E., Bryman, A. & Harley, B. (2019) Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bradbury, H., Kilminster, S, Zukas, M. & Frost, N. (2010) Beyond Reflective Practice: new approaches to professional lifelong learning. London: Routledge. Collis, J. & Hussey, R. (2017) Business Research: a practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students. 4th edition. London: Palgrave. Denscombe, M. (2010) Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice. 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Denscombe, M. (2017) The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. 6th edition. London: Open University Press. Maylor, H. (2010) Project Management. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall. Maylor, H. (2017) Researching Business and Management. London: Palgrave. Saunders, M, & Lewis, P. (2018) Doing research in business and management: an essential guide to planning your project. 2nd edition. Harlow: Pearson. Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for Business students. 8th edition. Harlow: Pearson. Watson, G. & Reissner, S. (eds) (2014) Developing Skills for Business Leadership, 2nd edition. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Williams, K., Woolliams, M. and Spiro, J. (2012) Reflective writing. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. In addition, it is expected that relevant journals will be consulted by students depending upon the area of study and chosen topic. Research Proposal Template This template will help you to focus your mind on how you want to approach your project. It also provides a basis for both your research and discussions with your Supervisor. Candidate Name Student Number Name of Supervisor Proposed Title Agreed date of proposal submission Project Background Rationale for selection – importance and potential impact on the strategic position of an organisation or business sector. Word guide approx. 500 Literature Review Identify the key aspects of the business literature to underpin the study. This review should cover the main ideas and business practice that will be considered. It should show a sample of some of the key sources and identify key critical issues that might arise. Word guide approx. 750 Objectives Identify 3/4 objective outcomes for the project in terms of what the study seeks to achieve for the organisation or business sector. These objectives should reflect outputs (not tasks) to be completed and should emphasise the areas for improvement to business performance that the project will concentrate on. Methodology Produce a brief statement as to what you consider are the main methods of primary and secondary research that are likely to be most useful to achieve the project outcomes. Word guide approx. 300 words Time plan Highlight key activities (milestones) for the proposed project and the resources required. Research Ethics Principles When considering the methodological approach to your submission it is important that you consider the ethics of your approach. It is crucial that you consider the following principles: How your research should be designed, reviewed and undertaken according to the highest possible standards. It should comply with University Governance, Professional Codes of Practice and the law. Research with human participants must protect their dignity, rights, safety and well-being. Participants must be completely informed about the purposes, methods and intended uses of the research. They must be informed about what participation will involve and the risks and benefits fully explained. Any research proposing deviation from this principle may be approved but only in very specific contexts in which the lack of complete information is justified by the benefits of the research. Participants must consent to participate in the research having been fully informed about what participation will involve. Participation must be voluntary. The use of incentives to encourage participation is acceptable but these must be appropriate. Participants must be allowed to withdraw themselves from participation at any time and for any reason without disadvantage. Information and data obtained about participants must be confidential. Anonymity should be maintained wherever possible. All information held about the participants must be processed, retained, stored, and disposed of in accordance with the law. The research must protect the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the research workers who should completely understand the risks and benefits of the research. The research must protect the reputation, safety and well-being of the University of Sunderland. The issue of research ethics and data collection must be discussed with your Supervisor and their advice considered and observed. Details of the Research Ethics Review process are found on the University website and by following the link below. https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/more/research/governance-integrity/ethics/ You must discuss the Ethics approval process with your Supervisor at the earliest opportunity as approval is required before data can be collected. Statement of Originality and Authenticity I confirm that the work I am submitting is an original and authentic piece of work compiled by myself that satisfies the University rules and regulations with respect to Plagiarism and Collusion. I further confirm that I have fully referenced and acknowledged all material incorporated as secondary resources in accordance with the Harvard System. I also clarify that I have taken a copy of the submission, which I will retain until after the Programme Assessment Board has published the results, and which I will make available on request in pursuance of any appropriate aspect of the marking and moderation of the work within the University Regulations. Name Registration Number Programme of Study Signed……………………………….. Please note that work will not be assessed without the inclusion of this declaration by the student. This page is intentionally left blank Generic Assessment Criteria – Postgraduate -These should be related to the level at which you are working and related to the assessment criteria for the module Grade Relevance Knowledge Analysis Argument and Structure Critical Evaluation Presentation Reference to Literature 86 – 100% The work examined is exemplary and provides clear evidence of a complete grasp of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also ample excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are fully satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be exemplary in all the categories cited above. It will demonstrate a particularly compelling evaluation, originality, and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse. 76- 85% The work examined is outstanding and demonstrates comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are fully satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be outstanding in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse. 70 – 75% The work examined is excellent and is evidence of comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are satisfied At this level it is expected that the work will be excellent in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse. 60 – 69% Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues therein Comprehensive analysis – clear and orderly presentation Well supported, focussed argument which is clear and logically structured. Contains distinctive or independent thinking; and begins to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice. Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with acceptable format Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature. Recognition of different perspectives. Very good use of a wide range of sophisticated source material. 50 – 59% Some attempt to address the requirements of the assessment: may drift away from this in less focused passages Adequate knowledge of a fair range of relevant material, with intermittent evidence of an appreciation of its significance Significant analytical treatment which has a clear purpose Generally coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical mode(s) May contain some distinctive or independent thinking; may begin to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice. Competently written, with only minor lapses from standard grammar, with acceptable format Uses a good variety of literature which includes recent texts and/or appropriate literature, including a substantive amount beyond library texts. Competent use of source material. 40 – 49% Some correlation with the requirements of the assessment but there is a significant degree of irrelevance Basic understanding of the subject but addressing a limited range of material Some analytical treatment, but may be prone to description, or to narrative, which lacks clear analytical purpose Some attempt to construct a coherent argument, but may suffer loss of focus and consistency, with issues at stake stated only vaguely, or theoretical mode(s) couched in simplistic terms Sound work which expresses a coherent position only in broad terms and in uncritical conformity to one or more standard views of the topic A simple basic style but with significant deficiencies in expression or format that may pose obstacles for the reader Evidence of use of appropriate literature which goes beyond that referred to by the tutor. Frequently only uses a single source to support a point. Weak use of quotation 35 – 39% Relevance to the requirements of the assessment may be very intermittent, and may be reduced to its vaguest and least challenging terms A limited understanding of a narrow range of material Largely descriptive or narrative, with little evidence of analysis A basic argument is evident, but mainly supported by assertion and there may be a lack of clarity and coherence Some evidence of a view starting to be formed but mainly derivative. Numerous deficiencies in expression and presentation; the writer may achieve clarity (if at all) only by using a simplistic or repetitious style Barely adequate use of literature. Over reliance on material provided by the tutor. The evidence provided shows that the majority of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. 15-29% The work examined is unacceptable and provides little evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence shows that few of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in several of the indicators. 0-14% The work examined is unacceptable and provides almost no evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence fails to show that any of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in the majority or all of the indicators. 25