The final assignment asks you to develop a short research plan that will become the foundation of your DBA program. This plan will evolve as you proceed in your program. Much of this document will be useful in your dissertation, especially the literature review. The headings for each section are in bold below, followed by what is needed in each section.
Provide a short introduction to your research. Often this is a sentence or two that says why there is a problem, what the problem is generally, and what you plan to do. Essentially, this section gives the reader an idea of what they will see in the rest of the document.
Identify the research topic. Justify that this topic is both a business topic and an applied topic. (Length: about one-half page)
Identify a theory or conceptual framework that could be used for your study. Justify how it relates to your topic. (Length: one half to one page)
Provide a three-page literature review that covers the following:
History of your topic. Justify it as a worthwhile topic. What is its impact on business?
Evolution of your theory. Who came up with it, and how has it evolved?
Discuss your planned methodology. In future courses, you will explore methodologies in greater detail. At this stage, you are simply exploring options as to how you could study this research topic. It is recommended that you avoid mixed methods research as the time involved is significantly greater than a single method. (Length: one half to one page)
Planned population/data collection. If you plan to do interviews, who will you interview? If you plan to collect data from a source, what will that source be? (Length: one half to one page)
Bridging the Gap
Discuss areas you feel you need additional knowledge to complete your research (e.g., statistics if you plan a quantitative study, how to perform interviews if you plan to do a case study).
Bring the entire study goal to a summation. This should be a short paragraph of what you would like to do, why you would like to do it, and what you will need to learn to do it effectively.
References: Include a minimum of 10 peer-reviewed journals using your citation manager of choice.
Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.
Side note: my professional background: *I am a Franchise Business owner of a Tutoring Company *I am in the process of finishing my book that will be published in a couple of months ** Currently a Forbes Council Member and Forbes publishes my articles on a monthly basis on topics on business and education that I write about * Married with two small kids * a Board member for various organizations * looking to have my get my Doctoral degree to help my goals with my Business/Motivational Speaker business that I plan on launching in a couple of years and the doctoral degree will allow me to charge more for my consultation services.
WK 8: SIGNATURE ASSIGNMENT: DEVELOP A SHORT RESEARCH PLAN
Once a small, word-of-mouth referral-based tutoring industry has gradually boomed into a billion-dollar sector, attracting domestic and international investors. Over the past few decades, the tutoring industry has dramatically transformed from an informal to a formal business that assumes a legal structure such as the Kumon Corporation and Oxford Learning Center. This staggering growth can partly be attributed to increased demand for tutoring, notably in developed countries. For example, a past survey conducted in Canada revealed that about 24 percent of Ontario parents hired tutors for their school-aged children and 50 percent of all Canadian parents claimed they would hire a tutor if it were affordable (Davies & Aurini, 2006). Current statistics also predict significant growth in this industry, with a global market size projection reaching 425 million U.S. dollars in 2022 (Statista Research Department, 2020). In essence, empirical evidence and industrial estimates show consistent growth in this industry.
Despite a significant body of literature focusing on the tutoring industry’s growth, there is relatively fragmented and scarce research on franchises in this sector. However, past and current literature suggest that the tutoring industry is expanding its reach as exemplified by the evolution from shadow education that has similar features of mainstream education in regard to curriculum content and teaching strategies to learning center franchises that develop their own curricular, offer comprehensive menus of services and nurture long-term skills among students (Aurini & Davies, 2004; Castro & Guzman, 2012). Therefore, to bridge the gap in current data regarding academic franchises, this research paper aims to explore franchising in the industry and examine the effects of educational franchises on the tutoring business. Data gathered from this research is vital in enlightening industrial participants of the industry’s ongoing trends and future expectations.
To date, there is limited current empirical evidence on the effects of academic franchising in the tutoring industry. Considerable data in this area date several years ago, yet more effects might have cropped over time, considering the industry’s dynamic changes. Therefore, the current study addresses these research questions:
- What is franchising in the tutoring industry?
- What are the effects of franchising on the tutoring business?
Justification of the Topic
The selected subject is both a business and applied topic. The matter qualifies as a business topic because it focuses on a legal form of business in the education, academic franchising. Arguably, before the emergence of academic tutoring, education was conducted conventionally, conforming to a strict curriculum that might have varied from one country to another. However, today, education takes a new business form that is somewhat for-profit oriented and which has infiltrated the academic industry globally and paved the way for multiple market participants. The fact that the topic explores academic tutoring from a franchising lens makes it a business topic.
