11. Catching it as it happensEthel Brundinpages 285 to 290 By: AidinSalamzadeh Professor: Arabiyoun Faculty of Entrepreneurship , University of Tehran
Real-time methodologies for the collection of empirical material This study focuses on two entrepreneurial processes in two different firms. The main interest was in the two entrepreneurs. The one entrepreneurial process was the development and implementation of equipment for quality assurance for the third generation of mobile phones. The other entrepreneurial process was to develop and market a totally new product within a mature market. The project was studied in situ, that is, I followed two realtimeprocesses over a period of 20 months, including two intensive four month periods at both firms. A set of real-time methodologies was applied involving all parties within the process
An example of a micro-process phenomenon: emotions Emotions and how they matter in entrepreneurial contexts are conspicuously absent in the literature. Even so, there are many reasons to believe that emotions play a major role within entrepreneurial processes where the urge to succeed with the business and make it grow is important. The very essence of entrepreneurship and its many connections to devotion and motivation would be sufficient reason.
The underlying research questions in this example (1) what emotions are communicated by the entrepreneur during the process of developing the business; (2) when and where do different emotions emerge during such a process and (3) how do emotions influence the process?
According to Sturdy (2003), the choice of theoretical approach is important when studying emotions.
an emotion is not something that a person ‘has’, but it is interpreted and translated by other people and the emotion is dependent on their – conscious or unconscious – interpretations and decisions about how to understand the emotion.
A natural consequence is to look for emotions in linguistic practices included in communication and interaction, and with an emphasis on micro-processes. Dialogues are the starting point in forming emotions and they evolve, transform and take on new directions in ‘the space between’ formed by institutional and organizational contexts.
Emotion refers to happiness, anger, fear, frustration, hope, joy, surprise, disgust, hate, excitement, anxiety, sadness, depression, contempt, guilt, anguish, envy, jealousy, compassion, pity, embarrassment, shame, indignation, pride, and the like ,but also more long-term emotions such as loyalty, friendship, team spirit and sympathy.
The step-by-step application of real-time methodologies
Interviews and ‘intimate’ conversations a range of interviews was undertaken with the two entrepreneurs in order to build trust. Over time, the initial interviews turned into conversations that were more and more personal and I could move on to intimate conversations
Successive observations Observation as a methodology is widely accepted. Observations can vary on a continuum from complete participation to non-participative observations
when I spent time with the entrepreneurs and ‘their’ processes I made observations all along; in meetings, in the daily ‘rounds’, at lunches, at coffee breaks, during informal conversations with people around the entrepreneur, on business trips and so on
Successive observations do not, however, allow for observations of inner thinking and feeling. Therefore an involvement with the entrepreneurs and their ‘inner circles’ was deemed necessary.
Involvement with the entrepreneurs An issue that is not brought up very often is the amount of material that is frequently the result of qualitative approaches: the researcher has to interpret quite a heavy load of notes, tapes, e-mail correspondence, brochures, minutes of meetings, CD material, advertisements, and the like.
I usually spent two to three consecutive days at each company, arriving without any prior notice other than making sure that the entrepreneurs were ‘at home’. Each visit was built up in pretty much the same way: a conversation took place, where we talked about what had happened since last time we met, including what issues brought them joy or disappointment. If any meetings were planned during my stay, the entrepreneurs were asked for their expectations, fears and doubts before the meeting and in relation to what issue.
I first tried to establish a close relationship, where the entrepreneurs would feel free to reveal as much as possible, hence creating a situation where they could be honest with me
As the study progressed, the entrepreneurs and their immediate working and family environment were engaged more and more actively. The empirical material is therefore represented by a series of detailed micro-processes from a range of formal and informal arenas, where the entrepreneurs and others helped out in interpreting and analyzing the process, such as meetings, lunch and coffee breaks, trips, social events and at family gatherings.
Self-reports (diaries and e-mails) Self-reporting is a method that has been used in other disciplines, such as medicine, psychology and psychotherapy, but is very limited within the field of entrepreneurship.