Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Methodology and Expected Results


Objective: Explorative Theory Development Research
This research can be described as explorative theory development research. Reason for this approach is the emergence of a relatively unknown research topic, Web 2.0. Although there is research on value creation in e-Business (Amit 2001), we can expect differences with this research findings because of developments in e-Business. According to Ultee (Ultee 1991) theory development research can be used when some theoretical research is already done, but new developments on the topic brings up new questions, e.g. to what extent is the theory still applicable? The research questions are defined by dividing the objective in research sub-questions and core definitions according to Verschuren and Doorewaard (Verschuren 2003).
Findings of this research contributes to Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Theory on value creation in e-Business.

Qualitative Research
This master thesis will be based on qualitative data and research methods. The reason for this decision is that it is an in-depth insight approach by which backgrounds and processes, in a relatively unknown and unexplored topic of value creation in e-Business, can be described. Working with qualitative data is flexible and leaves room for subtle interpretations. The essence of this type of research is a continuous interaction between observation, analysis, and reflection on the findings (Vermeulen 2004). Significant difference with quantitative research is working with text instead of working with numbers. In-depth research gives the opportunity for detail and findings that are less to generalize. Reason for this approach is that the topic is unclear, complex, and less information is available.

Research Strategy: Well-founded Theory Approach and Case study
Well-founded Theory Approach focus is on framing (development) of a theory. It makes it able to contribute to Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Theory development on value drivers in e-Business (Verschuren 2003). With this approach a continuous comparison with theories (e.g. Amit and Zott 2001) and findings is possible, to explore new developments and extent literature. This pure qualitative approach has similarities with case studies (Verschuren 2003). A case study of one or more Web 2.0 companies provides data that cannot be found in theoretical data and secondary data. This strategy can extent our theory development and findings of Well-founded Theory Approach.

Sources of Information: Persons, Media and Literature
In this research on of our major sources of information are persons. With persons I refer to people who provide us knowledge about Web 2.0, Business Models and Value creation. These people can bes een as Experts. You can think about, venture capitalists, professors and experts in the field of e-Business and Web 2.0. The main advantages of this source is diversity of information and the speed of acquiring information (Verschuren 2003). Under persons can also be understand the people within a Web 2.0 company who provides information about the company and it’s underlying business models and value drivers.
The second source of information is Media, the information source for a broader audience. Many articles are written on the new stage of the Internet, and although most of them are written because of a buzz, they can provide new insights. Especially New Media (e.g. weblogs, web journals) provide information of experts in the field of e-Business.
The third source is Literature, e.g. papers, articles and magazines. An advantage of this source is that this information source can provide in-depth specific knowledge. For instance for this research Amit and Zott’s paper on value drivers (Amit 2001) gives information on value drivers in e-Business before 2000. Instead of looking to ‘static’ business models we follow the business model concept of Amit and Zott (2001), which enables us to address a unique set of questions pertaining to value creation that cannot be sufficiently addressed by prior frameworks. Through the advent of virtual markets, a firm’s scope and its boundaries become less clear, and through the impact of sophisticated information technology, strategic analysis of e-business ventures will have to move beyond the traditional conception of the ‘firm’ as the unit of analysis.

Research Method: In-depth-interviews, Theory and Media Research
One of the research methods used in this research are in-depth-interviews. A depth interview can be described as an unstructured, direct, and personal interview, by which the respondent is being asked for underlying motivations, convictions, attitudes and opinions (Naresh et al., 2003). Interviews with web 2.0 companies, internet entrepreneurs, internet experts, and e-business professors provide up to date information about this relatively new phenomenon.
By creating a weblog for this master thesis, valueweb2.blogspot.com, I enable a dialogue with experts (e.g. professors and internet entrepreneurs) on the internet and partner up with other writers. Besides to the fact that this initiative is pure Web 2.0, by sharing my findings online, this initiative, combined with theory research, media research and interviews should provide enough information of Web 2.0 to further develop Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Theory on Value Creation in e-Business.

Expected Results

This research will give more insight in the next stage of the Internet. It will show that Web 2.0 is not only a buzz word, but that there are underlying values that are changing the landscape of our business (models). One of the expectations is that I can improve and/or update the value drivers emergence model of Amit and Zott (Amit 2001). I expect new value drivers, or a few value drivers that will be more important in this stage of the Internet. A contribution to value creation theories and business model theories in the field of a combination of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management is then delivered.

Another expectation is that this research provides a clear overview of what Web 2.0 is and what, not only entrepreneurs and companies, but also the internet users, can do with it. Providing more insight in value drivers and business models in Web 2.0 enables internet users, companies and entrepreneurs to adopt and prepare to take advantage of opportunities in this next stage of the Internet.

Amit, R. a. Z., C. (2001). "Value Creation in E-Business." Strategic Management Journal 22: 493-520.

Ultee, W. (1991). How classical questions were enriched. In persuit of progress. An assessment of achievements in Dutch sociology. A. Becker. Amsterdam, Siswo publication 355.

Vermeulen, P. (2004). Conducting qualitative Research. Rotterdam, Erasmus Universiteit.

Verschuren, P. a. D., H. (2003). Het ontwerpen van een onderzoek. Utrecht, Lemma BV.

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