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Journal Article

Googling Companies — a Webometric Approach to Business Studies  pp93-106

Esteban Romero-Frías

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

So far Internet studies have focused mainly on using website content for gathering business information, however web hyperlinks have not been exploited enough for business purposes yet. Webometric techniques are based on the exploitation of information contained in the hyperlinks that connect the different documents contained on the Web. Webometrics could be considered as a new discipline that applies bibliometric techniques to the quantitative study of the Web, but also a discipline that progressively develops its own concepts and methodology. So far studies in this field have focused on academic and scholarly web spaces; however this methodology is equally applicable to commercial sites which are more predominant on the Web. This paper is intended to show how webometric techniques could be applied to business and management studies. Therefore, it describes a number of basic concepts and techniques and the way in which they have been applied to these fields so far. Firstly, some studies found that the number of links pointing to companies' websites correlates significantly with the business performance measures of the entity. This finding suggests that links to a website could be used as a timely indicator of business performance. Secondly, the examination of co‑links, which refers to webpages that links two business sites simultaneously, have been used for competitive intelligence purposes. These studies are based on the idea that the number of co‑links to the websites of a pair of companies is a measure of the similarity between them. For instance, this similarity measure between companies in the same industry can provide information about their competitive positions. Finally, motivations for the creation of hyperlinks to business sites could be analysed through a content analysis approach in order to get confirmation about the business relevance and nature of links. This view complements the quantitative perspective to link and co‑link research, providing a brand new approach to business studies.

 

Keywords: web mining, webometrics, business intelligence, business management, internet studies

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009 / Dec 2009  pp1‑116

Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina

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Editorial

The 8th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management attracted a wide range of papers. The conference fell naturally into four main themes: introducing relatively new techniques, in depth description of application of accepted research methods, overview of the whole research process and attempts to deal with intractable problems. The final selection of papers was agreed both the editor of the Journal and the editors of the conference proceedings, Joseph Azzopardi and Frank Bezzina. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM.

The quality of the papers was particularly high and the selection of those papers for the Journal presented a difficult choice. 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 and to represent the four major themes of the conference.

The papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The papers proposed a number on new and unusual methods, including Psychogeography ( Knowles) and webometrics (Romero‑Frias). Both of these papers focused on explaining the technique and its appropriateness to business research. Techniques dealt with in previous issues were also well represented including mixed methods (Ryan); Grounded Theory (Noel & Kamyangale); REP Grid (Klaus). Several papers offered some valuable insights into key steps of the research process including audit trail (Carcary) and data collection problems and interpretation ( Iacono, Brown and Holtham; Rasmussen, and Heiko; Heiro and Reetta). The paper by Brooke and Parker introduced a new dimension (spirituality) to the philosophy of business research. One paper offered an intriguing review of leadership research (Mortimer).

 

Keywords: brand identity, brand personality, business intelligence, business management, business survey, critical management, essential self, fact-based, feminist research methods, focus groups, Foucault, grounded theory, health care professionals, higher education, information systems, information technology, internet studies, interpretivist paradigm, interview, leadership theory, London, longitudinal case work, luxury brand, meaning and work, methodology, multicultural data collection, nonresponse, organisations, organisations audit trail, organizational culture, participant observation, philosophy, Protestant Ethic, psychogeography, qualitative data, qualitative online research, qualitative research, qualitative research methods, regional development, religion, Repertory Grid Method, research confirmability, trustworthiness, research design, research methods , research strategies, safety in the field, self-selection, SMEs, spirituality, steel trading case, transferability, Web 2.0, Web minin

 

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