Besides being a business topic, the current research also qualifies as an applied research subject because it explores a real-life matter prevalent in the contemporary world. Arguably, academic franchising is an aspect that exists in the modern age. Moreover, a few studies have explored this concept and provided valuable insights and developments into the manner in which academic franchising is transforming schooling. While the research topic does not necessarily explore an aspect that has not been studied before, it may add valuable content to the existing literature.
This research will mainly rely on the agency theory as the primary theoretical framework for framing the study. Over the years, the agency theory has been used as one of the prominent theoretical perspectives in business and management research (Payne & Petrenko, 2019). This theory was first developed in economic literature during the 1960s and 70s to determine optimal risk-sharing among different individuals (Namazi, 2013). In essence, the theory was used to evaluate risk-sharing in principal-agent research. However, over time, the agency theory’s domain has extended to the management field, helping determine cooperation between individuals with different goals in an organization and evaluating goal attainment congruence in such entities (Namazi, 2013). The agency theory domain in exploring the principal-agent relationship makes it an ideal theoretical framework for studying franchising because the latter is also based on businesses that operate on third-party licensing. Notably, the theory will provide an adequate basis for exploring issues that arise when the tutoring industry acts as an independent business that grants third parties the right to offer similar services using the entity’s name.
Franchising in Tutoring Industry: A Definition
Before indulging in rigorous analysis and research of franchising effects in the tutoring industry, it is imperative to define this term as used in business. Aurini & Davies (2004) describe franchising as a form of business where a “central corporation sells to a local investor the rights to a name brand and product in exchange for fees and royalties” (p.422). The authors also add that in franchising, the corporate head offices cede the control and discretion for the local operational matters, download most of the financial risks, and receives a share of profits from the local business (Aurini & Davies, 2004). In essence, a franchising business exists where a brand grants a local operator the right to use the brand name in offering similar products offered in the central company in exchange for financial incentives such as royalties. For clarity, Aurini and Davies’s (2004) definition of a franchising business will be used in this research paper to describe the concept in the tutoring industry.
History of Tutoring and Franchising
Studies reveal that private tutoring is not a new concept in the academic industry. According to Davies et al., tutoring began several decades ago, with the number of tutoring businesses growing 200-500 percent in major Canadian cities in the 1990s (cited in Xin, 2019). Davies et al. (2002) argue that the growth of tutoring in this decade was primarily associated with parents’ decreasing confidence in the orthodox education system that was streamlined under the concept of accountability but failed to provide personalized support to students. Therefore, a significant fraction of parents opted for private tutoring for their school-aged children, which enabled students to receive individualized support based on their unique needs.
At the start, private tutoring was mainly done on a small scale and in an informal manner. Aurini and Davies (2004) note that the industry relied on word of mouth to generate business through referrals. Moreover, the individualized studies were conducted in an informal area, either at the student’s or teacher’s residence.
With time, and as a result of the growing demand for the service, the tutoring industry began to transform into a more sophisticated and formal business. Aurini and Davies (2004) note that tutoring gradually became a burgeoning industry market by franchising, corporate strategies, and marketing. Rather than relying on word-of-mouth and pamphlets, the industry grew in nature, necessitating solid marketing strategies. Moreover, the industry began expanding through franchising, a business form that allowed small tutoring companies to jump-start their business at a relatively low cost while enjoying an already established customer base.
To date, several tutoring businesses have been established in the industry to satisfy the growing demand for tutoring services. Studies also show that franchising in tutoring has increasingly become popular for investors, explaining the tutoring companies’ significant public trading (Aurini & Davies, 2004). Arguably, these tutoring companies’ success and popularity can be attributed to the nature of their operations; rather than competing with conventional learning, they supplement national systems, making them more widespread among consumers.
In essence, the existing literature provides an overview of the transformation of the tutoring industry from a small business to a billion-dollar sector. The literature also provides empirical evidence of the considerable growth experienced in the industry since the 1960s. The research also addresses potential factors that drive the franchising tutoring industry’s success, including the low costs of establishment and reduced risks emerging from the availability of a well-established customer base. However, scant literature explores the effect of franchising in the industry, making this area a critical area of study in modern times when franchising and online tutoring is rampant in the academic sectors. Notably, it is essential to examine whether franchises’ growth in the tutoring sector has had a considerable impact on the manner in which learning centers offer private studies. Arguably, this research information will help guide entrepreneurs on what to expect while operating tutoring franchises. Moreover, data gathered from the research will impact the direction of tutoring companies in the near future.
