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Research Proposal Assignment: HR Strategies for Maintaining Diverse Workforce at Apple

Question

Task: Your research proposal assignment task is to write a business related research proposal on the topic of your choice.

Answer

1. A background to the research proposal
1.1 Background of the industry or company chosen in research proposal assignment

Apple was founded by Ronald Wayne, Steve Wozniak, and Steve Jobs in the year 1976 who aspired to change the vision of people towards computers (Terrell, 2021). Wozniak and Jobs wanted to make computers small so that people can have them in offices or homes. In the modern-day business environment, Apple Inc. manufactures and markets personal computers, Smartphones, accessories, and wearable. However after Steve Jobs became the CEO of the company, he allied with Microsoft and this proved to be the turning point of the company. The iPhone that was introduced in 2007 is considered to be one of the world's most successful products and thus the company keeps releasing new versions of the iPhone on regular basis (Mickalowski, 2019). Overall, Apple is continuing to grow with its legacy and is considered to be one of the most successful global companies due to the quality of its products.

The industry in which Apple Inc. incorporates is highly competitive as the competitors are always ready to take the market share based on innovation and superior technology. The customers of Apple Inc. seek products that deliver superior performance and please aesthetically along with assuring the products' quality. The ongoing revolution in the industry of Apple's operation is driven by technological advancements and Apple has a tremendous advantage of market capitalization. The following is a research proposal based on the topic "Human Resources: Effective Strategies for Maintaining Largely Diversified Organizations” for Apple Inc. The human resource of a major organization like Apple Inc. plays a significant role in the company’s business operation and the background of the company indicates the overall growth of the company driven by its resource management. Therefore, Apple is unique from other companies based on the blueprints that the company has left for its future generations.

1.2 Issue or problem identified and the boundaries of the research
In today's business environment, it has become essential to maintain and manage a diverse workforce as with diversity comes better creativity and productivity (PrincePerelson, 2019). In the context of Apple, the main issue is related to developing effective strategies that can help in maintaining the diverse working culture of Apple. In addition to that, the issue is to ensure that the developed strategies for maintaining diverse organizations such as Apple are effective. Over the years it has been observed that several companies have found it difficult to manage a diverse workforce due to the cultural differences and several barriers associated with it (Fraser Dove International, 2019). Therefore, in the context of Apple’s business environment, the company’s human resource management faces severe challenges in terms of maintaining its diverse workforce. On the other hand, the problems associated with the topic are based upon the company’s human resource management in different countries required to developed different strategies according to the place of their operation. It is a well-known fact that human resource activities need to be developed and modified as per the local demands, so the problem is related to not being able to establish fixed strategies.

The boundaries of the research are confined to the human resource management strategies that are specifically associated with maintaining and managing largely diversified organizations. In addition to that, the research will be confined to the existing human resource strategies adopted by Apple and will consider only the existing data associated with the research. Overall, the outcomes of this research will rely upon the strategies of data collection and concepts that will be considered for the study.

1.3 Significance and rationale of the research
This research will hold tremendous significance because, in today's globalized business environment, it has become important to develop and implement human resource strategies that can help in the management of a diverse workforce. It has been observed that a diverse workforce despite bringing in several benefits also brings certain challenges that are crucial to be managed. Over the years, it has been observed that a diverse workforce tends to help business organizations in terms of a better understanding of the targeted demographics (BC Campus, 2019). In addition to that, a diverse workplace helps in better alignment of the organization’s culture and thus ultimately improves customer satisfaction. Therefore, this research can further highlight the importance of maintaining a diverse workforce as it is the primary responsibility of human resource management to understand the concept of a diverse workforce. Overall, there is a requirement of embracing various approaches, methods, policies, and procedures to ensure proper management of workforce in a large and reputed company like Apple, so the research holds tremendous significance.

