Ci0914

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BUILDING A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL
STRATEGY TO UNDERSTAND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN
THE BRAZILIAN ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT: MULTIPLE CASE
STUDIES FOR THE PROPOSITION OF AN INTEGRATIVE
CONCEPTUAL MODEL - Rivadávia Alvarenga Neto et al., 2009

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Ci0914

  1. 1. www.fdc.org.br CADERNO DE IDEIAS CI0914 BUILDING A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGICAL STRATEGY TO UNDERSTAND KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN THE BRAZILIAN ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT: MULTIPLE CASE STUDIES FOR THE PROPOSITION OF AN INTEGRATIVE CONCEPTUAL MODEL RIVADÁVIA C. DRUMMOND DE ALVARENGA NETO BEATRIZ VALADARES CENDÓN RICARDO RODRIGUES BARBOSA
  2. 2. Fundação Dom Cabral é um centro de desenvolvimento de executivos e empresas que há mais de 30 anos pratica o diálogo e a escuta comprometida com as organizações, construindo com elas soluções educacionais integradas. É orientada para formar equipes que vão interagir crítica e estrategicamente dentro das empresas. Depois de formar milhares de executivos, em constante integração com as empresas, a FDC tornou-se referência nacional em seu setor, participando da melhoria do nível gerencial e do desenvolvimento empresarial brasileiro. Circulam, anualmente, pelos seus programas abertos e fechados perto de 20 mil executivos de empresas de médio e grande portes. A sinergia com as empresas é resultado da conexão que faz entre a teoria e a prática de efetivas tecnologias de gestão. Essa prática é reforçada pelo trabalho interativo de sua equipe técnica, que combina formação acadêmica com experiência empresarial. Nos Núcleos de Desenvolvimento do Conhecimento (Núcleo Andrade Gutierrez de Sustentabilidade e Responsabilidade Corporativa, Núcleo CCR de Governança Corporativa, Competitividade, Núcleo de Desenvolvimento de Liderança, Núcleo de Empreendedorismo, Núcleo de Gestão Empresarial, Núcleo de Negócios Internacionais e Núcleo de Inovação) são produzidas pesquisas e outros trabalhos que dão sustentação aos programas da FDC, traduzindo seus avanços como instituição geradora de conhecimento. Suas soluções educacionais combinam: Desenvolvimento Empresarial Soluções construídas na perspectiva do cliente, aliando conteúdo a estratégia e necessidade das empresas. Atendem públicos dos diversos níveis funcionais, possibilitando o aprendizado coletivo e a formação de massa crítica na busca de resultados para a empresa. O grande diferencial dos programas é valorizar e potencializar o conhecimento existente na própria empresa. Desenvolvimento do Gestor Com foco no desenvolvimento do indivíduo e na sua atuação na empresa, muitos programas são realizados em parceria com escolas internacionais e abordam temas de gestão geral e específicos. Propiciam a aplicação prática de conceitos, desenvolvendo no indivíduo a capacidade de aprender fazendo. Pós-Graduação Fundamentam-se na perspectiva da educação continuada, centrada na realidade empresarial e voltada para o crescimento do indivíduo como pessoa e gestor. Contemplam níveis diversos de formação de Especialização a Mestrado e se complementam de forma conveniente aos participantes. Parcerias Empresariais A FDC estimula a troca de experiências entre e intra-empresas, conciliando, de forma estratégica, conceitos e práticas que possibilitam a aprendizagem coletiva e a busca compartilhada de soluções.