Evolution of the Theory
As noted, this research will be framed on the agency theory. As the literature suggests, the theory of agency was first created by Stephen Ross and Barry Mitnick in 1973, independently and roughly concurrently (Mitnick, 2013). Ross, the first creator of the theory, focused on the economic aspect of the idea. Notably, Ross introduced the study of agency in terms of compensation contracting issues (Mitnick, 2013). In Ross’s view, the agency was a problem that arose from the principal-agent relationship, and the theory was designed to understand this relationship and mitigate the underlying incentive problems.
Mitnick also introduced the agency theory, but he took a different lens relative to Ross. Notably, Mitnick introduced the notion that “institutions form around agency and evolve to deal with the agency, in response to the essential imperfection of agency relationships” (Mitnick, 2013, p.1). Mitnick viewed the agency as an imperfect relationship between the principal and agent because of a lack of incentive for the latter to behave perfectly. Over the years, the agency theory has evolved from its economic perspective to its considerable application in business and management studies, as is the case in this research paper.
This study will mainly rely on a qualitative research methodology. As the literature suggests, the qualitative research method aims to understand underlying reasons and motivations, provide insights into a problem’s setting, and generate ideas and hypotheses for later quantitative research, to uncover prevalent trends in thought and opinion (J.Park & M.Park., 2016). In this scenario, our research aims to gain insight into a prevailing trend in the academic industry. Therefore, qualitative research will be more suitable for the study because it will help uncover the trend’s potential impact through study participants’ opinions and thoughts.
Moreover, the planned research will be exploratory in nature. As the literature suggests, exploratory study, notably in social sciences, consists of an attempt to discover something new and fascinating by working one’s way through a research topic (Swedberg, 2018). Typically, exploratory studies help build on new knowledge in a discipline and bridge potential gaps regarding a particular subject. In this scenario, exploratory research will be conducted with the ambition of uncovering the impact of franchising on the tutoring business and building on the existing literature on this topic.
The planned research mainly focuses on franchising in the tutoring sector. Therefore, the study’s target population will include franchise business owners of tutoring companies because they are more likely to have valuable insight into the manner in which their business practices have transformed the industry. In compliance with qualitative research features, the study will utilize a small sample size of franchise owners; approximately fifty randomly selected participants to represent the general industry. Using a small sample size and random sampling for this study will help maintain low study costs and prevent research bias that may arise from other sampling techniques.
The proposed data collection method for this research is interviewing. Notably, the researcher will interview the selected population, online and physically, to obtain data on the chosen topic. The use of interviews in this research may have numerous advantages, including flexibility and gathering in-depth information. Interview questions used in this research will be open-ended; therefore, they will allow the researcher to pose questions depending on the type of information they wish to gather. Moreover, the interviews’ flexibility will enable the researchers to better understand the subject matter by exploring the study participant’s opinion of the topic and experiences in the industry. In essence, interviews among the participants will allow the flexibility and open-mindedness required in gathering adequate information on the subject.
However, the researcher must also be vigilant of shortcomings of interviews and find ideal ways of mitigating some of them. For example, interview studies are more costly and time-consuming because the researcher must have adequate personnel to conduct the interviews, especially where the sample size is relatively large. Moreover, unlike questionnaires, interview studies lack sufficient anonymity as the interviewer and interviewee must meet face-to-face or talk over the phone. The limited anonymity in this scenario may be an issue of concern among the respondents and deter them from taking part in the study. Moreover, sometimes interviews may be biased, leading to the acquisition of biased and misleading information. Therefore, the researchers must be aware of these shortcomings and try to mitigate them by comparing the obtained data to help identify and eliminate potential biases.
Bridging the Gap
Overall, the knowledge gathered in this course will be vital in completing the planned research. For example, information on theories and conceptual frameworks used for framing studies and qualitative and quantitative research are essential at the planning stage because they helped me select a design and approach to apply in this research. The information that I acquired in the previous course readings is also helpful in choosing a topic that interests me and one in which the results are not predetermined.
