ARTICLE CRITIQUE 10
Leadership is neither a legacy attained from the family nor ageneric gift but it is an intentional growth process throughexperimental life. Leaders must be ready and willing to abide bytheir character, values and leadership styles. It is essential tonote that ethics is core to leadership and is also considered to bethe heart of leadership. Comprehension of ethics starts withindividuals’ analysis of values. Ethics is the act of doing what isright or wrong (Eisenbeiss, 2012). Effective leaders ought to beaware of their morals, values, ethical decision-making and system ofethics within an organization. Different people have varyingperceptions on teaching ethics and leadership in differentinstitutions (Kacmar, Andrews, Harris, & Tepper, 2013). I seek toevaluate and criticize Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer’s (2011) article,“Faculty’s Perceptions of Teaching Ethics and Leadership inEngineering Education”, where they aimed at understanding theperceptions of the faculty in teaching ethics and leadership inengineering education in the University of Kuwait.
The topic of research was relevant to its intent as Al Sagheer andAl-Sagheer focused on University students both male and female whowere already doing the engineering course. To start with, theresearch did not have a test of hypothesis. Hypothesis is a part ofresearch that is essential in transforming the research questionsinto propositions that can be tested (Barr, Levy, Scheepers &Tily, 2013). It ensures that a research is focused on a particularconclusion. However, the research outlines research questions asfollows:
1. What is the current perception of faculty towards engineeringethics?
2. What are the preferred methods of teaching engineering ethics tostudents?
3. What benefits do faculty members see to a focus on engineeringethics?
Research questions are as important as hypothesis testing inresearch (Ritchie, Lewis, Nicholls & Ormston, 2013). They providethe foundations of the needed types of data towards the achievementof the intended purpose of the study.
Research methodology is a step by step procedure in which a givenstudy is conducted. Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer (2011) used the surveymethod where they employed interviews as the data collection tool.The survey method involves the sampling of participants from aparticular population. Survey study is usually based on thepopulation sample (Creswell, 2013). Therefore, research’s successis determined by the sample representatives’ outcome with respectto Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer interests. Survey method is associatedwith numerous errors, as well as high cost (Wellington, 2015). As aresult, the quality of the research deteriorates significantly. Basedon Wellington’s (2015) idea, I suggest that the use of this methodwas not appropriate as it could easily outweigh the budget put inplace for the entire research and therefore could lead toinefficiencies in the process of the study.
The method and tools of data collection used in every researchdetermine the efficiency of the results achieved at the end of thestudy. Inaccurate collection of data affects the research results andconsequently leads to invalid study results. Al Sagheer and AlSagheer (2011) used interviews as the data collection tool. Theyinterviewed a group of students from the University of Kuwait. Theparticipants were engaged in semi-structured interview, as the topicsof discussion were already set in advance. Semi-structured interviewslimit the interviewee from discussing any other topic outside thealready prepared topics (Englander, 2012). This was a great idea forAl Sagheer and Al Sagheer as they could engage in only the topicsthat contributed towards achieving the goals and objectives of theresearch. Semi-structured face-face interview allows for coordinationin the interview room ensuring that the time horizon for the sessionis met (Irvine, Drew & Sainsbury, 2013). It is vital to focus ontopics that accurately contribute to valid results of the study.
Conducting interviews during research allows physical interactionbetween the interviewer and the interviewee. This allows theinterviewer to inspect the interviewee’s attitudes, feelings andany other physical gestures in the course of the interview whichcommunicate a lot to the interviewer (Wellington, 2015). Theinterviewee’s attitude and physical gesture are essential as theycan help the individual give a broad explanation of the topic ofdiscussion providing more details and understanding of the same(Kyte, Ives, Draper, Keeley & Calvert, 2013). The interviews wereconducted in the seminar rooms and conference rooms. One demerit ofinterviews is that they can be easily interrupted by both theinternal and external environment hence affecting the entire studyresults. With this in mind, Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer ensured therewere no interruptions either from internal or external aspects thatcould arise during the interview. Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer soughtpermission to conduct the interviews after the university’sofficial regular hours.
Simple random sampling was done based on the students’ experienceand knowledge with the given subject. Simple random sampling is amongthe surveying techniques where a sample of individuals is chosen froma given population of individuals and each individual in the samplehas the same probability of selection (Barr, Levy, Scheepers &Tily, 2013). Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer consider this methodadvantageous as there is an assurance of fairness in the sampleselection. Random sampling is an effective technique as it provides aroom for easy assembling and generalization of results. There aresome limitations associated with random sampling technique among thembeing the amount of time needed to get the required list ofparticipants from the target population. There are capital costsneeded for the list retrieval and the bias that might occur in casethe population is not large enough for the full population retrieval(Kogan & Herzog, 2012). In this article, the target populationwas large enough and therefore bias was least expected.
