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 Issue
Volume 15 Issue 2 / Oct 2017  pp57‑141

Editor: Ann Brown

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Editorial for EJBRM Volume 15 Issue 2  pp57‑58

Ann Brown

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Theoretical Data Collection and Data Analysis with Gerunds in a Constructivist Grounded Theory Study  pp59‑73

Teresa Carmichael, Natalie Cunningham

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Towards a More Holistic Understanding of Whole Organizational Networks: Anthropological Approaches in Evolving Markets  pp74‑84

Nicola Mountford, Threase Kessie

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Abstract

As markets become increasingly complex it is more and more important that we understand their underlying market networks. While much research has been conducted into the inter‑relationships and impacts between the firm and the network, less attention has been paid to the study of the whole network itself. Understanding the origins, structures, and potential futures of whole market networks is vital to the understanding of whole markets. This is particularly the case in light of the multiplicity of societal and institutional conditions attached to an increasingly globalized economy. The insertion of technology into incumbent markets such as finance or healthcare causes market and network evolutions that firms must understand if they are to navigate them safely. Traditional business research methods are, however, often locked to the firm perspective through case study approaches, or quantitative network analyses. Despite some recent methods that take a more situated, biographical approach, a bird’s eye view of the whole network remains elusive. Anthropological methods offer assistance ‑ both in making sense of the evolution of the network within the market context, and in understanding the intricacies of such networks. Unfortunately, the concept of network analysis remains disconnected across disciplines apart from some exceptions such as Berthod, Grothe‑Hammer and Sydow’s (2016) combining of social network analysis with ethnographic research methods to produce ‘Network Ethnographies.’ We build on that approach, combining market network research methods with ethnographic research methods, illustrated through case examples from our research in the connected health domain. We illustrate ethnography’s potential for in‑depth capture of network detail, showing how ethnographic methods can be used to understand each player’s position and function within that system, as well as reflecting the life and culture of the whole network. 

 

Keywords: whole networks, inter-organizational networks, evolving markets, connected health, network ethnography, anthropological research methods.

 

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