(1) Using descriptive statistics, charts or tables

(1) Using descriptive statistics, charts or tables to describe and summarise the key characteristics of the variables.

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7ECON009W Managing Data

Assignment Brief

Manutan International S.A. is a specialist mail-order business providing industrial and office equipment and supplies to the business-to-business, collective, and public sectors. Based in France, Manutan has built up a pan-European network of 24 subsidiaries in 20 countries, from Portugal to Russia and from Sweden to Italy. Manutan also has a strong online presence with 18 e-ecommerce websites and a workforce of around 1,500 staff. Manutan’s more than 200 catalogues feature over 200,000 items and serve more than 600,000 customers throughout Europe.

While mail-order houses had been in operation in France for many years, they have tended to focus primarily on the consumer market. In 1966, however, Andre Guichard, joined by son Jean-Pierre, set up a company dedicated to providing mail-order services to the business sector. The company’s major innovation was in its choice of goods, that of industrial equipment, especially materials handling equipment.

Manutan quickly recognized the potential of entering other European markets. The company’s first choice was the United Kingdom, where, as in France in the 1960s, the market for mail-order materials handling, lifting, and storage equipment was more of less non-existent. Manutan’s success in the United Kingdom led it to quickly move into a large number of new foreign markets after 1974.

Manutan focused on its mail-order operations until the early 2000s. In 2001, however, the company expanded and established a presence on the Internet, launching its first e-commerce-enabled website. That site later provided the platform for the rollout of 18 websites targeting each of the company’s markets. By 2005, the company had posted more than €1 million in sales through its e-commerce sites.

During the recent global financial crisis, Manutan made a strategic decision not to cut its marketing and commercial investments. On the contrary, Manutan maintained its promotional expenditure, and refocused part of its staff on direct selling, thereby increasing the multi-channel contact with their customers. This strategic insight seems to have paid off: the company recorded revenues of €563 million during the 2010 financial year, an increase of 15.2% over the previous year.

Despite the huge success in European markets, the management of the company in the UK received a number of complaints about wage discrimination against women and ethnic minority groups. The Director of Human Resources Department believes that the wages are mainly determined on the basis of an employee’s education and experience with no consideration of gender and ethnic background.  But he also thinks the best way to clear the allegation is to conduct appropriate statistical analyses. He selects a random sample of 100 employees.  For each employee the following information has been gathered:    

  • Wage: annual wage in pound sterling (£)
    • Education: years of education
  • Experience: years of work experience
  • Gender: 1=female, 0=male
  • Age: age in years
  • Nonwhite: whether the employee is white or not (1=non-white, 0=white)
  • Married: 1=yes, 0=no
  • Union: Union member (1=yes, 0=no)

The data is attached to this assignment.

Assume you are the Director of the Human Resources Department. You are required to prepare a report for the Board of Directors which includes the following analysis:

(1) Using descriptive statistics, charts or tables to describe and summarise the key characteristics of the variables. 

(2) Use two-sample t-test to determine whether there is a significant difference in annual wage between male and female employees.    

(3) Use two-sample t-test to determine whether there is a significant difference in annual wage between white and non-white employees. 

(4) Conduct a multiple regression analysis using wage as the dependent variable and address the following issues:

  • Start with a general model which includes all the variables and then discuss your model selection process. 
  • After controlling for other relevant independent variables, are you able to establish that there are discriminatory employment practices against females and ethnic minority groups at Manutan? 
  • Comment on the final model and fully interpret the results. 
  • Are you satisfied with the final model?  What other variables do you think you should have considered as independent variables?


You can use either SPSS, excel, or any other statistical packages for data analysis. 

If you are not familiar with excel’s data analysis function or how to use the SPSS for data analysis, you may find the following books useful:

  • Pallant, J. (2007) SPSS Survival Manual, Berkshire: Open University Press.
  • Dretzke, B. J. (2009) Statistics with Microsoft Excel.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.  

When writing up your report, you should:

(a) Clearly state the hypotheses for the statistical tests you have used and evaluate your results relative to those hypotheses.

(b) Describe and justify the assumptions you have made for the statistical tests

(c) Fully interpret the results

(d) Attach the computer output to your written report

Word limit:

2000 words (for main report, excluding all graphs, tables, appendices and references)

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