Research idea: What research questions are you addressing

Table of Content

Which topic is your idea relevant to? Why is your idea different? What assumptions/propositions/ hypotheses, if any, are you exploring?

The topic for the proposed MBA dissertation is: “A Strategic management study of online banking using Lloyds TSB bank and HSBC bank as a case study.”  The starting point will be contemporary management theories and tools.  Then I will shift the focus on the distinction and integration of operational management and strategic management as stated by Metcalfe in the following terms:

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“Operational management is the implementation of agreed policies.  Strategic management is the formulation of new policies or the redefinition of existing ones. In operational management terms there must be explicit consideration of the structures and systems through which policies are put into practice. The effectiveness of a regulatory management system depends on clear definitions of responsibility and commitment to compliance (rather than primary reliance on enforcement). In more strategic management terms decisions have to be made about who participates in regulatory policy making and how the views of different stakeholders are channelled into the policy formulation process. Operational and strategic management require different capacities but interrelated processes.”  (Metcalfe, 2003).

I will keep the focus on strategic management in the case studies of HSBC-Internet Banking and Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking regarding the development and the sustainability of a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage in their specific market segments.  The main concern about Internet Banking relates to security.  Another area of relevance regarding a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage is business model innovation (Mitchell and Coles, 2003).    In this context, I will deal with the topic of achieving a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage through a security edge against the main competitors.

This research study seems to be very relevant due to its practical implications since many of its conclusions can be implemented not only by HBSC-Internet Banking and/or Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking, but by any other online banking business.  The main reason behind its relevancy it’s the eclectical, epistemological and proactive approach that will guide the spirit of the entire dissertation.  Many different sources will be taken into consideration, especially the concept of Critical Success Factors (Caralli, 2005)  and Key Performance Indicators (Information Builders, 1996-2006; Visitask, 2004-2006), as well as the Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim and Mauborgne,2005), the ASDA Effect in leadership according to the influence of Archie Norman (The Grocer, 2004; Weber and Beer, 1998a; Weber and Beer 1998b), and the high impact on the Quality community by the Toyota Way of conducting their successful business according to the Toyota Production System (The Swiss Deming Institute, 2005).  The proposed MBA dissertation is a very challenging task as it tackles some of the most relevant issues concerning strategic management  with the single guiding idea of helping to develop and sustain a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage either for HSBC-Internet Banking, a division of one of the biggest banks in the world (HSBC Bank) or Llodys TSB-Internet Banking, which is the only online banking service which has been rated with 5 stars by ComputerActive as follows:

“Computeractive magazine recently surveyed six Internet banks and Lloyds TSB Internet banking was the only one to be given a five-star rating.  The survey included Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, Co-operative bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.”  (Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking, 2007).

From all of the above, the proposed MBA dissertation showcases distinct academic features as it takes a multi-disciplinary, multi-dimensional approach with an ample theoretical, methodological and pragmatic framework.  The guiding idea behind this MBA dissertation is stated by Ashoka.Org in the following terms:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”  (Ashoka, 2006).


How do you propose to collect fieldwork data for your project? Are you using a quantitative (e.g. survey, statistical approach, regression analysis, etc.) or qualitative (case studies; telephone, face-to-face, or email interviews; focus groups, etc.) approach? Give a few details about how you would go about this (e.g. roughly how many/what type of organisations/people would you collect data from, etc.)

At the present time, I work on a part-time basis at Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom.  I would like to do research on a division of my current job as it can help me advance in my future career objectives.  I can also have access to HSBC bank’s employees as well. As a methodological framework, I will take into consideration the following theories and tools.  I will take as a reference the guidelines for Action Research, Scientifically-Based Research and the Delphi Method since I am aiming to undertake a qualitative investigation.  For the research design I will use analysis content, case study, interviews and focus groups as methodological tools.  I will have access to a wide array of top executives and top employees in order to apply the Delphi Method on a panel of experts trying to look for a consensus about the ways of achieving a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage, mainly through innovation, leadership, quality, security and business model innovation.  At least I will interview ten top executives and employees from each bank who work on the selected field of inquiry.  In the content analysis I will mostly use online sources, journals, books, newspapers, reviews, etc.  I will also have access to Questia, an online library.  As the hypothesis will be built upon an Internet activity, I will use a wide array of academically-reliable online sources.  All the collected data will be processed through a process of analysis, synthesis and criticism according to their major implications so I can find practical solutions that will spring up from the research findings.  The following is a suggested outline for the MBA dissertation.  Thanks.

