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The Importance of Performance Related Pay in Motivating Employees: A Study of Frontline Employees at Hilton Hotel Management Research Proposal (Research Proposal Sample)


My dissertation topic is "The Importance of Performance Related Pay in Motivating Employees: A Study of Frontline Employees at Hilton Hotel"
The core textbook for the module is Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2016),
Research Methods for Business Students (7th edition), Harlow: Pearson.
The following texts could be useful for the writing of the dissertation proposal.
Anderson V. (2009) Research Methods in Human Resource Management. 2nd ed. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.
Bell, E. and Bryman, A. (2010), Business Research Methods, Oxford University Press. (3rd edition)
Easterby-Smith M., Thorpe R. and Jackson P. (2012) Management Research London: Sage Publication.
Whitfield, K. and Strauss, G. (Eds.) (1998) Researching the World of Work: Strategies and Methods in Studying Industrial Relations. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


Researching Work, Employment and Employee Relations

Final Assessment: Writing a research proposal


This assignment aims to prepare you for your dissertation by having you write a 2,000 words dissertation research proposal based on your chosen dissertation topic and research approach.


Using the research proposal outline presented in Henn et al. (2009) as a guide (see below), your assignment involves writing a research proposal which includes:



1) Research problem to investigate

a. Purpose of your research

b. Deductive or inductive approach

c. Research questions, aims and objectives

d. Definition of key terms and concepts


2) Review of the academic literature


3) Methodology to be used

a. Research design

b. Sample

c. Procedures and data collection

d. Contribution: generalisability, validity, replication and reliability


4) Ethical considerations





Marking criteria

This assignment counts for 50% of your overall course mark. The marking criteria will be as follows:

* Contextualisation of your research including relevant literature (40%);

* Justification of your research design (5%);

* Data collection and methods and sample (35%);

* Consideration of ethical issues (5%);

* Presentation and clarity of your research proposal including quality of the English writing and appropriate referencing (15%)

Deadline:  23rd April 2019 by noon.


Find below and in the second document an extract from Henn et al . 2009 about how to write a research proposal. An additional reference on key concepts to be included in the research proposal is:

Mark Saunders, Adrian Thornhill and Philip Lewis, Research Methods for Business Students, Pearson Publishers. The 8th (2018), 7th (2015) or 6th (2012) edition would be insightful.
















OUTLINE OF A RESEARCH PROPOSAL (Extract from Henn et al. 2009)


There are usually four areas to be addressed in this section of the research proposal: the purpose of the proposed study, a justification for the project, the specific research questions that you intend to explore, and a definition of any key terms and concepts that you will examine. However, you will only write one section including the four aspects.

Purpose of the study

You will need to state succinctly what the research proposes to investigate. The purpose should be a concise statement, providing a framework to which details are added later. Generally speaking, any study should seek to clarify some aspect of the field of interest that is considered important, thereby contributing both to the overall knowledge in the field and to current practice.

Justification for the study (inductive or deductive)

The researcher must make clear why this particular study is important to investigate. You must present an argument for the work of the study. This will usually form a substantial section of your research proposal and will require you to provide evidence that you have conducted a detailed literature review in the area, in order to:

* Demonstrate to the reader that you have studied the field with insight and are therefore well qualified to undertake the research;

* Identify what is already known, and by implication what is as yet unknown – and therefore worthy of empirical study.

The research questions or aims and objectives

The particular research questions that you intend to examine should be stated next. These are usually, but not always, a more specific form of the problem in question form. For quantitative researchers, research hypotheses will be set out at this stage for reasons of clarity and as a research strategy. For qualitative researchers, especially those adopting an emergent research design, the actual research questions and hypotheses will not become clear until the research has begun. In the case of tightly structured qualitative study, researchers can proceed along similar lines to the quantitative proposal. The research questions are often drafted as aims and objectives. These are the means by which what is to be attempted and what is to be accomplished are specified.


The aim is a statement of intent. It indicates the overall purpose and thrust of the research. It is also a statement of the main associations and relationships that you seek to discover or establish. In any proposed project, the aims should be small in number – setting yourself too many aims indicates that you probably embarking on more than one project. The aims bill be ‘answered’ by accumulating and integrating answers to a series of objectives that you set.



