In this chapter we will present the outline of the methodology with regards to conducting the research for the thesis. A discussion of the research strategies, approach, and data collecting methods will be presented. The research limitations and validity will also be discussed in the latter part of this chapter.
The purpose for this thesis is to describe and examine the effects of IT on business processes within the independent music industry. In order to achieve this, it is imperative to have suitability structured research method which will is focused on the purpose of the research. An understanding of the various approaches to collecting the empirical data needs to be evaluated in order to strategize a plan best suited for maximising the quality and relevance of the research (Figure 3-1).
There are two major approaches when it comes to creating and testing theories within a piece of research, namely inductive and deductive. Colberg, Nestor, and Trattner (1985, p. 682) define an inductive approach as “a type of argument in which the conclusion follows from the premises only with a degree of probability” and a deductive approach “the conclusions follow necessarily from the premises”. It can be argued that, an inductive approach is a way of discovery how the reality works and tries to create probable theories based on it. A deductive approach on the other hand, sets up a clear idea from the start (a hypothesis), and then tests this in a real situation. Colberg et al. (1985) describes these different working methods as either going from the particular to the general (deductive) or the other way around (inductive) (Figure 3-2).
When a combination of the two approaches is required, it is called the abductive research approach. This has been used in this thesis because existing ‘theory’, in the form of the theoretical framework will be presented as an initial stage, which refers to the deductive approach. However following this, the inductive approach will generally be followed as ‘observations’ in the form of interviews, then ‘pattern’ in the form of analysis of these results. Finally concluding with ‘tentative hypothesis’ which will form as the conclusion and discussion parts of this study.
Salmi (2011) argues that the abductive approach allows a greater level of flexibility and that there is a greater connection between theory, method and practice which is can be beneficial for case study analysis. Therefore, we have used the data collected through the empirical research to reach a tentative hypothesis.
A characteristic of a qualitative approach is, according to Raign (1987), is a tendency to look at cases as a whole, which means comparison of whole cases with each other. This approach has been used in this thesis because the music industry, especially the independent sector, is a wide and broad market with a vast variety of companies to work from. This research has focused on one focal company (Border Music) and looked at the company’s situation as one specific case within the independent music industry, not something general and representative for the whole sector. A qualitative research approach can also gather a wider and better understanding about the company. This presented study can also be used as a sample for comparison for further studies within this field.
Qualitative approaches have the tendency to be historically interpretative (Raign, 1987) and this approach is trying to investigate outcomes over time, within the a specific field, in order to understand its significance in the present. This thesis intends to evaluate the current situation for the focal company, in terms of how IT has affected business processes during the recent years and therefore a qualitative approach is most suited for this study.
According to Bryman and Burgess (1999), qualitative research implies a more inductive approach as opposed to quantitative research which is often linked with a deductive approach. Tacq (2011, p. 289) argues though that “…there is no principal difference between causality in qualitative and quantitative research”. This is because, according to his study, they are both based and supported by a similar fundamental, experimental logic (Tacq, 2011).
There is a time factor to consider when performing the research and there are mainly two ways of approaching this. Longitudinal, involves collecting data over a period of time and a continuous analysis of the changes during this period, or a cross-sectional, that gathers and compares data at a specific point in time.
Rindfleisch, Malter, Ganesan and Moorman (2007) suggests that cross-sectional data is more suitable for studies that examine substantial and external themed concepts that are of a complex nature in terms of the factors and scales. In terms of longitudinal, Rindfleisch et al. (2007) argue that this is most appropriate when the long-term factor of the problem is defined or where other explanations are likely and therefore cannot be examined with a cross-sectional approach.
In this thesis we will utilise the retrospective approach, which is a form of longitudinal method of research. This is because the nature of the data to be obtained covers a period of almost thirty years, from which the firm was created. It was however collected at once in a retrospective manner. A prospective study approach would not be suitable for this study as it requires a study over a future directional period of time, which would not be possible due to the limitations of the thesis (Ott & Longnecker, 2010).
1.3 Problem Definition
1.4 Research Questions
2 Theoretical Framework
2.1 Copyright Industry
2.2 Independent Music Industry
2.3 Business Processes
2.4 Information Technology
3.1 Research Strategy
3.2 Research Approach
3.3 Data Collection Methods
3.4 Research Limitations
4 Empirical Study
4.2 Core Business Processes
4.3 Development of IT within Border Music
4.6 Operational Information .
4.7 Information Sharing
4.10 Connecting Partners
5.1 Effects within the Focal Firm
5.2 Effects between the Focal Firm and Partner Firms
8 Reference List
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IT Enabled Business Process Changes A Case Study within the Swedish Independent Music Industry