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2. Background

Honda is renowned as one of the most successful worldwide automobile producers, which provide engines and corresponding parts for industrial and utility customers all over the world. It is a company known for producing, marketing and manufacturing a number of auto-mobile related products that range from small scale engines and automobiles to special SUVs (Sakiya 2007:67). Moreover, it has maintained consumer’s loyalty and satisfaction. Since the company’s establishment, it has gone through various stages in order to introduce new products and improve the existing ones. The company has distribution centers and other assembling areas, including production sites all over the globe, in order to maintain the pace and counter the high competition, which it faces from other automobile manufacturers such as Toyota. This has also been done to enhance profitability and improve the profit margins. This made Honda Motors become one of the biggest leading automobile producers in the world. In the United States, the company has established distribution centers, which work to ensure that consumers are satisfied, and the high rate of competition is resisted (Sakiya 2007:67). In terms of business, the study will be carried out to analyze the major challenges, which the company faces in production, marketing and selling. Moreover, it has to be established whether the company has been successful in its course since its inception, and how this has happened. From a personal point of view, the research will be done to establish the basic competences, which one requires to become successful, especially in the field of international business with respect to marketing, production and distribution. This will help understand the significance and/or the whole process that entails international business in the above mentioned areas.

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3. Preliminary Review of the Literature

In order to come up with the conclusions in regard to the topic of discussion, critical analysis will be carried out in various ways. First and foremost, the company’s newsletters and other practical literature produced in the company will be studied. Additionally, different sources such as libraries, internet and resource persons will be consulted on issues regarding the company. To be specific, the selected business literature will be exclusive in respect to the subject of discussion, and different sources will be used to come up with the overall conclusion (Kothari 2007:45). For instance, The New York Times (different editions) has a number of articles about the Honda Company that would help a lot in establishing facts about the corporation. Recent newsletters produced by the company relating to its financial competence, management, strategy and other business plans will be of considerable use in extracting facts about the business course of the company. This means that if it is possible, all the accessible materials produced by the company including financial statements and business plans, courses and advertisements will be considered to ensure that the retrieved information is substantial, relevant and in line with the requirements of the topic for discussion. Moreover, the most up to date research of business experts and economists will be considered, especially from their points of view on the company’s position, both fiscally and in relation to its competitors.

From a review of the latest research, it is found that Honda is one of the leading automobile producers in the world, especially in the United States. It was established in April, 1984 in Japan as one of the best motorcycle producers in the world (The New York Times 2012). It is a company, which majors in the production of automobile engines, their corresponding components including spare parts and the machines themselves. Apart from production, the company markets and distributes its products to different consumers from all over the world. This is one of the strategies, which the company has put in place to ensure that it counters the strong competition and enhances the consumer’s loyalty and satisfaction. It is estimated that the company produces a figure of 3.5 million motorcycles per year (The New York Times 2012).For many researchers, this shows that the company is able to maintain healthy competition in regard to its competitors such as Toyota and other smaller auto-mobile producers (Sakiya 2007:65).

With the above mentioned facts, particular theoretical insight has been established in the position of the company and the corresponding relevance of the chosen literature. The competence of the company and the way it has majored in the industry are the main motivating factors that guide the study and help formulate a universal conclusion. Based on the book Principles of Marketing, it has been established that the company’s ability to run and control the distribution and production centers is the driving factor in its success and popularity. It is stated that business success is brought about by the proper management of business activities, including transparency and accountability. In the United States, the company has a good share of the overall market concerning motorcycle riders and users of other related engine-based domestic appliances such as lawn mowers (Sakiya 2007:63). Moreover, in terms of marketing, Forbes Magazine (Trefis Team 2012) listed the company as one of the most significant business promoters. It is known that a number of key sales in the company depend on the marketing strategies, which are put in place to ensure that consumers have perfect knowledge and are fully aware of the company’s products on the market. Therefore, it can be established from the retrieved information that the company has been in the automobile industry for a long period of time, and it has done much to combat the competition faced from other companies. Moreover, in line with the topic of discussion, the available literature regarding the company show that the company’s courses of action are considerably determined by the loyalty of consumers and their corresponding response to the products and newly introduced automobile components (Lewis 2009:224). 

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4. Research Question and Objectives

The research will be carried out under the general research question: how is Honda Motors Company able to prosper in the automobile industry despite the strong competition and various challenges that are present in the industry? Correspondingly, other research questions and/or objectives have been established in order to formulate the best conclusions from the study (Gilham 2000:168).

First of all the marketing and overall business strategies, which the company has put in place to ensure that it thrives and gets to the top, must be critically evaluated.

Secondly, the company’s approach to promote its products in the U.S. market and globally in respect to the competition rate should be assessed.

Next, it must be analyzed how much the policy measures put in place have been advantageous for the success of the company and/or the best outcome.

Finally, it is to cross-examine the challenges that the company goes through in its endeavors, the corresponding impacts on the performance of the company and its related operations. If the above mentioned objectives can be realized soon, it is most obvious that they will contribute to the solution of the overall research question, which is the aim of the study. 

5. Methodology and Research Methods

In order to arrive at the best conclusions in relation to the topic of discussion, case study methodology will be employed. This is part of the overall research design that is used to show the roadmap for achieving the objectives and the research question. Therefore, the method was chosen in perfect consideration because of the relevance it holds over the fulfillment of the objectives.  It will be put into use due to the similarity of units in the Honda Motor Company.