Given that skills on ethics and leadership are essential toengineering and a core subject of engineering, Al Sagheer and AlSagheer were interested in getting the insights from several studentsin different faculty areas including communication studies, religiousstudies and engineering subjects. Al Sagheer and Al Sagheerselected eight members from the faculties for the interview. Althoughthe random approach used in selecting these participants is assumedto be an unbiased survey technique approach, when subset of thesample is not inclusive enough especially in a larger targetpopulation, full population representation needs to be taken care ofto achieve the set goals and objectives of the study (Kogan &Herzog, 2012). I feel that this representation sample wasinsignificant given the population of students in the faculties inthe University of Kuwait. Therefore, there is a high probability ofbiased selection for the participants. Biasness in participants’selection will always result to biased results of the study(Ritchie, Lewis, Nicholls & Ormston, 2013).Generalization of results in this case would be inappropriate sincethe target population is not effectively represented.
Time horizon is vital in every session of the research and to thestudy as a whole (Bell, 2014). Time horizon is the time that isestimated or allocated for the completion of a particular activity.It is important to allocate specific time to every participant of theinterview. Research shows that most of the interviewers prefer shorttime with their interviewees as most of them are unaware of what theyexpect prior to the interview session (Bell, 2014). The interviewees’attitudes are determined by the reception they get from theinterviewer. The attitudes of the interviewees are independent of thenature of questions and or the topic of discussion. The participantsin the study were allocated 90 minutes each. However, in three cases,there were time extensions up to 120 minutes. I feel that the timeslot allocated is convenient enough to provide efficient discussionsof the topics prepared by Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer. However,extension of time in some cases shows lack of seriousness in whatthey were doing. A mindset is a situation that can be hard toconvincing otherwise (Englander, 2012). Remember that eachparticipant knows the time allocated to each individual thus creatinga mindset of the same. This may result in confusion either to theparticipant in the room or to the participant in waiting which caneasily lead to alteration of the expected results. Therefore, astrict time slot allocation is crucial.
Testing of the reliability and validity of the data collected iscrucial to any study. During the interview, Al Sagheer and Al Sagheerrecorded their conversations with the participants after seekingpermission from them. After the interview, pilot testing wasconducted on two participants after whom they wrote a summary ofcomprehensive ideas obtained from the participants. Pilot study isassumed to give the best results if the people used are not part ofthe actual experiment to ensure minimal order effects (Philliphs etal., 2015). Minimal order effects in the participants help inincreasing the validity and reliability of the results (Eisenbeiss,2012). It is my idea that the use of the same participants involvedin the interview could decrease the validity and reliability of theresult provided that Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer did not change theirstudy layout.
Data analysis is another vital step in research. The data analysistool used determines the effectiveness of the results obtained in theresearch. Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer (2011) used the QDA software toanalyze the data they collected during the interviews. They developedcodes and wrote memos pertaining to the codes after which theyconducted an analysis of frequency of the codes. With theincreasingly advancing technology, use of QDA software in dataanalysis has a major impact on any study. The software allows quickmanipulation of data as the researcher can electronically code textbased on the data (Gilbert, Jackson & Di Gregorio, 2014). It alsohelps the researcher to look at the data in an analytical manner thusincreasing its accessibility. The speed of the study is increased bythe use of QDA software allowing for an improved study thoroughexamination. This was an appropriate data analysis tool for theresearch.
It is evident from the article that Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer foundthe students to having varying views and perceptions regarding theissue of ethics and leadership. They sensed differentiated knowledgelevels of different members of the faculty on ethics and leadershipin engineering. Al Sagheer and Al Sagheer failed to inform whetherthere were participants who did not complete all elements of datacollection. They failed to give the number of individuals whocompleted the whole process. The generalization of findings in suchcases is assumed to create a gap in the eligibility and credibilityof the results obtained (Wellington, 2015). The findings indicatedthat several participants recommended some slight changes in theengineering curriculum for ethics and leadership. Others informedthat teaching of ethics and leadership provides a moral impact to thestudents in the faculty of engineering.
Overall, the research methodology adopted here was effective andrigorous, thereby yielding valid and reliable findings. Al Sagheerand Al Sagheer used a survey as the method of research whereby theyused interviews as the data collection tool. They usedsemi-structured interview technique, as the discussion questions hadbeen prepared in advance. They used a diversification approach as away of bias elimination especially based on gender. Al Sagheer andAl-Sagheer used simple random sampling where they selected eightparticipants from different faculties for the interviews. Timehorizon was taken care of in the interview session whereby eachparticipant was allocated a time slot of 90 minutes and extension oftime was experienced in three cases. Pilot testing was conducted ontwo participants to determine the reliability and validity of thedata collected. Analysis of data was done using QDA software in whichthe frequency of codes was analyzed. The analytical analysis of dataallowed for a thorough examination of the research. The findings wererecorded whereby the participants showed varying knowledge levelsabout engineering ethics and leadership.
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