  3. 3. Building a Qualitative Research Methodological Strategy to Understand Knowledge Management in the Brazilian Organizational Context: Multiple Case Studies for the Proposition of an Integrative Conceptual Model Autores: Rivadávia C. Drummond de Alvarenga Neto Professor at Fundação Dom Cabral Beatriz Valadares Cendón Professor at Escola de Ciência da Informação, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Ricardo Rodrigues Barbosa Professor at Escola de Ciência da Informação, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais 2009 CI0914
  4. 4. CI 0914 Graphical Project Document Publishing Center Revision Document Publishing Center Technical Review Teresa Goulart Publisher Information Center Publishing Supervisor José Ricardo Ozólio Printing Fundação Dom Cabral 2009 This article was written by the author(s) that sign(s) it and s/he(they) alone bear total responsibility for its contents. Fundação Dom Cabral bears no responsibility whatsoever for the opinions expressed in this article. The article is published in the FDC Idea Workbook with its author’s (authors’) authorization. If you wish to download a digital copy of this article or some other publication related to business management, please enter the Fundação Dom Cabral Knowledge Room by following the link http://www.fdc.org.br/pt/sala_conhecimento. Copyright© 2007, Fundação Dom Cabral. Permission for copying or reproducing can be requested by ringing (55) (31) 3589-7413 or e-mailing: stela@fdc.org.br. This publication cannot be quoted or reproduced without permission from FDC. Campus Aloysio Faria – Centro Alfa – Av. Princesa Diana, 760 – Alphaville Lagoa dos Ingleses 34000-000 Nova Lima, MG – Brasil Tel.: 55 31 3589-7413 Fax: 55 31 3589-7402
  5. 5. 3 Summary Introduction......................................................................................................7 The Research’s Rationale and Main Results............................................................9 A Strategic Conception for Information and Knowledge in Organizations..............10 The creation of an organizational space for knowledge, the enabling context or “Ba”...........................................................................................10 The “KM Conceptual Umbrella” metaphor........................................................11 Research Procedures and Methodological Choices.................................................13 Field Research and Data Analysis.......................................................................21 Conclusion......................................................................................................27 References......................................................................................................28
  6. 6. 5 Abstract This paper describes the methods utilized in an investigation on how Brazilian firms defined, implemented and assessed their Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives, as well as which were the motives and expected results of such initiatives. Three case studies with incorporated units of analysis were conducted and three criteria were adopted to evaluate the quality of the research design: construct validity, external validity and reliability. Multiple sources of evidence were used – documentation (paper and electronic documents), semi-structured interviews and direct observation. Data analysis was conducted simultaneously through data reduction, data display and verification/ conclusion based on inferences from evidences or premises. One of the main outcomes of the research is the proposition of a KM integrative conceptual model. According to the authors, case studies are valid for theory and model building, as long as they abide by rigorous methodological procedures. Keywords: knowledge management; qualitative research; qualitative data analysis; multiple case studies; research methodology.
  7. 7. 7 Introduction Research should not be considered as a rational endeavor – one that is conducted with safety and assurance – but as an undertaking that may also instill fear and grief (BOURDIEU, 1998). Conducting research is about elaborating a coherent system of relations that must be put to judgment as it is. To accomplish such task, it is also necessary to understand that knowledge is built of and from other knowledge which may generate apprehension, criticism and lack of confidence. In addition, considering that innovation occurs in the frontiers of creative minds in synergy of purposes, the socialization of experiences and results among researchers is essential to promote field advancements. This paper describes the qualitative research methodology utilized in an investigation on how Brazilian firms understood, defined, implemented, evaluated and measured their Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives, what were their motives and what they expected to achieve with such initiatives. Contrary to more traditional approaches, the research rationale and most important results will be presented first, followed by a discussion of the methodological strategy used to answer the research questions/ problems.
  8. 8. 9 A The Research’s Rationale and Main Results long with the growing interest in knowledge management (KM) in organizational contexts, the number of empirical researches concerning this topic has increased considerably. Guo and Sheffield (2008) analyzed 160 articles on KM, published from the year 2000 to 2004 in 10 leading journals in the fields of management (five journals) and information systems (five journals). Among the articles analyzed, 120 (75%) were of empirical nature. These data suggest, therefore, the existence of an active community of researchers dedicated to the investigation of the multitude of issues related to information and knowledge in organizations. Following this trend, Alvarenga Neto (2005) investigated KM initiatives in three large Brazilian organizations. The main purposes of the study were to discuss the concepts adopted by the companies, their constituent elements, managerial approaches and tools. Two basic assumptions underlie the project. First, the author considers that most of what is called Knowledge Management is actually Information Management (IM) and that IM is one of the components of KM. Indeed, KM is more than simply information management as it incorporates other elements and concerns such as the creation, use and sharing of information and knowledge in the organizational context. In fact, one should also mention the significance of the so called “Ba” or “enabling context” or “enabling conditions”. A second assumption was that it is possible to build a conceptual model or map of KM. The results confirmed the assumptions and the author suggests that that KM is an oxymoron, perhaps an impossibility. That is, knowledge in itself cannot be managed; it can only be leveraged or stimulated through the creation of a favorable organizational context. The results also provided a strong qualitative evidence of a major shift in the context of the organizations contemplated in Alvarenga Neto’s (2005) study. The strict knowledge management approach changed to a greater focus on the management of “Ba” or the enabling conditions that favor innovation, sharing, learning, collaborative problem solution, tolerance to honest mistakes, among others. A major contribution of the research is an integrative conceptual model of KM, which is based on three basic notions: (i) a strategic conception of information and knowledge, – as proposed by Choo (1998); (ii) the creation of an organizational space for knowledge or “Ba” – the favorable conditions that should be provided by organizations so that they can use the best information and knowledge available, as suggested by Von Krogh, Ichijo & Nonaka (2001); (iii) the introduction of such strategy in the tactical and operational levels through different managerial approaches and information technology tools, metaphorically named here as a “KM Conceptual Umbrella”. This model is explained in detail below.