Research Strategy

In relation to the research question, one will not be required to study all the units in order to come up with the best data. The chosen units include consumers, suppliers of raw materials, competitors, the staff and management team. They were studied profoundly in terms of context (McNeil & Chapman 2005:234).Moreover, a more extensive, deep focus and holistic approach will be used to dig into the information provided by individual units. It is anticipated that results from the selected units will be credible and easy understandable in relation to the other units. This will be mainly done to economize on the available resources and save time. Variables will be drawn from the received data and used to weigh the similarities of the quantitative and/or qualitative received data. Using the case study method is considered to be the best even if it requires too much time and includes a number of resources. In essence, studying the behavior of the above items will not be as easy as it seems because it includes face to face interviews, telephone calls, answers to questionnaires and observations. This makes the method of research quite detailed, despite the fact that it offers the perfect solution in such a case. In close reference to the questionnaire, it will be designed in such a manner to ensure that all the valuable and required information is retrieved from the respondents (Kumar 2005:74).It will be difficult to approach them directly due to the nature of the chosen units; a strategy will be employed to ensure politeness and etiquette during the interviews and observation. For each separate unit, a different form of collecting data will be used. In detail, due to the fact that the questionnaire will be used for a large number of respondents, the questions will be designed in different ways to capture the exclusive information only and without leaving out any detail.

Research Design

As the research design is aimed at the collection, processing, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data, the employed techniques and methods will be inclined to support the same. In terms of justification, if the research is successful, it will provide guidelines on the right strategy and marketing procedures for prospective business persons. This will act as the practical significance of the research, which will help in the development of knowledge. In the data collection methods, there are some challenges that represent stumbling blocks to the success of the research. This includes the fact that most managers are unwilling to respond to the questions of researchers. Moreover, some end up giving false information on figures and other areas of interest. Therefore, the retrieved information cannot be relied on and is not valid (in relation to the company).With this kind of data; it is a hard task to make any generalizations as they will be based on false information. Moreover, some respondents do not return the questions, and others are even affected by the language barrier. This is not a good course to take for the research. However, despite the challenge, the questionnaire method was considered to be the best because it is easy, accessible and can be used on a widespread basis. The information can be made reliable ensuring that the information is provided on the specific objectives of the research. In order to enhance the validity, the questions will be structured in such a manner that is neutral and intends to get general information from the respondents (Johnson 2010:54-56).

Research Philosophy

For the purpose of avoiding explicability, different units of study (the sample population) will have different questionnaires. Therefore, in the long run, the retrieved information can be generalized easily, and conclusions can be drawn from it. It can be administered by everyone (trained enumerators) and structured or unstructured depending on the researcher (Kumar 2005:101).Unstructured questions are usually known as open ended, and they give the respondent a wide range of answers to choose. On the other hand, structured questions entail the questions, which limit the scope of respondent’s answers and leave him/her with three options: either yes, no or I do not know (Bell 2004:39). Unstructured questions are preferred as they do not restrict the respondents and cannot compel them to cheat easily. On the contrary, structured questions limit the respondent and may compel him/her to lie sometimes despite the sensitivity of the needed data. Compared with the interviewing method, the questionnaire does not need expertise in administering. Additionally, it does not take a lot of time. Interviewing requires dedicating one’s time to interview the respondents and record the findings instantly in order to avoid bias (Weinberg 2009:16). That is the biggest disadvantage over the questionnaire method. In comparison with the observation technique, questionnaire does not take a lot of time. They are simple and require little time compared with the observation method. Thus, this is the rationale of choosing the questionnaire method for the study.

Data Gathering Activity

Details of Sample

Purpose

Method of Data Analysis

Which Research Objective This Data Informs

Quantitative data

To extensively label the literature review to aid in depth knowledge.

To describe and evaluate the findings in terms of relevance

To use the available information retrieved to help assist in presenting the findings.

In essence, all the objectives will entail the use of quantitative methods

Qualitative Data

To ensure that the number of study units selected from the consumers, staff and competitors is balanced.

To help assist gaining insight into organizational culture.

To develop theory out of the collected data.

All the objectives will evolve by carrying out and exploring qualitative data.

Figure 1. Methodology and Research Method 

6. Ethical Considerations

In essence, the key ethical issue appearing in the research was confidentiality. Confidentiality is mainly concerned with how privately the retrieved information is treated in the hands of the researcher (Gregory 2003:24). It is expected that all the information retrieved from respondents is treated with high confidentiality in order to avoid any problems with privacy intrusion. In this case, Honda Motor Company is an automobile producer, and any information regarding it should be dealt out among the stakeholders. Therefore, it means that any little piece of information in relation to the company should be treated with confidentiality. In this research, all the respondents will be anonymous, and the provided information will be treated with the necessary confidentiality and availed to the relevant and concerned authorities. To be exact, the figures got from the staff and managers will be kept up with privacy, and disseminators of the same information will be considered as anonymous. In business, if such information leaks, it may bring the down company being in the hands of competitors. Therefore, privacy and information processing regarding different businesses with high confidentiality are upon all researchers and other experts in the business world (Penslar 2005:13). 

7 Planning and any special resources required

The whole study is expected to last for three months given the sufficient resources needed for the research. Case study takes time and is detailed. Thus, the required resources should be put in place to ensure the best results of the entire process. Stationery will be needed in the right amount, as well as emergency funds must be available. Method of analysis will be prepared, and the presentation mode will be also identified. 

Time

Weeks

Activity

February

1-2

General research

 

3-4

Literature review

March

1-4

Research methodology

April

1-4

Data collection

May

1-4

Data analysis

June

1-4

Analysis and Discussions

July

1-2

Conclusions

 

3-4

Typing references

August

1-3

Proof reading

Figure 2. Gantt chart 

In order to fulfill the above mentioned tasks, reliable and appropriate resources will be put in place to make that the research successful and lead to the development of knowledge.

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