The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

Grounded Theory and the 'And' in Entrepreneurship Research  pp85-94

David Douglas

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

The paper puts forward the researching of entrepreneurship through the application of grounded theory methodology. Like much business and management research it contends that entrepreneurship research should both embrace the complex processes of enterprise activity and the inherent contextual factors that effect entrepreneurial behaviour. Accounts from other fields of social inquiry have conveyed the worthiness of grounded theory in phenomenological studies. The paper considers grounded theory methodology against the canons of accomplishing worthy social (scientific) inquiry. It addresses grounded theory as a means of emphasising how socially constructed experience is created and given meaning. It concludes that the requisite properties of grounded theory whilst addressing the principles of substantive social inquiry, as in entrepreneurship research, with some contextual and methodological considerations, offers an inductive approach to revealing complex characteristics of enterprise management, and potentially other business areas of inquiry.

 

Keywords: Grounded Theory, Research, Naturalistic, Canons, Entrepreneurship

 

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Journal Article

Pragmatic Research Design: an Illustration of the Use of the Delphi Technique  pp133-140

Trevor Amos, Noel Pearse

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp123 - 216

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Abstract

The creation of wealth is an important issue in any society, and entrepreneurship is regarded as an important catalyst in the creation of new wealth. This presents a challenge to develop entrepreneurship successfully. An important site for the development of entrepreneurship is higher education. The challenge however, is that there is a lack of a general understanding on how to educate students for entrepreneurship. In addition, current thought and practice on entrepreneurship education is historically biased, implying that graduates are essentially prepared for the past instead of for the future. From the perspective of higher education, the problem is how to develop current students to be entrepreneurial in the future. What is needed is to project into the future and then to develop an understanding of what should be taught as well as how it should be taught today. A versatile research technique that can assist in achieving this objective is the Delphi technique, as it is used to conduct futures research or research into areas where knowledge is incomplete. The Delphi method is a type of group interview, using the collective opinion of knowledgeable experts. The technique makes use of several rounds of data collection and feedback to create a consensus of opinion. Making use of the Delphi technique, research is being designed that will formulate expert‑based strategic guidelines on entrepreneurial education within the South African higher education sector. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the research design considerations that arise in the use of the Delphi technique for this purpose and how they are addressed. The main characteristics of the Delphi are presented and arguments for the use of the Delphi within a constructivist paradigm are discussed. Practical issues related to the design of the Delphi, panel‑member selection, and the formulation of panel questions, are examined. In illustrating these design considerations, the paper demonstrates a pragmatic approach to research design as well as the importance of creating coherence between the research question, the research paradigm, the research method and its use, encouraging research practitioners to adopt a more systematic, deliberate and philosophically‑based approach to research design.

 

Keywords: entrepreneurship, Delphi technique, higher education, entrepreneurial education, innovation, research design

 

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Journal Article

A Grounded Case of Enterprise Acquisition  pp63-72

David Douglas

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

To gain ‘real world’ understanding of the managerial approach adopted in an established small business when taken over by another entrepreneur from that of it’s predecessor. The research highlights perceptual differences internal stakeholders (employees and the new owner) have regarding the business and the managing of it. Illustrated are the commercial consequences that can ensue from the change of ownership of an established enterprise through to the managerial style perceived appropriate by a new entrepreneur, and, subsequent employees’ cognitions and behaviours that ensue as reactions to changed managerial practices. Findings are reviewed against existing theories within the fields of entrepreneurship, decision theory and management. Design/Methodology/Approach: Situated within the qualitative paradigm, the unit of analysis being one small (nevertheless complex) organization affords the researcher opportunity to inquire deeply into case study phenomena. The unit of analysis soon develops, through the application of ‘original’ grounded theory methodology (utilizing depth interviews and observations), to being the human interactions of all actors within the organization. Discovering meanings and behaviours across a number of dimensions produces a rich textual account of actors’ perceptions of enterprise events and subsequent repercussions to the business. Findings: Emergent conceptual categories and supportive properties conveyed the new entrepreneur’s limited understanding of the business he had bought, along with his technical, managerial and decision‑making style seemed insurmountable management impediments. Substantive theory that captured the social processes and phenomenological contentions from the grounded theory analysis conclude. Not wholly proffering generalisable pronouncements, the research presents a robust framework for further small enterprise research and grounded approaches to data capture and analysis. Implications: Implications of the study will be of interest to entrepreneur and qualitative researchers, interested in the findings as a contribution to the field, and, the grounded theory methodology applied in establishing ontological ‘groundedness’ of inductively derived at theories. Originality/Value: There is a paucity of such research outside the big business spectrum. Contributes at a ‘substantive’ level by focusing on the entrepreneur’s ‘post take‑over’ management approach, and, at a more formal level through empirical ‘owner‑manager‑entrepreneurial’ research situated within the qualitative paradigm, where a deficiency of ‘depth’ cases remains. And especially for this forum, the findings are the result of meticulous attention to data gathering, analysis and emergent theory building, through the application of grounded theory methodology. Grounded theory has seen limited application to‑date in the small business and entrepreneurship field.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, small business, entrepreneurship