  9. 9. 10 A Strategic Conception for Information and Knowledge in Organizations According to Choo (1998), “knowing organizations” use information strategically in three arenas, namely, (a) sense making, (b) knowledge creation and (c) decision making. The long term goal of proper sensemaking is to make sure that organizations will adapt and continue to prosper in dynamic and complex environments. Organizations face issues such as uncertainty reduction and the management of ambiguity. Competitive, competitor and social intelligence, environmental scanning, marketing research and activities alike are organizational initiatives directed at constructing meaning about issues for which there are no clear answers. In this context, sensemaking involves interpretation of relevant information that allow the understanding of changes, trends and scenarios about clients, suppliers, competitors and other external elements. Knowledge creation is a process that enables an organization to generate, acquire, organize and process information in order to produce new knowledge through organizational learning. Such processes allow the organization to develop new abilities and competences, create new products and new services, improve existing ones and redesign its organizational processes. Knowledge creation’s results vouchsafe the organization with a potential to act. Strategic decision making in organizations are characterized by the bounded rationality principle, as advocated by March & Simon (1975). According to authors such as March & Simon (1975) and Choo (1998), decision making processes involve a search for alternatives that are satisfactory or good enough, rather than a search for an optimal solution. That happens because a completely rational decision would require information beyond the capability of the organization to collect, and beyond the human capacity to process it. Organizational decision management implies a commitment to action. The creation of an organizational space for knowledge, the enabling context or “Ba” The creation of organizational knowledge is, in fact, the augmentation of knowledge created by individuals, in the contextual conditions that should be supplied or enabled by the organization. This is what Von Krogh, Ichijo & Nonaka (2001) call “Ba”, enabling conditions or enabling context. “Ba” is needed in the tactical level in order to bridge the existing gap between strategy and action. Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) and Von Krogh, Ichijo & Nonaka (2001) list the many elements of “Ba”, namely: creative chaos, redundancy, layout, organizational culture and human behavior, leadership, intention or vision of future and empowerment, not to mention organizational structure and layout, among others. In this context, the word “management”, when associated with the word “knowledge”, should not mean control, but promotion of activities of knowledge creation and sharing in the organizational space. Hence, KM assumes a new hermeneutic perspective – from knowledge as a resource to knowledge as a capability, from knowledge management to a management towards knowledge, from knowledge management to a management from and to knowledge.
  10. 10. 11 The “KM Conceptual Umbrella” metaphor The “KM Conceptual Umbrella” metaphor assumes that inside its boundaries, many themes, ideas, managerial approaches and IT tools concerning information and knowledge in the organizational context are addressed and are amenable to communication and orchestration. It is imperative to highlight a few of them, such as “strategic information management”, “intellectual capital”, “organizational learning”, “competitive intelligence” and “communities of practice”. It is exactly the interrelation and permeability among those themes that enable the formulation of a theoretical framework which can be named “knowledge management”. Feedback is achieved by classifying the themes under the “KM Conceptual Umbrella” in the model proposed by Choo (1998). Competitive intelligence and environmental scanning are managerial approaches and IT tools that trigger strategic sensemaking. That is, sensemaking is a strategic concept and, e.g., competitive intelligence, an action-driven managerial approach – a way to turn strategy into action is by using the right managerial approach or IT tool that can be found in the “KM Conceptual Umbrella”. Communities of practice, strategic information management and organizational learning fit into the concept of knowledge creation and so on. Figures 1 and 2 represent and summarize the integrative conceptual map used both as a theoretical framework and as a guide for field research and data collection: Figure 1: KM: an Integrative Conceptual Model Proposition (Alvarenga Neto, 2005, 2008).
  11. 11. 12 Figure 2: KM: an Integrative Conceptual Model Proposition (Alvarenga Neto, 2008).Figure 2: KM: an Integrative Conceptual Model Proposition (Alvarenga Neto, 2008).
  12. 12. 13 A Research Procedures and Methodological Choices n investigation method should include theoretical foundations, and a set of techniques which allow the understanding of reality and the creative potential of the researcher. In qualitative research, as well as in quantitative ones, the set of techniques, although secondary to theory, is important to guarantee the soundness of the conclusions. This section presents the procedures and techniques prescribed by the literature on case studies as well as the methodological options chosen in this research which are summarized in Table 1 below. TABLE 1 Qualitative research strategy Components Methodological Choices 1) Problem approach qualitative research 2) Research strategy case studies applied to organizational and managerial studies 3) Components of the research project research questions, assumptions, units of analysis, logic connecting data to propositions, criteria for interpreting the findings 4) Criteria for assessing the quality of the research project construct validity, external validity and reliability 5) Typology of the case study multiple case studies with incorporated units of analysis 6) Case studies in three large organizations operating in Brazil – one of each sector of the economy – that have implemented Knowledge Management Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira – CTC (primary sector), SIEMENS Brazil (secondary sector) and PricewaterhouseCoopers – PwC Brazil (tertiary sector) 7) Units of analysis, sub-units of analysis and units of observation project or process of KM; organization and their members.