The rationale of the research is supported by the fact that it covers the most relevant data and methods that can help in generating better responses regarding the management of a diverse workforce. In research studies, it is important that the research is based upon a relevant topic that affects the masses and the chosen topic for this research is based upon one of the most widely accepted concerns in contemporary business organizations. The rationale for any research describes the underlying bias and thus effectively highlights the intention of the researchers. The management of a diverse workforce in Apple will require adequate and proper research so that the outcomes of the research highlight the relevant strategies that can help in the management of massively diversified Apple’s workforce. Overall, the rationale of the research is based upon the fact that the topic covers one of the most widely discussed concerns of contemporary organizations such as Apple.

1.4 Research Questions
1.4.1 Main research question

What are the strategies required for human resource management at Apple to effectively manage and maintain a diverse workforce?

1.4.2 Specific research questions
What are the negative aspects of Apple’s existing human resource management that are hampering the company's management of a diverse workforce?
What are the areas in which Apple can develop its human resource strategies so that the negative aspects of their diverse workforce management can be eliminated?
How does effective human resource management help business organizations in terms of promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce?

1.5 Research Objectives and conceptual framework
1.5.1 Research objectives

The main objective of this research is to find out the best potential strategies of human resource management that can help in mitigating the issues of managing a diverse workforce at Apple Inc. The concept of diversity management in the workplace refers to an objective of business that enhances the capacity of organizations in terms of delivering better results. In addition to that, in the modern-day work environments, it has become essential to appreciate and respect cultural diversity so that the business flourishes in global marketplaces. Thus, this research will thrive to generate the best possible outcomes related to diverse workplace management.

This research will measure the existing human resource management strategies of Apple that plays a vital role in the management of company’s diverse workforce. The measurement of the strategies will be done on secondary research based on the exiting journal articles related to Apple’s diverse workforce management.

1.5.2 Conceptual framework
1. EXTERNAL ANALYSIS

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

2. INTERNAL ANALYSIS

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

3. SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

2. Literature Review
2.1 Introduction

The human resource department is considered to be an essential part of any organization because this department is associated with the hiring, training, and retaining of manpower in an organization. Human resource plays an integral role in the development and reinforcement of changes in the organization and monitors the performance of the employees in the organization. The makes it evident that the human resource of an organization plays a vital role in the development of strategies that will maintain diversification in an organization. With a diversified employee body, MNCs like Apple need to have an effective human resource strategy so that it can be managed and maintained. This is the rationale behind the selection of the research topic as human resource plays a vital role in the management of diversification in the organization. If the human resource department does not have an effective strategy then it will not be possible for a company to manage and maintain its diverse employees. The main sources that will be used are journal articles and peer-reviewed articles so that the perspective and ideas of different scholars and authors can be reviewed. These resources have been used because they give credible information regarding the research topic of this report. Along with that, it also allows the understanding of the research topic from different perspectives

2.2 Importance of Human Resource
According to Aslam et al., (2014), human resource is essential in an organization because it is associated with the utilization of knowledge and skills of the employees so that the organization can achieve its goals and objective. This makes it evident that without human resources, a company cannot achieve its goals and objective because it will not have the manpower to work towards them. Along with that, researchers and scholars have identified its importance in gaining competitive advantages. This means with proper human resource management, a company can gain a competitive advantage and capture greater market share among its competitors. This is because when a company has good human resource management; it can increase the productivity of the company. With the increased productivity, the company can ensure innovation and the creation of new ideas for the products and services. This will ultimately allow the company to stay competitive and stand out in the market among other companies.

Furthermore, Javed et al., (2017), states that human resource management allows a firm to strengthen its internal capability of a company, and through a flexible human resource; a company can easily adjust to new and changing situations. Flexibility in human recourse means the extent and limit of the company to apply their strategies and potential to adapt to new situations. This is an important aspect of human resource management because the business environment is dynamic and several changes are occurring every minute. If a company does not adapt to these changing situations then they might lose in the market and their business might suffer a significant loss. To survive such an extreme situation, companies need to have flexible human resource management. With the help of HR policies, the employees can be persuaded to accept the changes in the organization without any resistance and they are also given proper training so that they can work efficiently working under the new conditions. If the employees are not persuaded effectively then bringing changes in the organization cannot be implemented.