 

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Journal Article

Using Insider Action Research in the Study of Digital Entrepreneurial Processes: A Pragmatic Design Choice  pp85-98

Kisito Futonge Nzembayie

© Oct 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp57 - 141

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Abstract

The field of entrepreneurship is yet to exhaust the gamut of qualitative design choices for use in researching the entrepreneurial process. For this reason, this paper proposes that insider action research (IAR), with its iterative, immersive and emergent form of inquiry, presents a pragmatic design choice for understanding the nature of uncertainty surrounding the digital entrepreneurial process. Since entrepreneurship in the digital context is a highly dynamic and fluid process, IAR appears well‑suited for use in researching the phenomenon. Yet, the paucity of its application in entrepreneurship research, and less so in the emerging digital space, is rather puzzling. Thus, using a real time case study of a new venture creation process in the e‑learning sector, this paper contributes by elucidating how this mode of inquiry might be set up and applied in digital entrepreneurship experimentation. Even though the longitudinal study at hand is still unfolding, the completion of two IAR cycles serves to demonstrate how a symbiotic interweaving of new venture creation and new knowledge production can provide the basis for extracting valuable insights about the digital entrepreneurial process.

 

Keywords: insider action research, researching entrepreneurship, digital entrepreneurship

 

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Journal Article

A Detailed Guide on Converting Qualitative Data into Quantitative Entrepreneurial Skills Survey Instrument  pp102-117

Anastacia Mamabolo, Kerrin Myres

© Sep 2019 Volume 17 Issue 3, Editor: Ann Brown, pp102 - 191

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Abstract

Mixed‑methods research designs are increasingly popular, especially in the management domain because they hold the potential to offset the weaknesses inherent in mono‑method, qualitative or quantitative designs. In entrepreneurship research, the domain in which this study is located, mixed‑method studies are conducted mostly according to a sequential‑exploratory design with an aim of developing and validating theory in a single research study. In some studies, the qualitative phase is used to develop a questionnaire, which is more common. However, the actual process of converting qualitative data into operationalised constructs and survey items is usually not clearly articulated. This creates an opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of the process of transitioning from a qualitative to a quantitative study. This paper proposes such an approach, using an example of a study of the skills entrepreneurs use to start and run their businesses. In the qualitative phase, interviews were conducted with 20 entrepreneurs and 6 national experts to discover the skills required by entrepreneurs to start and manage their businesses. Data analysis, using computer assisted qualitative data analysis software, resulted in nine groups of skills considered important in performing entrepreneurial activities. Based on qualitative analysis, the study provides a detailed account of the process of converting qualitative data into a quantitative survey questionnaire, which will enhance the effectiveness of mixed‑methods designs. The developed entrepreneurial skills questionnaire was tested and validated on a sample of 235 entrepreneurs. The article concludes with implications for mixed‑methods researchers who want to develop new instruments, and scholars conducting research on entrepreneurial skills.

 

Keywords: entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial skills, mixed-methods, qualitative, quantitative

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1 / Dec 2010  pp63‑162

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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Editorial

Introduction to the ECRM conference issues

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extraordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 9th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. Papers ranged from those offering insight and help in applying such favorite methods as Grounded Theory (Douglas and Nunes et al) to those introducing new ideas such as the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). Papers fell naturally into fourteen main themes and these formed the basis of the conference streams. The quality of the papers was of such a high level that it was decided to publish two conference issues, A & B.  Issue A has the best papers on: Grounded Theory, Mixed Methods, Reflecting and Researching one’s own professional practice, Research Methods in Business and Research Methods in Strategy‑as‑practice. Issue B has the best papers on: Qualitative Data Analysis, Research Methodology and methodology issues, Teaching Research Methods and Methodologies and Trust and Ethics

The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for these two issues of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research.