  13. 13. 14 8) Data collection sources documentary sources (printed and electronic files), semi-structured interviews and direct observation 9) Analysis of field data collected data reduction, display and verification/ conclusions based on inferences from evidences or premises 10) Final considerations validation or refutation of the research propositions, proposal of new knowledge and recommendations for future studies Source: developed by the authors Case studies are frequently used as a research strategy in many situations such as studies in political science, public administration, sociology, managerial and organizational studies, municipal and regional studies, among others. In such situations, the case study strategy permits data collection from a variety of sources – documents, files, interviews and observations (YIN, 2001). The present study adopted a qualitative approach, although, some quantitative data were also gathered. For data collection and analysis, the study also used the perspective presented by Triviños (1987) who considers that there is a dynamic relationship between the real world and the subject/ actor and that interpretation and attribution of meanings are basic in the process of qualitative method. According to Yin (2001), a case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the limits between the phenomena and the context are not clearly defined. The case study investigation confronts a situation technically unique in which there will be many more variables of interest than data sources. As a result, for reliability, the data collected needs to be based on various sources of evidence and data collection and analysis should benefit from the previous development of theoretical propositions (YIN, 2001, p. 32-33). Triviños (1987) – as well as Martins & Lintz (2000) – define case study as a research category that focuses on the in-depth analysis of a unit. Its characteristics are given by two circumstances: (i) the nature and range of the unit and (ii) the complexity determined by theoretical foundations that guide the investigator’s work. In a case study, the social unit, which could be an individual, a family, an institution, an organization, or a community, is studied as a whole in their original settings. (MARTINS & LINTZ, 2000). Five components are especially important in a case study project: (i) the research questions, (ii) the propositions or assumptions, (iii) the unit of analysis, (iv) the logic linking the data to the propositions and (v) the criteria for interpreting the findings. Yin (2001) asserts that, at the present moment, there are no detailed guidelines concerning components (iv) and (v). Yin (2001) and Eisenhardt (1989) emphasize the importance of the quality of the research project and suggest that the researcher should maximize four aspects of validity in any project – construct validity, internal validity, external validity and reliability.
  14. 14. 15 Construct validity means to establish correct operationalizations for the concepts1. under study. Yin (2001) affirms that, among the various tactics to increase construct validity, the most important is the utilization of various sources of evidence – as a way to promote converging lines of investigation – and evidence linking. Internal validity is an issue only in explanatory or causal studies. It is not applicable2. to descriptive or exploratory studies. Yin (2001) states that internal validity is the establishment of a causal relation through which one can demonstrate that certain conditions lead to others. The objective is to show that such relations, facts or conditions are different from spurious relationships. External validity assures that the results of the case study are generalizable3. beyond the immediate case. The replication logic, literal or theoretical, is used to demonstrate external validity. Reliability refers to the possibility that a study can be repeated yielding the same4. results. Eisenhardt (1989) proposes methodological procedures for theory construction from case study research. Some, as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as intrinsic analysis of each case and logic replication, are unique to case oriented induction processes. Such strategy is appropriated for areas considered new or contemporary and the possible resulting theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Eisenhardt (1989) also states that theory development is a central activity to organizational research. Her work is an important contribution as a conceptual map for theory building based on case studies. Eisenhardt (1989) fundaments her propositions on previous works about qualitative methods and qualitative data analysis (MILES & HUBERMAN, 1984), case study methodology (YIN, 2001) and grounded theory (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1967), as well as works on data triangulation, investigator triangulation and cross cases analysis, among others. For Yin (2001) case study research can be single as well as multiple case studies. Triviños (1987) makes a distinction between comparative case studies and multi-case study, which do not have analysis of similarities among cases as an objective. The author also points out that case studies can include quantitative, qualitative and quali-quantitative evidences. Therefore, when case studies are designed, it is essential to define if such projects rely on single or multiple case studies and which kind of evidences will be collected. A typology of case studies described by Yin (2001) is presented in a two by two (2X2) matrix. The decision for single or multiple case studies should reflect the specific situation under study. The choice of single case is recommended in conditions in which the case may represent a crucial test of existing theory, or the case is a rare or unique event. However, results of multiple cases are considered more convincing and the global study is seen as sounder. The logic underlying the use of multiple case studies is that each case should be carefully selected to provide similar results (literal replication) or produce contrasting results due to predictable reasons (theoretical replication). Yin (2001) states that an extremely important step in all replication procedures is the development of a rich theoretical structure, which should expose the conditions under which it is probable that a phenomenon in particular can be found (literal replication), as well as the condition where this is not probable (theoretical replication). Under this perspective, the concern
