Saturday, March 31, 2007

Nederlandse Thesis Proposal Samenvatting van Waarde Creatie in Web 2.0

Op is afgelopen week een Nederlands artikel geplaatst over mijn Master Thesis over Waarde drijvers en creatie in Web 2.0. Het artikel is hier te vinden.

Afgelopen weken heb ik vele reacties van buitenlandse en Nederlandse bedrijven ontvangen en zo wordt maar weer eens bewezen hoe interessant en belangrijk onderzoek naar Web 2.0 is.

Mijn onderzoek stelt Web 2.0 centraal, als een ontwikkeling binnen e-business die de waarde creatie en toe-eigening van en voor participanten doet veranderen. Het onderzoek gaat met name over de waarde creatie en waarde drijvers in Web 2.0. Het onderzoeksdoel is om de Entrepreneurship en Strategic Management Theorie aan te vullen door eerste inzichten te geven in de waarde drijvers en waarde creatie in Web 2.0.

De centrale onderzoeksvraag hierbij is of de waarde drijvers die we associëren met Web 2.0 verschillen van de reeds bekende waarde drivers in e-business. Deelvragen van dit onderzoek zijn: hoe wordt waarde gecreëerd en toegeëigend als competitief voordeel? Wat zijn de waarde drijvers in e-business? Wat is het verschilt tussen e-business en Web 2.0?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Final MScBA Research Proposal!


Entrepreneurship is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation that reflects the rapid and radical changes that are affecting the global market place. The emergence of the Internet and developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have opened new markets and considerably altered existing ones (Brynjolfsson and Kahin 2002). From an Entrepreneurship perspective, the full economic impact of the Internet and related ICT is yet to be fully understood or empirically tested (Martin and Matlay 2003). Nevertheless, it is increasingly obvious that a shift in entrepreneurial equilibrium is taking place (Matlay and Addis 2003). Although some of the traditional entrepreneurial concepts still apply, much of the context in which related activities are taking place has changed dramatically over a relatively short period of time (Matlay 2003b). Consequently, and in order to capture the economic value that is created within rapidly evolving e-Markets, a new and highly adaptable brand of e-Entrepreneurs has emerged (Matlay 2003a).

E-Business (Electronic-Business) can be described as the new business logic that operates in a world without boundaries. The definition of e-Business as the range of online business activities for products and services, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), through the Internet, is used in this research. This is the definition used by Hoque (Hoque 2000) and OECD (OECD 1998). Accordingly, e-Business refers to the use of Internet technologies for internal business processes (intranet); for relationships (extranet); and for the transactions of goods, services and information (Internet). E-Business is seen in a social context by which interaction aspects also count as a significant part of the use of Internet. E-Business refers to a broader definition of Electronic Commerce, not just buying and selling but also servicing customers, providing an integrated business environment and offering added value services (Turban, Lee et al. 1999).

It is now widely acknowledged that the Internet is fundamental to the digitalisation and that it has the potential to transform the competitive landscape at both Micro- and Marco-economic levels. The Internet impacts upon established practices as well as on new ways of conducing business. It has effected the competitive environment at regional, national and international levels (Norton 2001). e-Business has the potential of generating tremendous new wealth, mostly through entrepreneurial start-ups and corporate ventures. It is also transforming the rules of competition for established businesses in unprecedented ways. One would thus expect e-business to have attracted the attention of scholars in the fields of entrepreneurship and strategic management (Amit 2001). The advent of e-Business presents a strong case for the confluence of the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Research streams as argued by Hitt and Ireland (Hitt 2000) and McGrath and MacMillan (McGrath 2000). Yet, research on value drivers e-Business is sparse. The Literature has neither articulated the central issues related to this new phenomenon, nor has it developed theory that captures the unique features of virtual markets (Amit 2001).

The bursting of the dot com bubble in the Fall of 2001 market a turning point for the web and the companies that created value. Many people concluded that the web was over hyped, when in fact bubbles and consequent shakeouts appear to be a common feature of all technological revolutions (Perez 2002). Shakeouts typically mark the point at which an ascendant technology is ready to take its place at a Center stage. The real success stories show their strength, and there begins to be an understanding of what separates one from the other. Dale Doughtery, web pioneer, and O’Reilly (O'Reilly 2005) noted that far from having “crashed”, the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What is more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common and they introduced the second stage of the Internet: Web 2.0 (O'Reilly 2005).