Along with that, the human resource policies of a company can also help them to increase the motivation of their employees. Mansaray(2019), states that a business can achieve significant achievements when their employees are motivated because there is a positive relation between employee motivation and their performance. Human resource management motivates the employees by recognizing their needs through different theories. The first theory that can be used to identify the needs of the employees is Maslow's Need Hierarchy. This theory suggests that there are five needs of individual physiology, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization needs (Shi and Lin, 2021). Through the identification of these needs, the human resource department of a company can identify different needs of the employee and they can use it to motivate them. Another theory that can be used is the X and Y Theory which states they are two approaches through which employees can be motivated in an organization and they can be encouraged to contribute actively.

2.2.1 Diversification in Organization
Employee diversification in an organization can prove to be beneficial for an organization; it increases innovation and the development of new ideas. Along with that it also allows adaptability to a new work environment because the same employees are cannot be appointed in every situation. If a company has employee diversity then they can appoint different employees in different places so that the business can run smoothly. According to Saxena (2014), work diversity comprises age difference, caste and religion, language, gender, geographical region, attitude, and professional qualification. All these elements of diversity differentiate employees from one another and allow a flow of creativity in the organization. With creative and innovative ideas, a company can improve its financial results and earn increased profits. Along with that, cross-cultural understanding can also be increased in the organization that will foster collaboration and teamwork. The employees will work as a team and this will increase the overall productivity of the company and it can grow and expand into other markets as well.

According to Ahmad and Rahman(2019), the need for diversification in an organization can be explained using the Social Identity Theory. This theory suggests that when there is diversification in an organization, one can derive self-value through working in a specific group and this enhances their ethnicity and beliefs. With the presence of organizational diversification, there is an active creation of cultural differences among the employees and this gives rise to the promotion and sharing of culture and beliefs. Along with that, the company can gain culturally sensitive insight regarding the market that can be used to design the products for their target consumers. Acquisition of diverse skills is also ensured due to the diversification of employees and this will allow greater opportunity for the company in the market (Reynolds, 2019). With the valuation and appraisal of the diverse contribution made by the employees, an organization can achieve its goals and objective efficiently.

However, there are some drawbacks of having employee diversity in an organization and this also disrupts the business operations of the company. According to Goel(2018), Challenges such as difficulty in communication can hamper the progress and business process of the company. When there are employees from a different cultural background that communication will be difficult due to differences in the language used by the different employees. Furthermore, there is a chance of discrimination in the workplace due to diversity in the organization. When there is discrimination in the workplace, the employees lose their potential and ability to work productively because they become mentally disturbed. When there is discrimination in the workplace, one employee is always at a disadvantage compared to another employee (Benstead, 2018). Furthermore, another drawback of employee diversity is the generation gap between the employees due to their age. This will create conflict and disagreement between the employees because people of different age groups will have a different perspective about the business issues and their solutions for it might change drastically due to which there can arise disagreement.

2.2.2 Human Resource of Apple
In Apple, inclusion and diversity is the key principle according to which Apple is being able to manage employee diversity. According to Adorno (2021), Apple has 64% of employees from underrepresented communities, the inclusion of employees from Latinos and Hispanic communities has increased by 80% and the recruitment of Black employees has also increased by 50%. These employees from different minority communities are also encouraged to take leadership roles in the organization. Furthermore, Apple has also focused on the matter of gender diversity in the workplace due to which 34% of the employee in Apple is female and 66% are male. That has made the company win the inclusion and diversity awards multiple times, this was also possible because women employees in the company were given several benefits. Apple aims towards increasing diversity in its workforce so that it can involve itself in more diverse functions and operations in the future.

