Chapter Listing | Return to 1997 Topical Index

Analytic Procedure

Content analysis based on predefined categories, a form of 'Instrumental content analysis', was used to identify the salient organizational resources from the data (Stake, 1994)  Specifically each author focused on the mentions of 'organizational resources,' and then inductively identified those issues that seemed to be most salient to organization members at each data collection period.  The approach was iterative, moving between the theoretical categories of organizational capital, the qualitative data itself, and the themes we were developing from the data. Both authors coded the data independently using this method.  We then reviewed each other's coding, and worked through differences in conceptualizations, finally arriving at 100% agreement on the basic categories of organizational resources in each company.

The process of converging on a coding scheme pointed out some challenges in pursuing qualitative research on resource flows.  We found that defining 'what is' versus 'what is not' a resource is not straightforward.  For example, resources as a unit of analysis is not "objective" since a single resource might be made up of several components or 'essences', each of which could be seen as it's own set of resources.  Neither are organizational resources unambiguous—the distinction is not always clear between the entrepreneur's vision/intention versus the organizational decision making process used to convey that decision to key personnel.  Finally identifying the 'catalysts' of change is not easy, especially since the first author is so deeply embedded in the current histories of these companies.  We did find great benefit in having one of us so deeply involved and another more separate, for themes and explanations that one of us did not see were more easily confirmed or disconfirmed by the other.

 Separately, in order to identify shifts between growth stages, the first author developed a preliminary approach to analyze non–incremental changes over time in each of these companies.  Following the empirical methods of organizational punctuated equilibrium (Romanelli & Tushman, 1994), these new ventures were conceived in terms of key ‘domains’—strategy, structure, and organizational controls; plus a fourth core quality, namely the overall goal or opportunity perceived by the entrepreneur (Glade, 1967; Shaver & Scott, 1991).  This fourth quality has been described in terms of the company’s ‘deep structure’ (Gersick, 1988; Drazin & Sandelands, 1992; Katz, 1993); in organizational terms this may refer to the identity of the company—“Who we really are” (Dutton & Dukerich, 1990).

 Following the empirical methods in Romanelli & Tushman, changes were coded when a shift occurred in any of these domains.  Specifically, a ‘1’ was coded: (a) on the introduction or elimination of a product or product line; (b) at the announcement of a shift in industry, market segment or overall strategic change; (c) at the implementation of a structural re–orientation that affects the employment or reporting relationships of at least 50% of the company; (d) when the number of people in a specific department or functional area of two or more people grows or diminishes by at least 100%; (e) when a new control system is implemented that affects at least 50% of the company; or (f) at the announcement of a new vision, or when a new ‘core identity’ for the company is generated.  Each of these changes was coded on a week–by–week basis (except for (d) which was calculated over a 4–week period).  Shifts in the organization’s development were counted as the sum of these changes over any four week period.  Major shifts were coded when N = 5; Moderate shifts when N = 3 or 4.  These changes were confirmed by the second author.

 Once the shifts were confirmed, our focus moved to identifying differences in resource bundles over time.  Through discussion and further review of the data, we arrived at full agreement on the changes of the organizational resources across shifts in each company's development (described below).  Finally, we began a discussion on the catalysts for change and found that our perspectives were somewhat different as to the possible causes and issues involved.  Due to time constraints we decided to leave this for future research.
 

Top of page | Chapter Listing | Return to 1997 Topical Index

1997 Babson College All Rights Reserved
Last Updated 06/01/98