Figure 1: Meme Map Web 2.0 (O'Reilly 2005)

Joakar and Fish (2006) state a ‘unified view’ of Web 2.0 based on the seven principles of Web 2.0 by O’Reilly (2005), Figure 1, by which the second principle (harnessing collective intelligence) encompasses the other six. This will be the foundation of our used definition of Web 2.0 in this research. Web 1.0 was hijacked by the marketers, advertisers and the people who wanted to push content into the market. The dot com bubble was the end of many who took this approach of the broadcast content. What is left is the Web as it was originally meant to be a global means of communication. The intelligence attributed to the Web (Web 2.0) arises from us (i.e. the collective/people) as we begin to communicate. This approach focuses on the ‘Intelligent Web’ or ‘Harnessing Collective Intelligence’ and deals with the principle of ‘wisdom of crowds’ (Surowiecki 2005) .

Web 2.0 is a buzz word, but the concepts underlying it should be taken seriously: The essence of Web 2.0 is not in the (technology) implementations, but it is in the concepts (Bakker 2005). As far as Baker (2005) is concerned the attention for Web 2.0 demarks the coming of a second Internet revolution. From a technological, organizational and a social perspective, all signs are there that the Internet will become increasingly popular the next couple of years for applications, and in the end the Internet will be the platform of choice for practically all new applications. From a technological perspective, practically all innovation is somewhat related to web based projects or technologies targeted at the Internet. Nobody is developing new products or technologies anymore that are not web enabled. Also, other trends like ubiquitous Internet access and an increasing number of people having broadband wireless, through any device, make that the Internet is at the Center of technological evolution. From an organizational perspective, it is interesting to see that many enterprises have adopted Internet technologies. For instance, Corporate blogging is, from a marketing point-of-view, an opportunity to reach the market in a different, very scalable way. From a social perspective, tomorrow's customers, end users and decision makers are of the generation that grew up with the Internet, and who are used to communicating and doing business through Internet technologies. Bakker (2005) argues the simple observation that an increasing number of people are not only using the Internet, but who are relying on the Internet for social contacts, purchasing goods and being informed on what is happening in the world. The Internet is becoming a significant factor in today's society (Bakker 2005).

Professor McAfee at Harvard (2006) argues that there is a new wave of business communication tools including blogs, wikis and group messaging. There are new digital platforms for generating, sharing and refining information that are already popular on the Internet, where they are collectively labelled Web 2.0 technologies. In McKinsey’s and Sand Hill Group’s Software Industry Report 2006 it is stated, that the hype around “Web 2.0” for consumers – with its rapid innovation in content tools (e.g., blogs, wikis, user editing and tagging) - heralds a much larger opportunity to put these innovations to work in the enterprise. Many innovations, collectively termed Web 2.0, will fully reach the enterprise – as in previous cycles, innovation developed for individual users will translate into substantial enterprise opportunities (Berryman, Jones et al. 2006).

According to Hinchcliffe (Hinchcliffe 2006a) there is no doubt that the Web has changed recently in important ways. New techniques and technologies are reshaping the way we think about and use the online world to meet our needs. Not only is the software experience more online, but it is an increasingly two-way, social, even communal, experience. Online publishing is being replaced with blogs, content management systems with wikis, static web pages with rich Internet applications (RIAs). Two or three years ago there was a feeling that innovation online had failed to emerge from the doldrums of the dot com boom and bust cycle and had hit something of a dead end, but now innovation is arguably at its most frenetic level ever (Sturgeon 2006).

In Gartner’s 2006 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle (Figure 2), three major themes that are experiencing significant activity and which include new or heavily hyped technologies, where organisations may be uncertain as to which will have most impact on their business, are argued. One of the three key technology themes identified by Gartner, and the corresponding technologies for enterprises to examine closely within them, is Web 2.0 and represents a broad collection of recent trends in Internet technologies and business models. Particular focus has been given to user-created content, lightweight technology, service-based access and shared revenue models. Technologies rated by Gartner as having transformational, high or moderate impact include: Social Network Analysis, Marsh-ups, AJAX and Collective Intelligence. Web 2.0 refers to the creation of far greater levels of interactivity, not just between users, or between users and the internet but between complementary online services through mash-ups and web services (Sturgeon 2006). Web 2.0 and it’s concepts and technologies are now at it’s peak of the Hype and will be adopted within 2 years (Gartner 2006).