The objectives are specific actions statements. They can be perceived as ‘stepping stones’ that eventually direct the study towards the more comprehensively stated aims. They express in detail and in a more technical way than the aim(s) what the research is intended to achieve.

Definitions of key terms and concepts

All key terms should be defined, although you should be selective in those that you consider ‘key’, and you should be succinct with your definition of each that you decide to include. In a quantitative hypothesis-testing study, these are primarily the terms that describe the key variables of your study. In an emergent qualitative-based research study, however, the key concepts that you intend to engage with in your research will not all be clear to you at the outset of the research. Where this is so, you should state this clearly within your proposal.


It was noted earlier (in the section headed ‘Justification for the study’) that in order to gain support for a proposed project, the researcher will need to conduct a review of the literature. In a research proposal, the literature review is a partial summary of previous work related to the focus of the study. You will need to demonstrate to the reader that you are familiar with the major trends in the previous research as well as opinions on the topic and that you understand their relevance to your planned study.


The section should include a discussion of your intended research design, the sample you will examine, the instruments to be used to conduct the investigation, procedural details for collecting your empirical evidence and the data analysis techniques to be used. This section should be carefully justified by linking it to the aims and objectives of the proposed study.

Research design

Representative sample, what can be your sample.

Fit your dissertation aims/purpose.

The particular research design to be used should be identified as well as how it applies to the present study. Typically, the basic design is fairly clear-cut and fits one of the following models:

* Experimental design

* Cross-sectional design

* Longitudinal design

* Case study design



In your proposal, you should indicate in considerable details how you will include participants – the sample – for investigation in your study. You should indicate the size of the sample, how members will be selected, and what claims you may legitimately make about representativeness of your sample.

Procedure and data collection

Outline your proposed method(s) of research. This should be presented in sufficient detail for the reader to know that the project is realistic, feasible and worthwhile. You will need to describe how you intend to access your target group and contact your research participants. It is important to make your data collection procedure clear so that if another researcher wants to repeat your study in exactly the same way as the original, they are able to replicate your procedures.


The contribution of the article should be assessed in terms of four criteria: generalisability, validity, replication and reliability. Could your results be generalizable? Do you want them to be generalizable? What about issues of internal and external validity? Would someone else be able to replicate your study? If not, is this an issue? Are the proposed research methods reliable?


At some point in the proposal, it is necessary to indicate clearly what you regard as the major ethical issues of the project, and to state clearly how these will be handled. You will need to demonstrate that you have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that both yourself and others associated with your intended project are protected from harm.



Research Proposal
By (Name)
Research Proposal
Proposed Topic: The Importance of Performance Related Pay in Motivating Employees: A Study of Frontline Employees at Hilton Hotel
1) Research problem to investigate
a. Purpose of the Research
The purpose of the study will be to investigate the impact of rewards on the performance of frontline employees in the hospitality industry.
b. Deductive or inductive approach
A research can utilize either a deductive or an inductive approach. The deductive approach seeks to test data and usually begins with a hypothesis. On the other hand, the inductive approach uses the data to generate a new theory. The approach uses the research questions to narrow the scope of the investigation. In the research, the inductive approach will be utilized given that the findings will be obtained from the data generated.
c. Research questions, aims and objectives
i) Research Questions
The following questions will guide the study:
1 Does employee empowerment influence their performance in the workplace?
2 What is the relationship between employee empowerment and performance in the workplace?
3 To what extend does rewards influence the performance of workers?
ii) Aims and Objectives
1 To investigate the link between the empowerment of workers and their performance in the workplace.
2 To assess the relationship between the motivation of employees on their performance.
3 To determine the extent to which rewards influence the performance of employees.
d. Definition of key terms and concepts
i) Performance Related Pay (PRP)
PRP involves linking salary progression to an assessment of the performance of workers by measuring it against pre-agreed objectives (Kato and Kodama, 2015).
ii) Employee Motivation
The willingness of a worker to expend energy towards achieving the goals of an organization (Dobre, 2013). In other words, it is the inner drive to put the required effort towards work-related activities.
iii) Performance Evaluation
The procedures followed to measure the work and results of employees based on their job requirements (Capko, 2003).
iv) Frontline Employees
These are workers who deal directly with clients (Baig, Riaz and Kashif, 2015).

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