Method and data collection
This chapter explain how we conducted the collection and analysis of data in this research. We present relevant concepts and philosophies and evaluate these with the aim to fulfil the purpose of this thesis.
The reasons for conducting a research study is to increase the knowledge and gain better insight into a distinct problem through a systematic research approach (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). In order to conduct a profound research, it is necessary to distinguish the two concepts methodology and method. In the research, the methodology works as the underlying assumptions and believes of the authors. Based on these believes, a suitable method is chosen in order to collect data which will support the study. In contrast to methodology, the method refers to how the process and analysis of data will be conducted (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012).
To further proceed with this research, it becomes crucial to deepen the knowledge of different research philosophies in order to find the most suitable for the purpose of the thesis. According to Saunders et al. (2012) and Bryman (2012) the philosophy of interpretivism contains observation of human behaviour and their social life, emphasizing strongly on the emotions and values. When we explored the barriers which firms are faced in regards to BMI it was more fruitful for us to use the philosophy of interpretivism since the behaviour and opinions from managers play a critical role. Upon the utilization of interpretivism scholars state an important aspect to keep into consideration that one might be tempted to generalize peoples’ thoughts through assumptions (Saunders et al., 2012; Bryman, 2012). As earlier mentioned in our delimitations a generalization cannot be drawn from this thesis, and thereby avoiding the issue altogether.
Continuing from the suggested research philosophies one needs to proceed with a rightful approach. There are several approaches at hand and Saunders et al. (2012) suggests one of the following three: deductive, inductive, and abductive. The deductive approach is according to scholars conducted by first developing a theory and secondly creating a hypothesis to be later tested. In contrast, the inductive approach begins with collecting data, later applying theory based on the findings from the data collection as well as analysis. The third approach, abductive, is a merge between the previously two mentioned approaches. Facts and data are first gathered to identify patterns to help either develop a new theory or adding to the existing literature. This approach implies that one might either start with collecting data and finding suitable theories to apply later or reversed, being with a theory to pursue a conclusion secondary (Saunders et al, 2012). For the usage of an interpretive philosophy one might use both a deductive or inductive approach. For this thesis, an abductive research approach has been utilized as both deductive and inductive approaches are present. The primary step has been by a deductive approach to isolate theories within BMI. As a result, three main barriers have been identified from existing literature. Thereafter, we found a gap in existing literature of overcoming barriers to BMI through dynamic capabilities in subcontractor manufacturing firms in Jönköping’s county with three case studies. Hence, an abductive approach was utilized.
In order to collect the data most related to our purpose, we used a technique called citation pearl growing. This means that we started with a few articles and used the keyword and references from these as a base to find additional articles (Smith, 2012). We started investigating strategic management, this led us towards business models. Due to business model is a widely research topic, we specified our search towards BMI. We followed a call for more research from (DaSilva Trkman, 2012) who request more research regarding change and innovation in the business model but also how a business model can become a source of competitive advantage. In order to create an interesting research question considering the limited time span, we decided to focus on factors which constrains BMI in a specific industry and how dynamic capabilities could help the companies overcoming these constrains. The keyword we used in our literature search was: Business model, Business model innovation, Dynamic Capabilities, Barriers to business model innovation and Business strategy. With these keywords, we found relevant journals and articles and identified the most cited and influencing scholars. In the research, we used databases such as Scopus, Primo and Science Direct. Furthermore, we used the library of Jönköping’s university in order to find physical books and document during the project. We also evaluated the articles through Scopus by comparing the total number of citations, we used this information as an indicator of the reliability of the article. Additionally, we took advantage of the human capital of both the library staff but also from our tutor which guided us through the literature on business model and dynamic capabilities.
There are multiple ways to collect data for a research and it is of great importance to choose a suitable approach for the specific subject. Data collection could be distinguished in two ways by focusing on numeric or non-numeric data. A quantitative study is conducted through the collection of any numeric data such as statistics or graphs. In contrast, a qualitative study is based on the collection of non-numerical data from such as interviews, pictures or videos (Saunders et al., 2012). In order to understand the underlying assumption and receive data supporting the purpose of this study, a qualitative approach has been utilized in this report. Although, a qualitative study has potential disadvantages such as, normally smaller sample size which makes it hard to do generalisations. In addition, due to the non-numerical data it is difficult to make systematic comparison which increase the risk of misjudgements (Saunders et al., 2012). These disadvantages are taken into consideration during the study, however a qualitative study remains the most appropriate method as it allows a degree of flexibility and an increased understanding of the underlying assumptions which suits the purpose of this thesis.
