Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Criteria for Selecting a Researcher

Criteria for Selecting a Researcher

The criteria for selecting a researcher are:

* Cost
* Expertise
* Objectivity
* Time commitments
* Ability to understand the organization’s needs
* Research objectives

Priorities should be kept fairly flexible as all are fairly important but dependent upon the company's needs. For example an individual or group and internal or external researcher or team will depend on the size of the company, their skills and abilities as well as time required to perform research. While continuing and ongoing research may be easy for internal workers to assume it might be difficult during peak sales periods. Cost itself should be an important factor and if a company can not afford to do some external primary research then one has to wonder if they really have made a serious commitment to pursuing export trade.

Equally time will play a role and can be quite fortuitous for any available external researchers. While internal researchers are easily knowledgeable about a company's operations, are accessible and accrue internal expertise they are often prone to the psychologically influencing effect s of group-motviated biases. For example, if members of Canadian multinational companies make the assumption that their needs for external intelligence are next to nil they will miss out and lose market share opportunities that their competitors will gladly take.

If the thinking is internally we are fully competent to do international trade research than many more companies should/would be international or global in nature already. The very nature of corporate culture is isolating and often provokes the kind of company decline witnessed at GM Motors. There is a great book about these kinds of corporate disfunctionalisms. Manfred F.R. Kets De Vries explains in his book, "Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane: Essays on Irrational Organizations and Their Leaders" some aspects of internal biases related to best practices in gathering good intelligence.

Of course after reading this book it is easy to suspect that some Canadian companies make most of their money completely by accident!

Finding the right agency might require matching your research or budget requirements and requiring the agent to submit a proposal. More often than not management will provide the management and questions relating to performance and delivery and continue to review the project if it is at all lengthy to make sure it maintains focus on management decision requirements.

I am surprised (not really) that individuals in specific countries with specific skills and experience are not listed as useful research providers for companies in Canada! Something Canadian Embassies might consider doing, posting CVs for relevant skilled individuals in specific countries available for research assignments and eager for JV work experience. Making such recommendations external and competitive is not a Canadian trait IMHO.

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