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

Figure 1: Apple Workforce
Source: (Peterson, 2021)

According to Itam and Bagali(2019), the inclusion and diversity model of Apple allows it to have workforce diversity and include people from a different cultural backgrounds in the workforce. The philosophy of inclusion affects the structure of the organization, human resource policies, leadership style, and organizational culture. With this principle, Apple has also been able to increase its employee engagement and create a positive work environment in the organization. Along with that, Apple tries to maintain an appropriate relationship with its employees so that it can keep the employees motivated and improve their performances. With the help of good employee relations, Apple has been able to manage its diverse employees working in the organization. When Apple began to expand in the parts of Europe, China, and Asia, it saw the need of diversifying the employees being recruited in the company. This was because the company could not appoint the same employees in the foreign locations for selling the product. Then the company began to hire people from different cultural backgrounds so that the business process of the company could be carried out smoothly. Furthermore, according to Rampen (2019), Apple also developed and introduced policies like non-discrimination policy in the lieu of Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This completely changed the organizational structure of the company as it became more open and welcomed employees from different backgrounds. This strategy of Apple helped them to operate successfully in foreign locations and make significant sales. Apple has an aim of making difference by hiring and promoting the underrepresented communities in the society and allowing them to develop their standard of living. In the manner, along with employee diversity, the company is also fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by working towards the welfare of society. Therefore, it can be seen that incorporation of employee diversity in the company has proven to be beneficial for Apple and it is one of the leading giants in the smartphone industry with thousands of employees working in it.

2.3 Conclusion
The overall literature review shows how human resource management is used for managing a diverse workforce in an organization and the human resource structure of Apple. The insights gained from the literature review allow answering the research question regarding the negative aspect in the human resource of Apple that will affect the workforce diversity of the company. With the recognition of benefits and drawbacks regarding workforce diversity, another research question can be answered regarding the development of strategies that will allow Apple to address its negative elements of human resources. Furthermore, the literature review also gives insight regarding the importance of human resource and how it needs to be managed by a company to operate successfully in the market. The major importance identified was that appropriate human resource management allows an organization to gain a competitive advantage in the market. This is the major reason why Apple needs to implement proper human resource management in the diversification of the employees hired because the literature review gives a clear understanding regarding the current employee diversification of the company.

Furthermore, it can be said that the literature review can also fulfil the research objective of recommending a strategy that can be used by Apple to manage its diverse workforce. This can be said because, in the literature review, all the aspects and characteristics of the current human resource policies of Apple have been discussed. This information will help to identify the drawbacks of their strategies and then a new strategy can be recommended. This is because Apple being a multinational company needs to operate on an international scale and has employees from different cultural backgrounds. This makes it essential for Apple to have robust human resource management for managing all the employees under one policy.

3. Research design
3.1 Research Design

Research design generally refers to the framework used by the researcher in aid to the market research and the techniques that have been chosen by the researcher. It is an arrangement of the data that has been collected through various ways, with the use of the different tools and technologies to fulfil the requirement of the purpose of the research. Therefore the methodologies, tools, and techniques that have been used for the completion of this report are as given below:

3.1.1 Research philosophy
The philosophy that has been chosen for the completion of this report is the interpretive philosophy. This philosophy states that knowledge and the truth are subjective, that have been situated both traditionally and culturally based on the experiences of the people and their understanding. The reason for choosing this philosophy for this report is because it provides the researchers to collect, analyze, inform, and interpret data in an inevitable way (Ryan, 2018). With the use of this philosophy, the distinction between the diversified organization within the perception of reality and truth has been analyzed.

3.1.2 Inductive
The inductive reasoning is primarily chosen for the completion of this report because, in terms of limitation, it has the potential to make the research arguable. Inductive reasoning is more appropriately associated with the study of employing constructivism that helps to obtain knowledge, understand the phenomena, and the development of a new theory (Park et al., 2020). With the use of Inductive reasoning, the phenomenon of organizational diversity has been analyzed for the presentation of this report.

