Choice of Research Strategy
The most optimal strategy of this thesis was interpreted to be one that aims to integrate and modify “best practices” of separate research disciplines and adapt them to the cus-tomer maturity context. The creation of completely new theory regarding customer ma-turity was considered outside the scope and restrictions of the thesis. This motivates a deductive approach. However, the analytical work will utilize inductive thinking as the theoretical construct of the CMAT will be tested in a reality that might or might not cor-respond to the theoretical models, which may have to be modified to receive acceptance in the case company. Nevertheless, the research approach used in this thesis is mainly based on a deductive perspective in how to handle theory.
In order to evaluate the needs from the potential users of the CMAT, as well as identify-ing and operationalizing the different aspects of the model, rich and contextual informa-tion was deemed necessary. This favors the qualitative approach in gathering and ana-lyzing data for the analysis.
A strategy influences and guides the organization, but it will not achieve the projected benefits if it is not executed properly; in this thesis the research design represents the tactical choices made in the formulation of the research strategy. It provides a frame-work that guides the research by structuring the data collection method(s). Some of the research designs described by Bryman and Bell (2003) are; Experimental, Cross-sectional, Longitudinal, Case study and the Comparative designs. The research design should be effective in providing data and information for solving the research question while operating within the “worldly” constraints of the researcher(s) (Ghauri and Grönhaug, 2005).
Upon reviewing the available types of research designs from a number of theoretical methodology collections the case study type was found to be most appropriate for col-lecting data relevant to our research question.
A case study enables the researcher to conduct an in-depth investigation of the pheno-menon that is the topic of research by focusing on one single organization or case. The focus of the study is according to Bryman & Bell (2003) to enable an intensive study of the phenomenon within its own environment. Including the context of the phenomenon into the study enables multiple variables to be identified which allows for a richer data pool and analysis, but significantly raises the complexity of the study. This often re-quires the study to utilize multiple data gathering techniques in order to cover enough of the applicable variables (Yin, 2003).
According to both Bryman & Bell (2007) as well as Yin (2003), case studies are well equipped for both quantitative as well as qualitative methods, and a combination of both. A case study can also contain elements of a longitudinal study, this occurs when a researcher returns to the case environment(s) on several occasions and during a pro-longed time (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Yin (2003) describes six main types of case studies in a 2×3 matrix. The first factor tar-gets however the study features on a single or multiple cases where a singular case of-fers more in depth data gathering and multiple cases offers a wider spectra of environ-ments to observe the phenomenon. The other axel in the matrix describes the main goal of the research; exploratory, descriptive or explanatory (causal).
Exploratory case study
In an exploratory case study the researcher sets out to collect data and impressions be-fore the actual research purpose is defined. By observing a phenomenon within its con-text the researcher may discover new theory. An exploratory case study is often seen a prelude to another study, the phenomenon or data observed in the exploratory case study may reveal a need to enhance the study to a more formal or reform it to something completely different from a case study (Yin ,2003).
Explanatory (descriptive) case study
Compared to an exploratory case study the research problem featured in an explanatory case study can be considered structured and well understood. The first main task of the researcher is to produce a well designed research strategy and design to solve the semi-structured problem. Operationalization of the relevant data and its measurement is another important part of the researches work. Key characteristics of explanatory re-search are: structure, precise rules and procedures (Ghauri and Grönhaug ,2005, Yin, 2003).
Causal case study
Causal research is characterized by well structured problems and ‘cause and effect’ is-sues within the problem formulation. The main task for the researcher is to investigate the relationship between cause and effects within a population of concepts and variables (Ghauri and Grönhaug, 2005).
Choice of research design
By using a single case study method to organize the research several advantages will be available compared to using other design methodologies. A singular case study will en-able a sense of familiarity to grow with the case organization and enable a more in depth investigation of the context surrounding the company, their needs and the characteristics of their customers. The research method will be characterized by an explanatory case study method as the supplied problem is structured and has already defined applications and context. This choice of research design will however limit the generality of the re-search but was deemed the most appropriate design in order to fulfill the purpose of the research.
If the research strategy and design correspond to the strategic and tactical choices in the thesis, the research method chapter relates to the operational activities associated with the research process and data collection in the thesis. This subchapter covers four main parts; the method of selection for the case company, the data collection method and the methodology guiding the literature survey. The fourth part explains the analysis work.
Setting-up the case study
The company selected for the case study was a pure selection of convenience. The com-pany is an IT consultancy firm located close to the school and had expressed wishes to have a CMAT designed in collaboration with the school. This enabled the data collec-tion to be performed in a corporate environment with a high degree of motivation and cooperation in order to finalize the research which enabled longitudinal data collection with a high level of detail. The downside is that the empirical data will be completely based on the attitudes and knowledge of a single company, the benefits of a single com-pany case study was however deemed more important in order to complete the purpose in a reliable way. No other organization was contacted to serve as a source of empirical data.
Literature survey methodology
There are many reasons to conduct a thorough literature review prior and during re-search work. Some arguments that has been presented regarding heavy literature review to be included in the research process are “all qualified research build on prior know-ledge” (Ghauri and Grönhaug, 2005, p.52) and “research must be fully integrated with existing literature at all stages” (Sharp and Howard 2002, p.22). It was early recog-nized that the main purposes of the literature review were to change during the evolu-tion of the thesis. The literature survey work was divided into three main phases, early, mid and late thesis work.
During the early period of research work, focus lay on establishing a broad understand-ing of maturity in the context of organizations and IT. The initial study was conducted in line with the recommendations from Ghauri & Grönhaug (2005) where they advice the usage of already published research for framing the problem, identifying relevant concepts and positioning the study.
