In order to build the management-research question hierarchy, through the investigative questions stage, one must first ask what the management’s dilemma is that is requiring a research study. After reading the National Cash Register Country Club case, it is clear that the management’s dilemma is due to the fact that the National Cash Register Country Club’s membership is low and management is looking for feasible ways to increase membership. NCRCC is looking to increase membership due to the fact that AT;T had purchased National Cash Register Corporation and gave them an interest free loan of 4 million dollars in order to tear down the original clubhouse and replace it with a brick colonial-style clubhouse (Cooper, 2014). One of NCRCC management’s goals is to create a newfound interest in the social membership aspect of the club in order to bring social membership up.
The second goal of the NCRCC management is to increase golf memberships to at least 680 members. However, management has been having trouble finding meaningful ways to increase membership over the long term. In order to solve the issue of the management dilemma, management needs to come up with management questions on how to remedy the dilemma. Two questions in particular come to mind. The first being, how can NCRCC increase membership? The second being, why is NCRCC having difficulty in attracting new members? Now that the management’s dilemma and management’s questions have been laid out, the next step is to define the research questions.
“The first steps of any study are developing the research question, aim and objective. Subsequent steps develop from these and they govern the researchers’ choice of population, setting, data to be collected and time period for the study. Clear, succinctly posed research questions, aims and objectives are essential if studies are to be successful” (Doody, 2016).
What are the best options for management to remedy the problem of declining membership? This can be answered by focusing the researchers attention on certain research questions that seek to identify possible courses of action. What factors are causing a lack of interest in membership? What does the membership numbers look like at other similar country clubs in the area? What are other similar country clubs doing in order to increase their membership? Is there anything that management can do to increase interest in the NRCC during the golfing offseason? Is the level of service up to par with other comparable country clubs? Obtaining answers to these questions would give management a good idea on where to focus on making improvements. The McMahon Group was hired to assist NCRCC’s strategic planning committee with strategic planning. The McMahon Group found that: “‘Historically, NCRCC has a 7 percent penetration rate among NCR employees. NCR’s employee pool was trending smaller, providing continuing downward pressure on NCRCC membership,’ explained Vain. ‘With membership segments of NCR retirees (1/3 of members) and current NCR employees (another 1/3 of members) getting less numerous each year, only the segment comprised of non-NCR affiliates provides an opportunity for growth.
NCRCC needs to become a stand-alone club to survive'” (Cooper, 2014). One problem that management faces is that NCR’s employee numbers are decreasing. This is causing the number of members included in the 7% membership rate to decline as well. This poses a problem for NCRCC to only rely on NCR membership to expand. NCR needs to look into opening up the country club membership pool to include non-NCR employees. The McMahon Group also found that the possibility of expanding the country club’s offerings to include services for children, a swimming pool, fitness area, tennis courts, and other similar amenities would help attract new membership. Expanding the country clubs offerings will help increase the perceived value of the country club’s membership during the golfing offseason. McMahon Group needed to conduct a survey of a focus group in order to collect information to investigate the best course of action for increasing membership.
The McMahon Group conducted a survey of a focus group. This focus group consisted of 43 members, seven nonmembers, and 12 employees. The survey found that overall, members’ felt that they were not receiving the benefits and service that other similar country clubs offered (Cooper, 2014). This survey helped the McMahon Group narrow their focus in order to find ways to improve the country club and the overall experience of members by asking members several different investigative questions. These questions included members overall satisfaction with the country club, what the focus of the country club should be, why each member joined the country club, and members’ satisfaction with country club employees and management. Upon reviewing the results of the survey, it is apparent that the majority of those surveyed thought that a enlarged bar/lounge and improved driving range was of most importance.