  15. 15. 16 with the number of cases supposedly needed or sufficient for the study is seen under a new light. The typical criteria adopted regarding the size of the sample become irrelevant and the basic issue is the number of case replications – theoretical and literal – desired in a study. Multiple case studies can also be holistic (a single-unit analysis) or incorporated (multiple-unit analysis). The current work here discussed is a multiple case study with incorporated or multiple units of analysis. To prepare for data collection, Yin (2001) recommends the elaboration of case study protocols and pilot studies. The author suggests that the protocol should contain the instruments for data collection as well as the procedures and general rules that must be followed in the utilization of such instruments. He also affirms that case study protocol is paramount in multiple case projects as a tactic to increase reliability. In summary, the conduction of a case study should include a general view of the case-study project, the fieldwork procedures, the case-study research questions and a guide to write the study report. The pilot case helps to improve data collection instruments, especially in relation to contents, procedures and also helps to anticipate issues and problems to be confronted in the field. For data collection, the utilization of multiple sources of evidence is recommended. Specifically for case studies, such evidences can come from six sources: documents, archival records, direct observation, participant observation and physical artifacts. Yin (2001) affirms categorically that the use of evidences originated from two or more sources, which converge and confirms the same set of facts or findings, increases substantially the quality of case studies. In the present research, the following sources of evidences were used: Documentation: in case studies, the most important function of documents is the• confirmation and assessment of the evidences originating from other sources. Yin (2001) suggests that, during field trips, time should be allocated to visit libraries, documentation centers and other reference centers. The documents to be analyzed are: letters, memoranda, notices, meetings minutes, agendas, other reports, administrative documents and other internal documents, formal studies and evaluations of the “site” being studied, newspapers clippings and other articles published in the media, among others. rchival records: generally they are in digital format, and included service records,• organizational records (tables, budgets, organizational charts and others), lists of names and personal records, among others. Interviews: according to several authors (TRIVIÑOS, 1987; YIN, 2001; LAKATOS• & MARCONI, 1991), the interview is one of the most important sources of information in a case study. Interviews can take several forms, such as the spontaneous or totally unstructured interview, the focus interview and focus group interview and even structured interviews. Triviños (1987) states that the semi- structured interview, for some types of qualitative research, is one of the major tools available to the investigator for data collection. This author favors the semi- structured interview as he believes that, at the same time that it takes advantage of the presence of the investigator, it offers the informant enough freedom and spontaneity, enriching, therefore, the investigation. The author suggests that the
  16. 16. 17 semi-structured experience initiates from certain basic questions supported by theories and hypothesis (which are related to the research) and subsequently, opens up other questions, and new hypothesis which emerge from the answers given by the informants. To conclude, Triviños (1987) says that the questions which comprise, in part, the semi-structured interview, in the qualitative approach, do not emerge a priori. They result not only from the theory that fundaments the investigator’s research, but also from all information that he/ she collected about the social phenomena in question. Direct observation: field trips provide rich opportunities for direct observations• regarding behavior or relevant environmental conditions. It includes observations of work meetings, work and meeting places, photos of the site under study and other similar activities. According to Yin (2001), observational records are useful to provide additional information on the object of study. Since the unit of analysis in question is the project of KM of organizations operating in Brazil, the observation of the context has largely contributed to the learning of crucial issues regarding implementation of KM in Brazilian organizations. Table 2 synthesizes the comparison among the sources of evidence used in the current study, highlighting their strong and weak points. TABLE 2 Sources of evidence – strong and weak points Sources of evidence Strong points Weak points Documentation stable – can be reviewed repeatedly unobtrusive – not created as a result of the case study exact – contains exact names, references, and exact details of an event broad coverage – long span of time, many events and many settings retrievability – can be low biased selectivity, if collection is incomplete reporting bias – reflects (unknown) bias of the author access – may be deliberately blocked Archival Records (the same as above for documentation) precise and quantitative (the same mentioned for documentation) accessibility due to privacy reasons
  17. 17. 18 Interviews targeted – focuses directly on case study topic insightful – provides perceived causal inferences bias due to poorly constructed questions response bias inaccuracies due to poor recall reflexivity – the interviewee gives what the interviewer wants to hear Direct observations reality – covers events in real time contextual – covers context of event time-consuming selectivity – unless broad coverage reflexivity – event may proceed differently because it is being observed cost – hours needed by human observers Source: adapted from YIN, 2001, p.80. Quantitative research deals with variables whereas qualitative research deals with categories of analysis. The word category refers, in general, to a concept which involves elements with common characteristics or which are interrelated and are used to establish classifications. The aim of establishing categories is to group elements, ideas and terms around concepts capable of summarizing a detailed analysis of the selected case studies. Miles & Huberman (1984) suggest that the qualitative data analysis should occur in three concurrent flows of activity (i) data reduction, (ii) data display, and (iii) conclusion drawing/ verification, presented in Figure 3: According to the authors: “[...] data reduction refers to the process of selecting, focusing, simplifying, abstracting and transforming the “raw” data that appears in manuscripts of field notes. [...] data reduction occurs continuously throughout the life of any qualitatively oriented project. In fact, even before the data are actually collected, anticipatory data reduction is occurring as the researcher decides (often without full awareness) which conceptual frameworks, which sites, which research questions and which data collection approaches to choose. As the data collection proceeds, there are further episodes of data reduction [...]. Data reduction is not something separate from analysis. It is part of analysis. (MILES & HUBERMAN, 1984).