After the initial positioning and framing of the thesis the literature review held the func-tion of distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done and discovering important variables relevant to customer maturity within the thesis context. This was done in accordance with the reasoning from Hart (1998) on how to build on previous knowledge when starting a literature survey. This part of the literature review forms the main bulk of knowledge incorporated in the CMAT model. The literature used were identified by building on a few keywords related to maturity and by a “snowball” refer-ence search for other cited articles within interesting aspects of organizational and cus-tomer maturity. Chunks of knowledge or models that were supporting or building on each other were grouped and represented in the model as concepts. One of the main points of this phase in the literature review was to identify and map theories regarding the different aspects of customer maturity where the theories supplied the thesis with a language and definitions to discuss maturity from several dimensions. This is mentioned in Sharp and Howard (2002) as one of the most important parts of the literature review work and allows the researchers to incorporate already existing models and knowledge into the CMAT without having to “reinvent the wheel”.
The third main purpose of the literature review in this thesis was to build on previous knowledge regarding how to operationalize and measure the validated concepts in the CMAT tool. This was mainly done by reviewing previous measurements published regarding the concepts included in the CMAT or by operationalizing concepts fetched from theory in cooperation with the case company during the analysis. The feedback provided by early researchers greatly helped in quantifying or defining different maturi-ty levels and indicators from concepts that are measureable. By consulting previous re-search regarding the operationalization of concepts in the CMAT, the research-ability of the thesis were strengthened (Hart, 1998).
Data collection methods
Data collection can be a tedious and time consuming part of the research process, Sharp and Howard (2002) claim it to be the one of the decisive activities in the research process and needs to be planned and managed accordingly. Sharp and Howard (2002) argue that empirical data must first be located before collection and then arranged be-fore analyse can commerce. Sharp and Howard (2002) also propose a data checklist to be consulted before and during the data collection activities in order to ensure a high quality of data:
• The data actually measure what they purport to measure.
• The proper attention was paid to measurement error and the reduction of its ef-fects.
• A suitable sample was used, in particular.
• That the conditions under which the data were gathered were properly noted.
• That suitable data recording methods were used and efforts were made to detect and eliminate errors arriving during recording.
Data used in analysis, especially in evaluating by qualitative methods needs to be ga-thered in both a feasible context as well as in a way that does not unnecessary disrupt the data. In many cases the data must be captured in such a way that it requires conver-sion before it can be used in any form of academic research. In many cases it is also dif-ficult to directly measure the sought variable or phenomenon in empirical data’s con-text. In these cases a surrogate variable needs to be developed, validated and deployed in order to conduct a measurement Sharp and Howard (2002). In order to capture the da-ta needed for analyzing the content and operationalization of the CMAT as well as enabling direct feedback regarding the surrogate measurements the main bulk of data collection were decided to be done by interviews.
Table of contents :
1.2 Problem Formulation
1.3 Presentation of purpose statement and research question
1.5 Interested parties
1.6 Definition of key concepts
2.1 Research strategy
2.1.1 Relation between theory and research
2.1.2 Qualitative or quantitative stance on data
2.1.3 Choice of Research Strategy
2.2 Research design
2.2.1 Case studies
2.2.2 Choice of research design
2.3 Research method
2.3.1 Setting-up the case study
2.3.2 Literature survey methodology
2.3.3 Data collection methods
2.3.4 Choice of data collection method
2.4 Analysis model
2.4.1 Literature perspective
2.4.2 Thesis perspective
2.4.3 Company perspective
2.5 Evaluation of the choice of method
2.5.1 Method evaluation techniques
2.5.2 Reliability and validity discussion
3 Theoretical Framework
3.1 IT Maturity
3.1.1 Strategic Context and Patterns of IT Infrastructure Capability
3.1.2 Information Technology Architecture Capability Maturity Model (IT ACMM)
3.1.3 Level of infrastructure homogeneity
3.1.4 IT Maturity model for IT Maturity based on the literature review:
3.2 Process Maturity
3.2.1 Process maturity discussion
3.2.2 Process maturity model based on the literature review:
3.3 Cultural Maturity
3.3.1 Readiness for change
3.3.2 Organizational attitudes
3.3.3 Cultural maturity model based on the literature review:
3.4 Business Governance Maturity
3.4.1 Change management maturity
3.4.2 Knowledge management
3.4.3 Service level agreements
3.4.4 Business metrics
3.4.5 Strategic alignment
3.4.6 Strategic planning
3.4.7 Project management
3.4.8 Business Governance Maturity Model based on literature reviews:
3.5 Customer maturity model based on the literature review
4 Empirical Data
4.1 General feedback from the interviews
4.4 Business governance maturity
5.1.1 IT capability:
5.1.2 IT architecture
5.1.3 IS/IT homogeneity
5.2.1 Business process maturity
5.2.2 Business process management maturity
5.3.1 Organizational attitudes
5.3.2 Change readiness
5.3.3 Employee background and Skills
5.4 Business governance:
5.4.1 Change management
5.4.2 Business management
5.4.3 Project management
5.4.4 Knowledge management maturity
5.4.5 Business strategy:
5.5 Customer Maturity Analysis Model
5.6 Customer maturity analysis model structure analysis
5.6.1 Alternative #1: CMAT based on integrated culture
5.6.2 Integrated Customer Maturity Analysis Model
5.6.3 Alternative #2: CMAT based on culture as a separate perspective
6 Conclusion and Reflections:
6.2 Main contributions of this thesis
6.3 Implications and propositions for future research
6.4 Reflection on choice and quality of theory
6.5 Reflection on practice and analytical work:
6.6 Reflection on the CMAT and conclusion
7 References .