Issue A

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Two papers develop new ideas (Valleck, Venkateswaran and Prabhu). Vallek’s paper introduces a relatively new method for researching in that it advocates the use of personal experience through the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). The paper by Venkateswaran and Prabhu claim that their topic ‑ strategy‑as‑Practice is just emerging as a new subject. This is the study of individual and organizational actions in the process of strategizing. The paper gives an insightful view of the problems of taking a holistic view of such actions. The two papers on Grounded Theory could not have been more different in their aims, one (Douglas) shows us how the method can be used to identify the differing perspectives of stakeholders, while the second (Nunes et al) offers a valuable insight into managing the key initial stage of the method through the use of pilot studies. The papers on mixed methods (Papadimitriou, Molina‑Azorin and Cameron) both offer insight into how and when to use this method. Papadimitriou is a helpful paper to others in understanding the MMs approach to research. Whereas Molina‑Azorin and Cameron carry out a survey of the way Mixed methods has been applied in a number of key organizational research journals. The remaining three papers offer valuable insights into key steps of the research process: O'hEocha et al give a review of the use of focus groups from the literature which offers us insight into the value and appropriateness of using this technique. Heine uses an example of analyzing the behavior of a niche group to discuss the twin problems of surveys – that of reaching the target group and then motivating them to respond.  Beck et al address the practical problems of making use of data (on major change projects) over which the researcher has little control as to choice or the conditions within which the collection takes place.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, small business, entrepreneurship, pilot studies, context, research design, multilevel mixed design, quality management, higher education, neo-institutional theory, mixed methods research, strategic management, organizational behaviour, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, subtextual phenomenology; phenomenology; arts-based research; first-person research, transcendental phenomenology, intuitive research, focus group, information systems development, evaluation criteria, luxury products, luxury brands, luxury consumers, survey participant acquisition, survey response, viral marketing, field research, external validity, induction, statistical generalization, theoretical generalization, strategy-as-practice, research methods, strategy research, clinical research, review

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 15 Issue 2 / Oct 2017  pp57‑141

Editor: Ann Brown

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Editorial

ec6b0d90e60fa8dcfba4e184b3080a78Dr Ann Brown is a Senior Lecturer in Information Management in the Faculty of Management at Cass Business School and Associate Dean for the Undergraduate programme. She took an MSc (Operational Research) at LSE while working at the British Steel Corporation as an Operational Researcher. She obtained her doctorate from City University in 2005, based on her work into the problems and potential of Information Systems applications to create Business Value for organisations. She supports a number of IS academic conferences through her work as a member of conference committees. She was a member of the editorial panel for Information and Management until 2008. Her research spans the exploitation of IS in organisations, the application of qualitative research methods and the impact of non traditional Teaching and Learning methods on student achievement, such as activity based learning. 

 

Keywords: qualitative, methodology, saturation, sampling, interview, coding, gerund, data analysis, constructivist grounded theory, whole networks, inter-organizational networks, evolving markets, connected health, network ethnography, anthropological research methods, insider action research, researching entrepreneurship, digital entrepreneurship, Psychogeography, focus groups, career success, gender, qualitative research, corporate culture, CQR, qualitative methods, management research, document analysis, semi-structured interviews, Delphi, Delphi method characteristics, Delphi method variants, Information systems research, Taxonomy, Taxonomy development, Phenomenology, Arts Research, Qualitative Methodology, Alchemy Methodology, arts-based research, Husserl

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 17 Issue 3 / Sep 2019  pp102‑191

Editor: Ann Brown

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Keywords: entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial skills, mixed-methods, qualitative, quantitative, Rigour, trustworthiness, auditability, credibility, transferability, methods pedagogy, TACT, Problem-based learning, teaching research methods, first year UG business students, business research process, thematic analysis, pattern matching, case study research, deductive qualitative analysis, leading organisational change, mixed method, social media research, Q factor analysis, Q methodology, Q study, Experimental Design; Factorial Surveys; Order-effects; Omitted-Variable Bias JEL Codes: C21; C91, Research methodology; Innovation; Technology; Technological change; Management; Crowdsourcing

 

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