However, I feel that I may need additional knowledge in research methodologies to complete this research. Synthesis of information from the existing literature suggests that there somewhat exist different interpretations of the concept of research methodologies. Chu and Ke (2017) note that various scholars have varying understandings and interpretations of what constitutes a research method. For example, Hildreth and Aytac take research methodologies to mean research methods (cited in Chu & Ke, 2017). Therefore, scholars who hold a similar perspective probably consider experiments, surveys, questionnaires, and interviews as the primary research methodologies.
Conversely, from the perspective of other scholars such as Jarvelin and Vakkari, research methodologies are either empirical or conceptual (cited in Chu & Ke 2017). The current variation in the interpretation of research methodologies may create discrepancies in the strategies researchers use in their studies. Moreover, this variation may confuse academicians who wish to conduct replicate studies or expand research in their discipline. Therefore, as a scholar, I feel that additional information and clarity in this area will help me select an appropriate research methodology that future scholars can replicate.
Moreover, I feel that I need additional knowledge on the manner in which to perform interviews and complete the planned research. As noted, interviews have multiple shortcomings, including time-consumption, costliness, biasness, and limited anonymity. Therefore, I might need additional information on the way in which to obtain unbiased information from interviews conducted among the study participants. I may also require adequate data on methods of promoting anonymity during the study, which will help encourage the study population to indulge in the research and reassure them of their personal information confidentiality. Besides, studies reveal that interviews are costly and time-consuming, yet I may have limited time and resources for this research. Therefore, I may need additional knowledge on keeping the interviews cost-effective while still obtaining adequate information on the research subject.
In essence, I plan to operationalize the proposed research to gather adequate data on franchising effects on the tutoring industry. This research’s primary purpose is to bridge the existing gap in the literature regarding the franchising and its growing impact on the tutoring industry since its adoption decades ago. To achieve the research goals, I plan to conduct interviews with industry experts who will provide insights into the concept and uncover some of the industry trends resulting from franchising of the tutoring service. I prefer holding interviews with the study participants because it will help gather first-hand and undistorted information for my research.
While I anticipate the research to be successful, there are a few areas that I will need to learn to ensure that I conduct the study more effectively. Notably, I will require additional knowledge on research methodologies and the most effective way of performing interviews. In my view, this knowledge will help me gather the desired data effectively. The obtained knowledge will also help me design my interviews to target my core interest in the topic and avoid questions that do not align with my research goals. Moreover, information gathered on strategies for conducting interviews will help me maintain a low budget for the actual study while facilitating the collection of adequate data on the research topic.
Aurini, J., & Davies, S. (2004). The transformation of private tutoring: Education in a franchise form. The Canadian Journal of Sociology, 29(3), 419-438. https://doi.org/10.2307/3654674
Castro, B.V., & Guzman, A.B. (2012). From scratch to notch: Understanding private tutoring metamorphosis in the Philippines from the perspectives of Cram school and formal school administrators. Education and Urban Society, 46(3), 287-311. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0013124512439888
Chu, H., & Ke, Q. (2017). Research methods: What’s in the name? Library and Information Science Research, 39(2017), 284-294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2017.11.001
Davies, S., & Aurini, J. (2006). The franchising of private tutoring: A view from Canada. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(2), 123-128. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F003172170608800209
Davies, S., Aurini, J., & Quirke, L. (2002). New markets for private education in Canada. Education Canada, 42(3), 36-38. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ656346
Mitnick, B.M. (2013). Origin of the theory of agency: An account by one of the theory’s originators. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1(1), 1-21. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1020378
Namazi, M. (2013). Role of the agency theory in implementing management’s control. Journal of Accounting and Taxation, 5(2), 38-47. https://doi.org/10.5897/JAT11.032
Park, J., & Park, M. (2016). Qualitative versus quantitative research methods: Discovery or justification? Journal of Marketing Thought, 3(1), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.15577/jmt.2016.03.01.1
Payne, G.T., & Petrenko, O.V. (2019). Agency theory in business and management research. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190224851.013.5
Swedberg, R. (2018). On the uses of exploratory research and exploratory studies in social science. Cornell Education. http://people.soc.cornell.edu/swedberg/On%20the%20Uses%20of%20Exploratory%20Research%20and%20Exploratory%20Studies%20in%20Social%20Science.pdf
Xin, Y. (2019). Exploring equity issues in education: A focus on the rise private tutoring in Canada. Thesis. https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/major-papers/107?utm_source=scholar.uwindsor.ca%2Fmajor-papers%2F107&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages