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

The Development of an Evaluation Framework for Partnership Working  pp1-10

Maurice Atkinson

© Sep 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

This paper describes the outcomes of the "Action Planning" stage of an action research project utilising a search conference for the purposes of organisational development. The aim of the project was the design of a methodology to facilitate the evaluation of the complexities of working in partnership and to assess the extent to which collaboration actually adds value in terms of both process and outcomes. The research centred on multi‑agency partnership working within Children's Services Planning (CSP) in the Southern Health and Social Services Board's area in Northern Ireland. The resulting evaluation framework contains seven interconnected dimensions with associated sub‑ dimensions and assessment criteria. The framework is underpinned by the concept of a virtuous circle formed by evaluation, learning, improvement, measurement, and back to evaluation.

 

Keywords: Evaluation, evaluation framework, partnership working, collaboration, action research, Children's Services Planning, Health and Personal Social Service

 

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Journal Article

Active Exploration of Emerging Themes in a Study of Object‑Oriented Requirements Engineering: The "Evolutionary Case" Approach  pp29-42

Linda Dawson

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

The evolutionary case approach provides a framework for qualitative case study research in information systems (IS). It uses revelation, reinforcement, reflection and re‑examination to explicitly explore emerging themes in interpretive case study research. The method is based on the progressive development of a theoretical model grounded initially in the literature and then refined using sequential case studies grounded in practice. The method addresses the gap which often separates data from conclusions in qualitative case study research by documenting the "revealed" and "reinforced" changes in the theoretical model as it evolves from the empirical data. The paper provides an illustrative study of the use of models in object‑oriented requirements engineering to demonstrate the use of the evolutionary case approach.

 

Keywords: Case study, action research, qualitative, object-oriented, requirements engineering

 

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Journal Article

Action Research: Intertwining three exploratory processes to meet the competing demands of rigour and relevance  pp111-124

Gertjan Schuiling, Derk Jan Kiewiet

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp71 - 167

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Abstract

For decades, scholars have questioned whether it is possible to conduct research that is both relevant to practitioners and empirically sound. This is the very challenge faced by researchers at Dutch universities of applied sciences. In this paper we build on the findings of an action research project into the research practices of a Research Centre at a Dutch university of applied sciences. We found that action research (AR) works best when conceptualised as three intertwined processes: (1) a joint inquiry with practitioners aimed at improving their actions and reflections on their own practice; (2) a collaborative review with (representative) practitioners and management researchers aimed at conceptualising the issue and process of the joint inquiry; and (3) making a contribution to academic theory through a published paper building on theory related to the specific content and process of the inquiry. This paper will argue that this triple process structure can encompass the Lego AR project—one of the few published in a leading academic journal—as well as new conceptualisations of practice research (Goldkuhl, 2011, 2012) and meta‑action research (Fletcher et al., 2010). As such it can be of value for all researchers looking to balance the competing demands of rigour and relevance.

 

Keywords: practice-based research, practice research, action research, meta-action research, Triple Process Structure, process levels

 

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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

Researching Organisational Change in Higher Education: A Holistic Tripartite Approach  pp150-161

Dr Lois Farquharson, Dr Tammi Sinha, Susanne Clarke

© Oct 2018 Volume 16 Issue 3, Editor: Ann Brown, pp103 - 172

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Abstract

In the UK context, it is important to acknowledge that there are multiple change drivers in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that result in a proliferation of foci. Gornitzka (1999) and Allen (2003) suggest that the distinctiveness of governance, professional autonomy and the tradition of academic freedom in HEIs should be reflected in change processes, and therefore traditional frameworks for change could be adapted in an attempt to research and manage change. This paper explores how theoretical and practical tools for managing and researching change can be integrated in order to support change, whilst reflecting on the methods used. The journey of the authors towards the development of a holistic framework for researching and supporting change in Higher Education (HE), with a focus on two HEIs, is explored. The synergies of Lean Management (Wincel and Krull, 2013), Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider and Srivastva 1987), and Participatory Action Research (Greenwood et al, 1993) are examined through three stages of practice‑based fieldwork to establish their positioning within a holistic tripartite framework for researching and supporting organizational change. The benefits and challenges of this framework are discussed with attention to the importance of future research to provide more evidence of the impact of this framework.