  18. 18. 19 [...] We define data display as an organized assembly of information that permits conclusion drawing and action taking based on inferences from evidences or premises. “[...] In the course of our work, we have become convinced that better displays are a major avenue to valid qualitative analysis. The displays discussed in this book include many types of matrices, graphs, networks and charts. All are designed to assembly organized information in an immediately accessible, compact form, so that the analyst can see what is happening […] (MILES & HUBERMAN, 1984). [...] the third stream of analysis activity is conclusion drawing and verification. From the beginning of data collection, the qualitative analyst is beginning to decide what things mean, is noting regularities, patterns, explanations, possible configurations, causal flows, and propositions. The competent researcher holds these conclusions lightly, maintaining openness and skepticism, but the conclusions are still there, inchoate and vague at first, then increasingly explicit and grounded, to use a classic term of Glaser & Strauss (1967). (MILES & HUBERMAN, 1984). Figure 3 – Components of data analysis – Interactive Model Source: Miles & Huberman, 1984, p. 23.
  19. 19. 21 F Field Research and Data Analysis ieldwork was carried out from March to April of 2005 in three large Brazilian organizations: Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (Sugarcane Technology Center) – CTC (primary sector); SIEMENS Brazil (secondary sector); and PricewaterhouseCoopers – PwC Brazil (tertiary sector). These organizations are large and had units, programs or projects of KM. The selection of these three companies – one of each sector of the economy (primary, secondary and tertiary), allowed the control of environmental variation, whereas the choice of large companies hinders possible variations due to size differences between the companies. The case study protocol included preliminary information, semi-structured interview programs and notes pertaining to documental research and direct observation. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with knowledge and information managers. A pilot study was carried out at Siemens do Brazil to test the research instruments used in the semi-structured interviews, documental research and direct observation. The pre- test proved to be valuable, as it pointed out the need for adjustments and improvements in the research project considered as a whole, and, particularly, in the refinement of data collection tools. All 17 interviews were recorded with the consent of the interviewees. Further interviews were conducted, as it was believed that they could result in important additional data. However, after the second or third interview in each firm, the additional gain of information was decreasing or tending to null. All scheduled interviews were conducted and resulted in approximately 530 pages of transcriptions and 35 hours of recording time. The interviews lasted around one hour and 45 minutes and there were about five interviews in each organization. In addition to semi-structured interviews and direct observation, paper and electronic documents of various kinds were analyzed. Such documents were originally produced with Microsoft Office (extensions .ppt, .doc, .xls), the software Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), intranet screens, emails, internet sites and their associated links, CD recorded material, digitalized documents, photos and videos. Further sources of data were annual reports, advertisements, folders and other institutional materials. Approximately 1600 pages of documents were gathered and analyzed, of which approximately 12% were discarded as they did not suit the research purposes. These data are presented in Tables 4 and 5. On the whole, the field research produced about 2150 pages which later went through analysis and reduction processes. Four reduction cycles were needed to incorporate the data collected into the body of the dissertation, as shown in Table 6. Such reduction process followed the logic of data analysis in qualitative research as proposed by Miles & Huberman (1984). Eight matrices or reduction tables were produced based on the categories of analysis.
  20. 20. 22 TABLE 4 Electronic documents analyzed – Total Electronic Documents Number of documents Type PowerPoint 25 slides Word and pdf 28 pages Excel 3 spreadsheets Others photos 136 photos .eml and .html 2 pages videos 3 videos Discarded documents 10 various Source: Alvarenga Neto, 2005. TABLE 5 Printed documents analyzed Company Documents Interviews Transcriptions (pages) CTC 306 186 Siemens 188 157 PwC 54 190 TOTAL: 548 533 Source: Alvarenga Neto, 2005. TABLE 6 Reduction Processes – Data analysis and fieldwork Reduction processes From (pages) To (pages) 1st 2150 180 2nd 180 100 3rd 100 52 4th 52 final text Source: Alvarenga Neto, 2005.