Figure 2. The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2006

(Gartner 2006)*

Today we can see new start-ups like YouTube, Hyves and Facebook, that are worth Millions and in some cases Billions of Dollars. These companies highlight the importance and maturity of the Internet, called Web 2.0. With Web 2.0 however we see that it are not only entrepreneurial start-ups and corporate ventures that are frontrunners and content participants, but the whole crowd that uses the Internet for private manners are becoming more relevant. Because the internet has become mature and

[1] The “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2006” report is one of 78 hype cycles released by Gartner in 2006. More than 1,900 information technologies and trends across more than 75 industries, technology markets, and topics are evaluated by more than 300 Gartner analysts in the most comprehensive assessment of technology maturity in the IT industry. Gartner's hype cycles assess the maturity, impact and adoption speed of hundreds of technologies across a broad range of technology, application and industry areas. It highlights the progression of an emerging technology from market over enthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain (Gartner 2006)

new simple techniques make it possible for everyone to use the internet new aspects of e-Business and e-Entrepreneurship become more important. With Web 2.0 new features of the Internet transactions and participations are taking place. More and different stakeholders might add value in e-business. This raises questions which value drivers we can find in Web 2.0 and which ones are more important. Are value drivers and value creation theories from Entrepreneurship Research and Strategic Management Research, e.g. by Amit and Zott (2001), still applicable and relevant? Are there new value drivers and which value drivers are more important in Web 2.0?

This research tries to give first answers to problems that are argued: Our first problem from a theoretical approach is that theory on value creation in e-Business is relatively scarce. This is related to a more practical problem that companies could make incorrect decisions, because of scarce theory. With the upcoming of new developments of Web 2.0 a second problem arises and results in the fact that extending theory on value drivers in e-Business becomes even more relevant: Previous theory on value creation in e-Business might not be applicable anymore. Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) research value drivers in e-Business companies before 2001. With new aspects of Web 2.0 these results might not be up to date anymore. Therefore the objective of this research is to further develop Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Theory on value creation in e-Business, by providing first insights in value drivers in Web 2.0. To reach this goal this research tries to give first answers to the central research question, if value drivers associated with Web 2.0 are different from known value drivers in e-business? Figure 3 shows an overview of this Research Design.

Figure 3. Overview Research Design

To gain more knowledge on value drivers in Web 2.0, a better understanding of the basic concepts of value creation and value appropriation as a competitive advantage is necessary. The first subject is well described in Entrepreneurship literature and the second in Strategic Management Literature. This research will try to answer it’s first sub-question, how value is created and captured, by describing five basic theories on value drivers and two combined views of Entrepreneurial literature and Strategic Management Literature: The first basic theory discussed, is Porter’s value chain framework (Porter 1985) and analyzes value creation at the firm level. Value chain analysis identifies the activities of the firm and then studies the economic implications of those activities. Value can be created by differentiation along every step of the value chain, through activities resulting in products and services that lower buyers’ costs or raise buyers’ performance.

Schumpeter (Schumpeter 1934) pioneered the theory of economic development and new value creation through the process of technological change and innovation. He viewed technological development as discontinuous change and disequilibrium resulting from innovation.

The third basic theory is the Resource Based View of the firm and builds on Schumpeter’s perspective on value creation and views the firm as a bundle of resources and capabilities: Even in equilibrium, firms may differ in terms of the resources and capabilities they control, and that such asymmetric firms may coexist until some exogenous change or Schumpeterian shock occurs. Hence, RBV theory postulates that the services rendered by the firm’s unique bundle of resources and capabilities may lead to value creation (Penrose 1959).

From Strategic Management Literature it is argued that Strategic Networks, the fourth theory, are ‘stable inter-organizational ties which are strategically important to participating firms. They make the form of strategic alliances, joint ventures, long-term buyer-supplier partnerships, and other ties’ (Gulati 2000). The size of the network and the heterogeneity of its ties have been conjectured to have a positive effect on the availability of valuable information of the participants within that network (Granovetter 1973).