3.1.3 Exploratory research design
Exploratory research is often conducted if there is not enough information and knowledge about the phenomena or problems of the research topic while focusing on the different levels of depth of the research topic (Boru, 2018). This design has been chosen for this report to explore the depth of the diversified organization to analyze the effective strategy for its appropriate maintenance.

3.2 Strategy for research
A research strategy is referred to the plan that has been created step-by-step, and the action of which provides direction to the effort and thoughts, to enable the systematic conduct of the research, in aid to provide a quality and detailed report.

3.2.1 Survey
An online survey method has been chosen to gather the required information and data for the completion of this report. This method is generally used to extract information about the important matter of the business organization. Therefore, to conduct the online survey, ten questions will be mailed to the employees that have been engaged, working within the diverse environment of the organization. The response to the mail will also be analyzed as a part of primary data collection.

3.3. Research instruments
Research instruments include questionnaire, interviews, survey, checklist, etc, which helps to gather the data and data that are appropriate to the research topic.

3.3.1 Questionnaire
The questionnaire method has been chosen for this report because it can serve as a significant element of the mix-method design (Young, 2015). With the use of the questionnaire method, reliable and valid data can be accumulated and constructed for the research. This method usually used a survey to conduct the research, with the help of which the relevant data and information are efficiently gathered and analyzed.

3.4 Sampling plan
3.4.1 Target population

The target population of the research is the employees working at Apple as the research aims to analyze the diverse work culture of Apple and the ways employees from different backgrounds are managed at the company. The employees are selected as the target population for the research as the interpretations of the employees regarding the diverse work culture and policies of the company can be covered. The data regarding the diverse work culture of the company as well as the current work policies of Apple support the diverse work culture.

3.4.2 Sample size determination
Among all the employees, 25 employees will be approached for the survey via email, and the final participants will be selected based on the informed consent and completion of the survey questionnaire.

3.4.3 Sampling plan A
The sampling plan helps to select the participants for the research or constructing the sample size for the research. Non-probability sampling is the best way to select the sample size, as the target population is already known as well as the specific context of selecting the population is also known. Quota sampling is suitable for the research as it previously identified that the target population for the research is employees of Apple. The entire population means all the employees need not be participated in the research, so the selected sample will be considered as a representative of the entire population. The quota sampling is selected as it will help to divide the population into different strata (ArkadiuszWi?niowski et al., 2019). The sample for the research will be divided into two strata- male and female.

3.4.3 Sampling plan B
The target population is employees of Apple and the expected sample size is 25 and the sample size is divided into two categories- male and female.

3.5 Data collection methods and data types
3.5.1 Data sources

The data will be collected via survey, which is a primary source of data collection. There are several types of primary data sources for data collection such as interviews, surveys, observations, focus groups. The primary sources for data collection are used when the research aims to collect raw data and to extract the findings from the raw data rather than the tested data. The survey is selected as the research instrument for the research, so the data collected for the research will be quantitative. The survey questionnaire will include questions with options based on the Likert scale, which will help the respondents to provide data as per the presented options.

1st Specific Research Question: What are the negative aspects of Apple’s existing human resource management that are hampering the company's management of a diverse workforce?

2nd Specific Research Question: What are the areas in which Apple can develop its human resource strategies so that the negative aspects of their diverse workforce management can be eliminated?

3rd Specific Research Question: How does effective human resource management help business organizations in terms of promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce?

Data

Quantitative

Qualitative

Primary

Survey

x

Secondary

x

x

3.5.2 Data collection strategies
The key strategy selected for data collection for the proposed research is an online survey. The survey will be conducted online by sending the survey questions to the participants via email. The Likert scale will be used to develop the survey questionnaire. The Likert scale includes five options and they strongly agree, agree, disagree, uncertain, and strongly disagree (Joshi et al., 2015). Each question will be presented with five options of the Likert scale, which will reflect the agreement or disagreement of the participants with a specific factor of their work culture.

4. Data analysis
4.1 conceptual table and data analysis

Core Area

Research Instrument

Type of Data

How to Measure

The work culture of apple, workplace diversity, and management of workplace diversity at Apple

 A survey questionnaire is selected as a key research instrument. The survey will be conducted online and a questionnaire will be sent to the participants via email.

