The long awaited moment arrived. The study (phase 1 I have to add) was completed and submitted to the University of Johannesburg for examination. A series of academic articles will share the provisional taxonomy. Additional work will be done in the DPhil to continue building and validating the working definition of RA. I can’t share too much prior to formal publication but I can discuss the study approach and some of the outcomes and implications for industry.
There is a saying about going back to the beginning if all else fails. Grounded theory enabled me to do just that. The qualitative method for those unfamiliar with it works on the principle of inductive reasoning. It assigns codes or words to concepts as it appears in the raw data. The creation of the code is done within the context of what is said without considering who said it, through which medium and for what reason. Obviously one can use the method to analyse “who said it” and “how it is communicated” but for this study I focused on what is said. Some 200 “what of RA” codes were generated and analysed to create hierarchies of conceptual categories. Developing the hierarchies of meaning this way allows your theory (or the concepts only in this case) to be grounded in the data. It thus becomes free of emotion, own values or ideas.
Over 20 core concepts emerged from the data, many of which are of no surprise. When you read industry material, what is foremost in most of these RA articles? Motivation to do RA, structure of the RA function, functional area in which to do RA, the process and the methodology of RA, etc. Known concepts but with vague or fluid meanings attached.
The core concepts saturated. In other words I did not find industry material talking about a concept I did not already have. However, there are concepts, which did not develop density, as there was no material that provided detailed enough descriptions to develop properties. Using an example. The RA methodology developed properties of its purpose, e.g. what it should do for the CSP but did not develop enough on what it should look like or consist of to be regarded as a methodology. Needless to say, there is overlap in the material pertaining to concepts. What one source describes as the methodology, the other would position as a process. Some differences can be eliminated through analysis, while others become issues for industry debate and field assessments.
The provisional taxonomy positions these 20+ concepts into 8 domains within one of two underlying themes (business management practices and the philosophy of RA). The study was a bit wide to publish as one article. The basic taxonomy and the method used to arrive at it will be published in 1 article. Conflict across concepts or obvious disparity within concepts will be dealt with individually though discussion documents. These will be published in academic journal where you will have the opportunity to respond. I will also attempt to resolve these conflicts through fieldwork, which may….will be quicker than formal journal discussions.
Happy to answer questions if I can do so within the constraints of publication requirements.
Well done for completing this phase of the study! Many of us look forward to reading the published work. Be sure to let us know when it is published.
Sounds like a very interesting study. And long awaited, I would say, as it seems to scan beyond any peculiar interest of the regular participants to RA phenomenon. Keep us posted when it will be available.