*Bibliography: A few key references to articles, books etc. that have actually read and that have stimulated your idea.


  1. Ashoka.  (2006).  What is a Social Entrepreneur?  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  2. Beghetto, Ron. (2003).  “Scientifically-Based Research.”  In ERIC Digest.  ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management.  Eugene, Oregon.  January 25, 2007.   <>.
  3. Caralli, Richard A.  (2005, November 29).  The Critical Success Factor Method: Establishing a Foundation for Enterprise Security Management.  Technical Report:  CMU/SEI-2004-TR-010. The Software Engineering Institute.  Carnegie Mellon University.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  4. Dick, Bob.  (1999).  “What Is Action Research?.”  Action Research International.  Southern Cross University.  Australia.  January 25, 2007.   <>.
  5. HSBC Bank.  (2007a).  “The World’s Local Bank.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  6. HSBC Bank.  (2007b)  “About HSBC.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  7. HSBC-Internet Banking.  (2007).  “Internet Banking”.  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  8. Illinois Institute of Technology.  (2007).  “The Delphi Method.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  9. Information Builders.  (1996-2006).  Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  10. Irwin, Richard D.  (1995).  “Principles of Strategic Management.”  January 31, 2007.   <>.
  11. Kim, W. C., and Mauborgne, R.  (2005).  Blue Ocean Strategy:  How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.  Harvard Business School Press.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  12. Lloyds TSB.  (2007a).  “Lloyds TSB”.  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  13. Lloyds TSB.  (2007b).  Group Information.  26 January, 2007.  <>.
  14. Lloyds TSB-Internet Banking.  (2007a).  “Internet Banking.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  15. Lloyds TSB-Internet Banking.  (2007b).  “Five-star rating for Internet banking”.  26 January, 2007. <>.
  16. Martech International.  (no date).  “Electronic Banking.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  17. Metcalfe, Les.  (2003, December 3).  “Regulatory Management and Governance.”  Bocconi University, Milan.  DG Enterprise Conference on “Impact Assessment in the European Union: Innovations, Quality and Good Regulatory Governance.” Brussels.  January 30, 2007.  <>.
  18. Mitchell, D., and Coles, C.  (2003).  The Ultimate Competitive Advantage of Continuing Business Model Innovation.  Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 15-21.  MCB UP Limited.  (PDF).
  19. Neuendorf, Kimberly A.  (2006, June 7).  “The Content Analysis Guidebook.”  January 25, 2007.  <>.
  20. Pathways. (2004).  “Action Research.”  Learning Point Associates.  North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).  January 25, 2007.  <>.
  21. Philips, Jim.  (1996).  “Bytes of Cash:  Banking, Computing, and Personal Finance.”  February 1, 2007.    <>.
  22. Ryerson University.  (2007).  “The Delphi Method.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  23. Suranovic, Steven.  (1997-2006).  “The Theory of Comparative Advantage – Overview.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  24. Tellis, W. (1997, July). “Introduction to Case Study.”  The Qualitative Report, vol. 3, no. 2.  January 26, 2007.  <>.
  25. The Economist.  (2007).  “Comparative and Competive Advantages.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  26. The Grocer.  (2004, April 24).  The ASDA Effect. In The Egremont Group.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  27. The Swiss Deming Institute.  (2005, April 1).  The Toyota Phenomenon.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  28. Vannini, P.  (2006, April 20).  Notes and Handouts.  Research Design Steps.  University of Victoria, Canada.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  29. Visitask.  (2004-2006).  Key Performance Indicators.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  30. Weber, James and Beer, Michael   (1998a, May 5).  ASDA (A).  Harvard Business School.  9-498-005.  (PDF).
  31. Weber, James and Beer, Michael.  (1998b, May 1).  ASDA (A1).  Harvard Business School.  9-498-006.  (PDF).

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