 

Keywords: Appreciative Inquiry, Organisational Change, Lean Management, World café, Story-telling, Participative Action Research.

 

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Journal Article

Activity Theory used as an Analytical Lens for Business Research  pp212-228

Raphael Kamanga, Patricia (Trish) M Alexander, Fredrick Kanobe

© Dec 2019 Volume 17 Issue 4, Editor: Ann Brown, pp192 - 243

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Abstract

Activity Theory is used in this paper to demonstrate the process of critical analysis of qualitative data from two case studies. The paper explains the elements of an activity system (the subject, object, outcome, mediating tools, rules, community and division of labour). Thereafter, practical examples from the work of two recent PhD students are used to show the importance of identifying and analysing activities that are found either in the introduction or the current use of information systems in business organisations. These examples highlight the applicability of Activity Theory in analysing data from projects of interest to Business Management whose topics and contexts are very different. The first focusses on the introduction of an Accounting Information System to microbusinesses in a low‑income community in South Africa and the second focusses on Information Security Management in Mobile Network Organisations in Uganda. The examples illustrate the value of Activity Theory as a lens and as a way of stimulating critical analysis. Activity Theory is known for its ability to identify reasons for failure or disappointing performance in existing situations by highlighting contradictions either between different activities, between an earlier version of an activity and a later version as the activity evolves, or within an activity (between the elements of that activity). However, as shown in the first example, it can also be seen as a useful tool when proposing a new project as a predictor of success. Despite the fact that data is typically qualitative, the analytical process related to Activity Theory can be structured, which assists novice researchers or those unaccustomed to interpretivist analysis to uncover insights that are not immediately obvious. Activity Theory is said to act as a lens in data analysis and is particularly useful in organisational sciences for the theorization of technology‑mediated organizational change.

 

Keywords: Activity Theory, contradictions, analysis of qualitative data, technology-mediated organisational change, Accounting Information Systems, Information Security Management, participative action research, case study

 

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Journal Article

Charting a Clear Course Through the Methodological Jungle: Lessons About PAR from and for Simulation‑Based Educational Research  pp229-242

Suzaan Hughes, Frances Scholtz

© Dec 2019 Volume 17 Issue 4, Editor: Ann Brown, pp192 - 243

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Abstract

Many argue that technology brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers new opportunities for student learning. In order for educators to use technology with wisdom, in‑depth longitudinal research using rigorous methodological approaches is needed to understand the opportunities and challenges of including these technologies in management education. Therefore, educational researchers are challenged to design research projects to collect data from multiple sites over several years using various methodologies. This article examines strategies used by the researchers to design and implement a research project employing a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach that combined qualitative and quantitative data from two universities across several years. The research project was specifically designed to study learning using a business simulation. The article describes the research project including the various data collection points and analysis methods. The purpose of this article is to bridge the theory‑implementation gap enabling educational researchers to consider the design of a comprehensive research project as well as identifying key challenges and practical suggestions for using PAR.

 

Keywords: Participatory Action Research (PAR), business simulation, education, qualitative research, quantitative research, methodology

 

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Journal Article

Gender Reflexivity: A Missing Element from Action Research in Information Systems  pp50-58

Teresa Waring

© Jan 2002 Volume 1 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 58

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Abstract

Much of the literature on AR in IS appears to have forgotten its radical roots and its subjective epistemology. More rigorous, mechanistic approaches and control mechanisms are continuing to emerge rather than more insightful and innovative methods of interpretation and reflexivity to facilitate making sense of the research. AR is a methodology, like ethnography, that involves people and as such is subject to organisational power and politics that can have dimensions of age, race, social class as well as gender. This paper argues that action researchers involved in information systems development should become more critical in their approach and provide insight into their research by avoiding linguistic reductionism and sanitised stories that remove the struggle, conflict and injustice inherent in all organisations involved in change. This can be done in a variety of ways. One such approach is by developing and presenting stories that are interpreted through different lenses that reveal to the reader new dimensions in the research. The lens used in this paper is a gender lens.

 

Keywords: Action Research, Information Systems development

 

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