Bryman (2012) argues that there is a strong relationship between the use of case studies and qualitative research because of the common use of unstructured interviews and observations. Hence, Bryman (2012) adds that case studies are applicable to collect data for both qualitative and quantitative research. Collis and Hussey (2014) further explains that case studies are associated with interpretivism due to the observation of human behaviours and values. According to Saunders et al. (2012), a case study is efficient and appropriate to conduct when the researcher needs to gain a more in-depth understanding of the chosen subject. Furthermore, according to Yin (2014), case studies are efficient and applicable when the authors have limited control over the events and the purpose is to gain a deeper understanding of a real-life phenomenon and answering “How”, “What” and” Why” questions. However, with case studies, there is a discussed problem regarding the generalization and external validity. As the data generated from a case study is specific to the cases, the findings cannot be used to generalize, for example, an industry or other relevant cases (Bryman, 2012). This can be considered as a weakness with the use of case studies. Hence, the findings in this study could be used for merely suggestion of practice in the subcontractor manufacturing industry. Since the purpose of this thesis to explore dynamic capabilities as a source of BMI in manufacturing subcontractor SMEs in Jönköping County, we found case studies the most suitable approach for our research. Due to the exploratory approach, this study will not provide conclusive evidence, but instead help the reader to a better understanding of the topic. We wanted the possibility to ask follow-up questions and have a flexible approach during the research. Hence, an explorative research was utilized in this study.
Single and multiple case studies
In the research field of case studies, scholars have outlined two different varieties, single and multiple case studies (Bryman 2012; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012; Yin 2014). A single case study is when one specific organisation is investigated to develop a deeper understanding of this organisation. Consequently, a multiple case study is when the researcher investigates two or more objects for the same study. After the collection of data, the researchers can compare the multiple objects with the chosen lens to find similarities and differences. Bryman (2012) argues that a multiple case study will provide a more reliable research due to the comparison of multiple companies. However, in a single case study there is a deeper investigation of one organisation, which could result in a better understanding of that specific case. Conducting a multiple case study will generate better insight into the industry and have analytical benefits when comparing the results (Bryman, 2012). With the use of a multiple case study for this thesis, we anticipate to receive a better insight into this industry and decrease the risk of biased answers which would be problematic for the results.
Criteria for case selection
In our study, we made use of a multiple case study with three different companies operating in the same sector with strong similarities in employee count, revenue, location and product. These three companies are used to find similarities and difference in how they utilize dynamic capabilities in order to identify and then overcome potential barriers for BMI. We interviewed at least two candidates from each company, one CEO/Manager and one employee to receive a better insight of the case company and further decrease the risk of biased answers.
Following, we provide a brief overview of the firms display that all of them have met the requirements for this thesis. Due to non-discloser agreements, the firms have been given the pseudonyms Alpha, Beta and Delta and for further continuation limited firm specific information is shared in order to not reveal any sensitive information.
Interviews are the collection of primary data where the participants are asked questions in order to get a better understanding of the respondents’ thoughts, values and actions (Collis & Hussey, 2014). There are many different research approaches conducting interviews, but the most common one is structured interviews (Bryman, 2012). Structured interviews have a predetermined structure of questions. As a result, all the participants will be asked the same questions during the interviews. Resulting in the identification of differences in the answers are easier to detect and without any follow-up questions, there is less need for interpretation the excess data. The second approach for conducting interviews is the unstructured approach. This approach is informal in the sense that there is no predetermined structure of the interview. The respondent can talk freely and there is a restricted amount of closed question. This approach is suitable when the aim is to get a deeper understanding of the respondent and there is no need for comparing the different interviews in a structured manner. The third approach is a combination of these two approaches. A semi-structured interview consists of a base of predetermined questions, however, there is room for further explanation and follow-up questions with the aim to get a more qualitative contribution to the study (Bryman, 2012). Utilizing the interpretivism philosophy, we found it suitable to conduct semi-structured interviews which enabled room for flexibility but simultaneously, a structure throughout the event with key questions to ease the compilation of the data collected from several companies. Furthermore, receive a deeper understanding of the organisations capabilities by allowing the interviewee to speak freely about a certain topic. However, in order to generate fruitful follow-up questions, a better understanding of the field is necessary. Due to this, we scheduled the interviews after we conducted the literature review to have more knowledge in the research field of BM and dynamic capabilities.