The last basic theory discussed, is transaction cost economics. The central question addressed by transaction cost economics is why firms internalize transactions that might otherwise be conducted in markets (Coase,1937). Williamson (Williamson 1983) suggests that ‘a transaction occurs when a good or service is transferred across a technologically separable interface. One stage of processing or assembly activity terminates, and another begins.’ At its core, transaction cost theory is concerned with explaining the choice of the most efficient governance form given a transaction that is embedded in a specific economic context (Amit 2001). Transaction cost economics identifies transaction efficiency as a major source of value, as enhanced efficiency reduces costs.

Two views on value creation that combine Entrepreneurial research and Strategic Management Resource are the business model construct of Amit and Zott (2001) and the Increasing Return Perspective of Brian Arthur (Brian Arthur 1994).

The Second sub-question of this research introduces e-Business features and applies findings of value drivers in e-Business. Virtual markets refer to e-business and are markets in which business transactions are conducted via open networks based on the fixed and wireless Internet infrastructure (Amit 2001). These markets are characterized by high connectivity (Dutta 1999), a focus on transactions (Balakrishnan 1999), the importance of information goods and networks (Shapiro 1999), and high reach and richness of information (Evans 1999). Virtual markets have unprecedented reach because they are characterized by a near lack of geographical boundaries. There are several other characteristics of virtual markets that, when considered together, have a profound effect on how value creating economic transactions are structured and conducted. These include the ease of extending one’s product range to include complementary products, improved access to complementary assets, new forms of collaboration among firms, the potential reduction of asymmetric information among economic agents through the Internet, and real-time customizability of products and services (Amit 2001).

Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) argue that each mentioned theoretical framework of value creation, makes valuable suggestions about possible sources of value creation. Many of the insights gained from cumulative research in entrepreneurship and strategic management are applicable to e-business. However, the multitude of value drivers suggested in the literature raises the question of precisely which sources of value are particular importance in e-business, and whether unique value drivers can be identified in context of e-business. Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) introduce a model that suggests that the value creation potential of e-businesses hinges on four interdependent dimensions, namely: efficiency, complementarities, lock-in, and novelty, Figure 4.

Figure 4. Sources of Value Creation in e-Business (Amit 2001)

The final sub-question of this research, looks at the differences between e-Business and Web 2.0 with a focus on value creation. By researching specific features of Web 2.0 and comparing those with e-Business, a better understanding of (new) potential value drivers is given. The relationship between e-Business and Web 2.0 will become more clear. Hinchcliffe (Hinchcliffe 2006a) provides many theories on Web 2.0 and argues that the Web itself has become a vast landscape of information services that can be wired together to reuse and take advantage of aggregated data and functionality. The hallmarks of these online applications are their pervasive availability, interactivity, social immersion, user-driven organization, community contribution, and particularly their reusable, remixable services (Hinchcliffe 2006a). Looking back at the beginning of Web 2.0, a core of theories and aspects, are mentioned by O’Reilly, which he calls the seven principles of Web 2.0 (O'Reilly 2005). Some relevant aspects discussed are harnessing the Long Tail (Anderson 2006) and Collective Intelligence, the Wisdom of Crowds (Surowiecki 2005), rich user experience and network effects.

The scarce e-business theory on value creation, the increasing use and importance of the Internet, and the emergence of Web 2.0 ask for a close look at value creation in the New Internet and it’s underlying value drivers. With this research a first attempt is made to fill this theoretical gap by seeking to identify the (most important) value drivers in Web 2.0. This research does not only contain value drivers derived from Strategy theories, e.g. Strategic Network Theory (Dyer 1998), but also focuses on Innovation and Entrepreneurship theories, e.g. Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction (Schumpeter 1942). This research also contributes to the scarce theories of e-Businesses by looking at new developments within the Internet, particularly Web 2.0. Previous research on e-Business Value drivers is useful but probably not up-to-date anymore with the emergence of Web 2.0. The research of Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) for instance deals with companies before the Internet bubble of 2001. With Web 2.0, new features of the Internet transactions and participations are taking place. This raises questions which (new) value drivers we can find in Web 2.0 and which ones are more important. Providing more insight in value drivers in Web 2.0 enables companies and entrepreneurs to adopt and prepare to take advantage of opportunities in this next stage of the Internet.