The questionnaire will be formed based on 5 points Likert scale to represent the view of each participant for a specific question.

The data that will be collected for the research will be quantitative and the data will be collected from primary sources, so it will be raw data.

 

The collected data will be measured using the data analysis tool. The data needs to be analyzed in such a way that it will provide quantitative outcomes, as the questionnaire will be developed using a Likert scale, and it will be confusing for the audience to understand the results.

.The use of MS Excel will be adequate to analyze the collected data.

4.2 Analysis Tools
The selection of an adequate analysis tool is crucial for research to ensure valid and reliable research outcomes. The collected data will be analyzed using Microsoft Excel as the data will be put in excel sheets and based on each question, the bar graph or pie graph will be presented in the research report using percentages for each scale. The results will be quantitative as they will show the percentage of each scale in each question. The use of MS Excel is more adequate for the proposed study as it will present the results in quantitative nature and the results will be interpreted based on the results, which will provide a specific idea about the current work culture and workplace diversity at Apple.

4.3 Ethical Issues

Key Ethical Concerns needs to be addressed

Description

Data Protection (Confidentiality)

Confidentiality is one of the ethical concerns that ensure the personal data provided by the respondents will keep confidential(Gajjar, 2013). The personal data will not be presented in the final research, but only the data that can address the research questions will be presented. The confidentiality for the research will be conveyed to the participants before surveying to maintain clear communication about the confidentiality of personal data.

Data Ownership (Consent)

Informed consent is another ethical consideration that needs to be maintained when there is the involvement of participants. Informed consent ensured the consent of participants before involving in the survey(Gajjar, 2013). In the proposed research, informed consent will be considered by communicating about the purpose of research, data collection purpose, and procedure of the survey. The informed consent for the survey will be taken via email.

Voluntary participation

Voluntary participation means the willingness of the participants to take part in the research and the participants will be a force to answer any question(Gajjar, 2013). In the proposed research, voluntary participation will be considered as any participant will not be forced to answer the question and any participant who wants to quit the survey can do so by notifying be forehead.

Validity

Validity means the accuracy of a research method and its usage. The valid research methods help to product adequate results that meet the research aim and objectives. For the proposed research, the survey is selected as a key research instrument to collect data as it will help to collect data from the participants who work under diverse cultured workplace. The possibility of valid research outcomes is more for the context.

Reliability

The reliability of research means the stability of consistency of results due to the use of specific research and analysis method. The proposed research will ensure the reliability of research results by collecting relevant data from the participants and analysing the data in an effective way to provide reliable results.

4.4 Timeline and Gantt chart
The period for the research is 2 months and 9 days as the research is started on 6th Aug 2021 and is expected to complete on 15th Oct 2021. The key research tasks and the timeline for the research are presented in the Gantt chart.

4.5 Time Schedule

Task Name

Duration

Selection of Initial Topic

3days

Literature Survey

8 days

Developing research aim, objectives, and questions

3 days

Submission of research proposal

Within 1 week

Formation of survey questionnaire

2 days

Data collection

5 days

Writing up the final research project till the methodology chapter

14 days

Data analysis

6 days

Writing up analysis, findings, and conclusion part

12 days

Completion of other parts, proofreading

6 days

4.6 The Gantt chart

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

EXTERNAL ANALYSIS research proposal assignment

4.7 Expected outcomes for research
4.7.1 Expected primary and other significant outcomes

The proposed research aims to provide outcomes based on the current work culture at Apple, the way diverse work culture and workforce are managed at Apple. The proposed research is also expected to provide experiences of employees working in a diverse workplace like Apple.

4.7.2 Research limitations
The research can collect information only from employees of Apple and the managerial perspectives cannot be added in the context. The survey will be conducted online, so the accuracy of the data cannot be observed, the research has to rely on the data that will be provided by the respondents.

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