For the interviews with the CEO and branch manager, we used face-to-face interviews. Conducting a face-to-face interview have many advantages compared with other interview techniques, such as telephone, email and Skype interviews. During a face-to-face interview, the interviewer can easier observe the reaction in the participants’ body language and eliminating the possibility to hide behind a device (Bryman, 2012). Researchers state that only seven percent of the received message is perceived through the actual words (Mehrabian, 1971). Therefore, body language and tone of voice have a superior impact in the received message and to decrease the risk of misunderstanding, we strongly believe face-to-face interviews will generate more rich data. Previous studies also show that data collected from telephone interviews is inferior compared to face-to-face interviews, participants seems to be more enthusiastic and generate more comprehensive answers during a face-to-face interview (Holbrook, Green and Krosnick, 2003). However, we conducted the complementary interviews with the employees via telephone due to the time-limit and travel costs. An advantage with telephone interviews is that the interviewers have easy access to supporting document which could make the answers more accurate (Bryman, 2012). In order for the interviewers to feel more comfortable and elaborate the answers more freely, we held all interviews in their native language.
Bryman (2012) suggested that the formulation of questions is critical in order to extract the rightful information from ones conducted interviews. There are currently many generic rules and procedures to use in an interview, nevertheless, there is of course no specific right way to conduct them. Scholars though suggests that one should evaluate how to ask the planned questions to retain the optimal result from a semi-structured interview (Saunders et al., 2012). Moreover, Saunders et al. (2012) and Bryman (2012) present three different types of questions which may be used when conducting a semi-structured interview: open, probing and specific/closed questions. The different questions could further be explained as follows. Firstly, open questions commonly generate rich answers meaning that they will often include long informative pieces of knowledge, these questions often start with what, how or why (Saunders et al., 2012). Secondly, probing questions work in the same manner as an open question but instead direct the applicant to further elaborate on the initial question and reveal further useful information (Dale, Arbor & Procter, 1988). The probing question might be used in a situation where the respondent has issues understanding the initial question and needs further information to answer (Bryman, 2012; Saunders et al., 2012).
Thirdly the specific and closed questions are linked with a structured interview, for which the goal is to obtain certain or isolated information. It is important to note according that such closed questions will perhaps result in biased answers as the applicant will be restricted in fully elaborate their opinion (Bryman, 2012). In order to receive data suitable for the purpose of this study, a semi-structured interview has been utilized using a combination of these three different questions, allowing the applicant to a certain degree answer freely but still create coherency between the sessions.
Data Collection size
For the thesis, a sample group of seven interviews was selected, three was CEO or Branch managers and four employees working in the production of the companies. By collecting data from both top management and employees we could triangulate the finding with theory and previous research in the field to receive more righteous data. As mentioned, the three manufacturing companies in Jönköping’s county have strong similarities in many important aspects of this study, for example, turnover, employee count and product produced. As we explored dynamic capabilities as a source of BMI and how dynamic capability can help these companies to identify and then overcome barriers, it was vital for the result of the study to interview companies which operates in similar industry and have experienced similar external forces. The data size collected in this study could be seen as limited, however we believe the data is representable for the three companies due to the strong similarities in structure between them. If there would be more dissimilarities between the chosen case companies, a more comprehensive data collection would then be necessary.
Table of Content
2. Frame of reference
2.1 Business model
2.2 Distinguish Business model from business strategy
2.3 Business model innovation
2.4 Business model innovation constrains
2.5 Dynamic-capabilities view
2.6 Developing of a theoretical framework
3. Method and data collection
3.2 Research philosophies
3.3 Research Approach
3.4 Literature search
3.5 Research design
3.6 Data Collection
3.7 Quality Criteria
3.8 Case Analysis
4. Empirical findings
4.1 Company description
4.2 Managerial capabilities
4.3 New Technology and Innovations
4.4 Human resource
4.5 Summary of Findings
5.1 Managerial capabilities
5.2 New technology and innovations
5.3 Human Resource capabilities risking rigidity
7. Discussion and implications
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Barriers to business model innovation An explorative multiple case study of subcontracting manufacturing SMEs in Jönköping Count