  21. 21. 23 Matrix displays, charts and tables were used to demonstrate the reduction and data analysis processes according to the proposal of Miles & Huberman (1984). Table 7 shows an example of the data reduction of one of the categories of analysis used for Siemens do Brazil. TABLE 7 Data reduction matrix of field data collected by category of analysis 6) SCENARIOS – PERSPECTIVES – KM BEST ORGANIZATIONAL PRACTICES Difficulties, problems and obstacles confronted in the implementation of KM;1. what is the current situation? Focus of change.2. Is KM shared in any closed circle of actors in the external organizational3. environment (customers, suppliers)? Best organizational practices of KM.4. ORG. SUMMARY OF THE COLLECTED DATA – FIELDWORK Siemens (i) Cultural and behavioral; (ii) “[...] there are people1. that do not know how to share. They believe that knowledge is power. “ (Applications engineer) (i) Culture and behavior; (ii) “[...] organization in2. business units (mini-companies concept), the challenge is to create synergy among businesses.” (Regional director) Yes. (i) Via technology portal of some communities of3. practice; (ii) “[...] partially; PARTNERSCOM, virtual discussion forum with customers and competitors.” (Human resources manager) (iii) “[...] PARTNERSCOM – partnership development program of Siemens Mobile to develop applications for mobile phones such as games, vending- machines, telemetry, among others.” (regional director) (i) Chats, SHARENET that brings concrete results,4. communities of practice, competitive intelligence; (ii) creation of sites and spaces (real and virtual) for the sharing, exchange, and search for information and learning; (iii) “HAPPY-HOUR OF KNOWLEDGE for motivation, information dissemination, learning, exchange and sharing. Source: Alvarenga Neto, 2005.
  22. 22. 24 It should be emphasized that the intentional redundancy in the interview schedule was important not only to clarify some issues but also to unveil some contradictions in the speech of the interviewees. Questions were asked more than once, in different moments and formats. Such redundancy in data collection contributed to address questions from several perspectives and to maximize the contributions of each interviewee. This strategy was useful for confirmations and refutations, and helped to achieve an appropriate balance between data richness and parsimony. The semi-structured interview schedule was improved as the fieldwork progressed and each interview was carried out. The investigation highlighted the importance of an in-depth self-examination by the interviewer prior to data collection. Such reflection is essential as it can minimize the influence of attitudes and speeches of the interviewer on the interviewee’s answers, although some subjectivity is inevitable (BOURDIEU, 1998). It was noticed that some interviewees hesitated and were even afraid to answer the questions and/or participate in the interviews. They were probably concerned about being unprepared, limited, uninformed, or even with the fact that the publication of the research results could harm their positions in their organizations. It was also noticed that the higher the level of formal education of the interviewees – especially those who had master’s or doctoral degrees – the more eager they were to talk about what they knew not only about KM but also about their views of “organizational facts of life” at the opening of the interviews. Finally, in some companies, it was noticed that the results became more superficial and less consistent as we went down the organizational ladder – from the top to the intermediate and lower hierarchical levels. A possible interpretation of this phenomenon is that KM concepts and strategies did not reach clearly the tactical and operational levels or were not properly communicated to them. Some interviewees apparently did not understand current terms and expressions of the management literature, especially those topics associated with knowledge management. Bearing this is mind, it was included in the interview outline very clear explanations of such terms and concepts. Two important considerations were taken into account for the presentation, analysis and discussion of the results. First, as expected, during data analysis new questionings arose and, as a result, additional contacts via email and telephone were made in order to clarify issues and confirm minor details. In addition, as the analysis of each category advanced, they would ratify the forthcoming ones. The following structure was adopted for the presentation, discussion and analysis of the results: (i) presentation of the general results based on the criteria of literal replication for each category of analysis and (ii) presentation – also for each category of analysis – of the results by company, so that their similarities and differences could be analyzed in depth and the elements of theoretical replication could be listed. The model of analysis used in the field research is presented in Table 8 as a conclusion of this section.
  23. 23. 25 TABLE 8 Model of Analysis CATEGORIES OF ANALYSIS OBSERVATIONS 1) Motivation for KM 2) Organizational understanding and definition of KM 3) Aspects and approaches considered by KM 4) Scenarios, perspectives, best organizational practices of KM 5) Sensemaking issues Environmental scanning, competitive intelligence, competitor intelligence, environmental typologies among others. 6) Issues concerning knowledge creation (a) Strategic management of information: information on internal records, information systems and information architectures, issues concerning the organization and treatment of information: collection, indexing, storage, recovering, selective dissemination and taxonomies, among others; (b) organizational learning and communities of practice (real and virtual); (c) organizational knowledge (generation codification/ coordination and transference of knowledge); (d) management of intellectual capital (human capital, structural capital and customer capital). 7) Issues concerning decision making 8) Issues concerning the enabling context Information sharing (policies, practices, barriers, behavior and organizational culture, strategies, layout and meeting places for knowledge promotion and information sharing, managerial styles and policies of alignment between knowledge management and business strategy: (management models and architectures, essential competences, environment and enabling conditions, knowledge vision); uses and users of information within organizations. Source: Alvarenga Neto, 2005, p.400.
  24. 24. 26 The theoretical references supported the definition of the categories of analysis used in the study. Eight categories of analysis (Table 8, above) guided the data collection and analysis toward the research objectives. Three aspects of data validation were used in order to address the objectives of the present research: (i) construct validity, through the use of multiple sources of evidence (documentary sources, archives, interviews and direct observation, in addition to evidence chaining; (ii) external validity, through the replication logic in multiple case studies, addressing the question of whether findings of a single case study can be generalized beyond that case. It is important to note the differences between statistical generalizations (frequently used in surveys) and analytical generalizations, where an attempt is made to generalize a particular set of results into a more comprehensive theory. The theory can be tested through replication of findings in a second or even third site, in which the same results are expected (replication logic); (iii) reliability, through the demonstration that procedures used in the study (such as data collection) can be repeated showing the same results.