Objective and Research Questions

The objective of this research is to further develop Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management Theory on Value Creation in e-Business, by providing first insights in Value Drivers in Web 2.0.

General research question

Are the value drivers associated with Web 2.0 different from the known value drivers in e-Business?

Research sub-questions

  1. How is value created and how is value captured as a competitive advantage?
  2. What are the value drivers in e-Business?
  3. What are differences between e-Business and Web 2.0?

Research Design and Methodology

By looking at Entrepreneurship Research and Strategic Management Research on value creation I can make a framework that is useful for this research. Value creation specifically in e-Business is a topic that has not been addressed often. Especially an article of Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) is relevant and it’s findings show four value drivers in e-Business. My research will extent this research by looking at the value drivers in Web 2.0, based on qualitative data and research methods, like qualitative interviewing and collection and qualitative analysis of texts and documents. Some features of qualitative research are: process, unstructured, and contextual understanding (Bryman 2003). The reason for this approach 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.

The research strategy of this research is Well-founded Theory Approach, that focuses 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 and Doorewaard 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 and Doorewaard 2003).

Figure 3 and 5 visualize the position of this 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), I can expect differences with 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?

To answer the main question, are value drivers associated with Web 2.0 different from the known value drivers in e-business, I divided the objective in research sub-questions and core definitions according to Verschuren and Doorewaard (Verschuren and Doorewaard 2003). Three sub-questions are relevant to answer.

The first sub-question, on how value is created and captured, can be answered by researching Entrepreneurship Theory and Strategic Management Theory on value creation and sustainable competitive advantages. This literature study provides an overview of value creation theories from different scientifically approaches and gives a better understanding of potential value drivers in Web 2.0.

Literature Research of e.g. Amit and Zott (2001) give answers to the second question of this research, what are value drivers in e-Business. After providing clear answers to the first two sub-questions, the third sub-questions introduces Web 2.0. Potential value divers in e-Business will be researched in relation with specific aspects of Web 2.0.

Figure 5. Overview Methodology

The third sub-question looks at the specific features of the next stage of Internet and will give an overview and understanding which potential value drivers can be found in Web 2.0 and which value drivers in e-Business are more important. This question will give more insight in the relationships between e-Business and Web 2.0. I will look at relevant aspects, such as value drivers and creation, of Web 2.0 in relation to e-Business. The advantage of carrying out a comparison is that we understand the phenomenon that we are interested in better, when we compare it with something else that is similar to it (Bryman 2003). This final sub-question will be answered by four different methods.

First method is by reviewing recent research, articles, magazines, books, and blogs. The sources of information are Literature and Media; the information source for a broader audience. Many articles are written about Web 2.0, 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. Bryman and Bell (2003) argue that Mass Media outputs are potential sources for business and management study, since the evidence is usually clear and comprehensible, but may require considerable awareness of contextual factors. An advantage of Literature of an information source, is that this information source can provide in-depth specific knowledge.

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.

A second method used to answer the third sub-question, are in-depth qualitative interviews of experts, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, professors, and researchers in the field of Web 2.0 and e-Business. 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 experts provide up to date information that cannot be found in secondary data. This strategy can extent our theory development and findings of Well-founded Theory Approach and serve as validation and improvement tool. The interviews will tell me if my Literature and Media research makes sense and if my concepts and findings are logical.

Another reason for choosing this method is that there is much greater interest in the interviewee’s point of view. In this qualitative research there is an emphasis on gathering first insights in value drivers in Web 2.0, and it is therefore encouraged to be flexible and see what the interviewee sees as relevant. I want rich, detailed answers instead of answers that can be coded and processed quickly, as can be found in quantitative interviews (Bryman 2003).

