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Designing and Conducting Business Surveys by Diane K. Willimack, Jacqui Jones, Gustav Haraldsen, Ger Snijkers

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Chapter 2

The Business Context and Its Implications for the Survey Response Process

Diane K. Willimack* and Ger Snijkers*

As we saw in Chapter 1, businesses are different! And because they are different, researchers who use surveys to collect data from businesses need to be aware of and consider these differences when designing and conducting business surveys. Survey techniques commonly accepted and used in surveys of households and individuals may be inappropriate for collecting information from businesses; they may require some adaptation to the business setting to be effective, or they may not work at all. This is of utmost importance to survey organizations that conduct business surveys, in order to design and carry out survey and statistical procedures that result in high-quality economic statistics while containing costs for both survey organizations and businesses. To achieve this goal, one must first understand the basic fundamentals and behavior of businesses, as well as how people behave within businesses, that is, at work, versus how they behave in their personal lives.

In this chapter, we begin by identifying a number of attributes of businesses and their behaviors, and describe their implications for survey response. We also discuss some perspectives of organizational effects on how people behave within a business, as well as how work gets done. In Section 2.2, we introduce a high-level model of business survey response processes. We synthesize a variety of perspectives ...

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