  25. 25. 27 T Conclusions his article described the qualitative methodology used in a research study that proposes an integrative conceptual model of knowledge management. For such purpose, the construction of a sound theoretic-conceptual structure and consistent research methodology were paramount for the discovery of reliable answers for the questions which guided the study. The proposition of the integrative conceptual model of KM, based on the three case studies, is supported by the recommendations of Eisenhardt (1989) and Yin (2001), who assert that case studies are valid for building theories and models as long as they abide by the rigorous methodological procedures they recommend. Based on the methodology described here, the investigation confirmed the assumptions, and the conclusions suggest that knowledge cannot be managed, and can only be promoted or stimulated through the creation of favorable organizational contexts. In other words, the researched organizations which adopted KM do not manage knowledge in the strict sense – they just get prepared for it – as they recognize that knowledge only exists in the human mind and in the imaginary space among creative minds with common purposes. Had the question been put strictly in terminological terms, the results would probably point towards a semantic drift or a managerial fad. As the focus of the discussion shifts from a purely terminological to a conceptual discussion, the study revealed an authentic and relevant research object which is centered on a consistent rethinking of management strategy and practices for organizations in the knowledge era. The study revealed that the main challenges faced by organizations committed to KM are related to the management of cultural and behavioral changes and to the creation of an organizational context that favors the creation, use and sharing of information and knowledge. The main contribution of the research – a proposal of an integrated conceptual modeling of KM is described in Alvarenga Neto (2005, 2008).
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  27. 27. Caderno de Ideias FDC CI0901 Ci0902 CI0903 CI0904 C CI0905 CI0906 CI0907 CI0908 CI0909 CI0910 Marketing relationships in Brazil: Trends in value strategies and capabilities. Áurea Helena Puga Ribeiro. Thomas G. Brashear. Plinio Rafael Reis Monteiro. Luciana Faluba Damázio. Fidelidade aos gestores de conta ou à empresa? O impacto da qualidade da relação nos resultados de relacionamentos business to business. Áurea Helena Puga Ribeiro. Daniele Vilaça Souza. Thiago Dumont. Inovações sustentáveis na base da pirâmide. Carlos Arruda. Nisia Werneck. Anderson Rossi. Paulo Savaget. riando empresas inovadoras. Carlos Arruda. Erika Barcellos. Gestão integrada de ativos intangíveis. Marco Tulio Zanini. Carmen Migueles. 8th european conference on research methodology for business and management studies. University of Malta. Valletta Malta. Joseph Azzopardi.Marina Araújo. Criando empresas inovadoras. Compreendendo a dinâmica do conhecimento para inovar em gestão um estudo no setor de biotecnologia. Reinaldo Lopes Ferreira. João Martins da Silva. Análise do modelo de concessão no transporte ferroviário brasileiro: a visão dos usuários. Paulo Tarso Vilela de Resende. Marcos Paulo Valadares de Oliveira. Paulo Renato de Sousa. Mobilidade urbana nas grandes cidades brasileiras: um estudo sobre os impactos do congestionamento. Paulo Tarso Vilela de Resende. Paulo Renato de Sousa. CI0911 CI0912 CI0913 O desafio da continuidade: Brasil é destaque no Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010. Carlos Arruda. Marina Araújo. Arthur Kux. Realidade e tendências do pedágio no Brasil. Paulo Tarso Vilela de Resende. Paulo Renato de Sousa O modelo de concessão ferroviária no Brasil sob a ótica dos usuários. Paulo Tarso Vilela de Resende. Paulo Renato de Sousa. Paulo Rodrigues Cerqueira.
  28. 28. CAMPUS ALOYSIO FARIA Alphaville Lagoa dos Ingleses 34000-000 – Nova Lima (MG) – Brasil Tel.: 55 (31) 3589-7200 UNIDADE BELO HORIZONTE Rua Bernardo Guimarães, 3071 Santo Agostinho 30140-083 – Belo Horizonte (MG) – Brasil Tel.: 55 (31) 3299-9700 UNIDADE SÃO PAULO Av. Dr. Cardoso de Melo, 1184 Vila Olímpia 04548-004 – São Paulo (SP) – Brasil Tel.: 55 (11) 3513-4700 www.fdc.org.br 4005 9200 (Capitais) 0800 941 9200 (Demais Localidades) Centro Alfa – Av. Princesa Diana, 760 INFORMAÇÕES Stela Carvalho Fone.: 55 31 3589-7413 – Fax: 55 31 3589-7402 stela@fdc.org.br Faça uma visita virtual à FDC. Acesse www.fdc.org.br e conheça nossas instalações e programação..

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