Final reason to use qualitative interviews is that it leaves the opportunity to interview an interviewee several occasions. Since this research is an iterative process and concepts are developed and improved during interviews, I planned interviews with interviewees over several occasions (e.g. several interviews with Web 2.0 expert, Hinchcliffe). This gives the opportunity to use two qualitative interviewing approaches: the unstructured interview, by which the researcher might have one question and the interviewee is allowed to respond freely, and the semi-structured interview, by which the researcher has a list of questions on fairly specific topics to be covered, often referred as to as an interview guide (Bryman 2003). First couple of interviews will have an unstructured view, so I can improve ideas on concepts, and the last round of interviews will have a semi-structured approach, where I give my findings so far, and ask specifically for opinions and arguments of value drivers and concepts. In this stage of research the interview guide will contain subjects as four value drivers of Amit and Zott (Amit 2001) and value drivers I found during Literature research.

The third research sub-question will be main topic of the interviews, with the first two sub-question as foundation. With Kvale’s list of nine types of questions (Kvale 1996) I will vary the questioning during the interview, to gain as much information as needed.

One of the sources of information to answer this sub-question, are persons. With persons I refer to people who provide us knowledge about Web 2.0, e-Business and Value creation e.g. expert as e-Business professors and Web 2.0 researchers. Walker (Walker 1988) tried to seek an operational definition for the concept of 'expert', and suggests the defining attributes of: possession of a specialized body of knowledge and skill; extensive experience in a field of practice; highly developed levels of pattern recognition, and acknowledgement by others. These attributes are used in this research as criteria, whether to call someone an expert or not. By using experts in this research, we can give valid first answers to the research questions. The main advantages of this source is diversity of information and the speed of acquiring information (Verschuren and Doorewaard 2003). Under persons can also be understand the people within a Web 2.0 company who provide information about the company and it’s underlying business models and value drivers. By talking with experts, internal validity of this research is increased: because experts often participate in the research field over a long period of time, it allows the researcher to ensure a high level of congruence between concepts and observations (Bryman 2003). The validity is also increased by the fact that I will interview people from different countries, resulting in findings in an international context.

A third research method used to answer the third research sub-question, is to research Web 2.0 companies to illustrate findings and relevant aspects.

A fourth method used, is creating a weblog for this master thesis,, to enable a dialogue with experts (e.g. professors and internet entrepreneurs) on the internet and partner up with other writers. Besides the fact that this initiative is pure Web 2.0, by sharing my findings online, this initiative, combined with literature and media research, web 2.0 company illustrations, and interviews, should provide enough information to give first answers to my research question.

The establishment of the credibility of findings entails to the canons of good practice and to submitting research findings to the members of the social world who were studied for confirmation that the investigator has correctly understood (Bryman 2003). This latter technique is often referred to as respondent validation or member validation. In this research I will first begin with Literature research to have a better understanding of value creation and value drivers in Web 2.0. Thereupon I will use Literature research and Media Research to make first concepts of value drivers in Web 2.0 and to what extent they might differ with value drivers in e-Business. As final step I will use mentioned validation technique by interviewing experts, professors and entrepreneurs in Web 2.0, to ensure that the chosen concepts provide proper insights and make sense. The interviews should give first answers to the question, if the field agrees with my findings and concepts? This triangulation, defined as using more than one method or source of data, helps develop and improve concepts, and decreases the chance of misinterpretations. Kanter (Kanter 1977) suggests that a combination of methods…emerges as the most valid and reliable way to develop understanding of complex developments.

Expected Results

This research provides 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 small contribution to value creation theories and business model theories in the field of a combination of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management is then delivered. An expectation is that I can provide more insight in the question if there are internal or external changes in the model, that Amit and Zott propose in 2001. By this I mean that e.g. a mentioned value driver as ‘novelty’, could change internally in context of Web 2.0; A ‘portal website’ was, as a business model, new in their research, but nowadays a portal has to add something more to be new and to add value. What is that underlying value driver that adds value?

Another expectation is that this research provides an improved overview of what Web 2.0 is and what, not only entrepreneurs and companies, but also the internet users, can do with it. The relationship between e-Business and Web 2.0 will be more clear. 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.

The aim of this research is to give first answers to a relatively unknown and new development, and understands the shortcomings of qualitative research, such as difficulty of replication, generalizations, and transparency (Bryman 2003). After my findings, quantitative research or case studies could help overcome the mentioned problems, and could extent the founded concepts.


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