بررسی استفاده از QPID: یک مطالعه مشترک از B2B در صنعت خودرو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23690||2007||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8819 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Omega, Volume 35, Issue 4, August 2007, Pages 451–464
Deep and grounded understanding of complex socio-technical phenomena, such as business-to-business (B2B) information systems, requires a collaborative process of enquiry where the researcher works with practitioners to make sense and establish meaning. This suggests the need for interventionary approaches, such as action research and action case, supported by a method of notation for describing a co-constructed reality to make sense of inter-organizational settings and to undertake cross-case comparisons. This paper tests the conjecture that systems thinking and the qualitative politicized influence diagram (QPID) are an appropriate lens through which to study B2B information systems. It demonstrates how the QPID workshop is valuable in inter-organizational studies as a practical and appropriate method of collaborative investigation. The paper concludes by raising issues for research methodology in terms of limitations of the research method, recommendations for further development, and future plans for incorporating multiple partners in industry-level research.
The challenges faced by the information system (IS) investigator are expanding as the world is increasingly suffused with ubiquitous, interdependent, and emergent information technologies (IT). Qualitative studies into the impact of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce across sectors such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and microelectronics are important as these are complex, multi-dimensional, and highly political settings ,  and . Yet case studies and interviews are frequently insufficient as a research method where they depend on singular descriptions as a basis for gaining understanding. This paper argues that collaboration and participation are valuable in constructing reality through joint action by investigator and practitioner. This points toward interventionary approaches such as action research  and  and action case  and  through which researchers and practitioners work together to understand and intervene in a situation. However, in order to be usable, a language or method of notation is needed for describing a co-constructed reality to make sense of these complex situations. This paper proposes that systems thinking is a means of achieving this because of its holistic approach, dynamism, and capability to capture multiple perspectives  and . A second advantage of adopting a method and notation is that it provides a basis for comparison across individual cases. There are a number of feasible approaches to modelling a situation as a human activity system (HAS), such as Soft System Methodology  and  and SODA . A recent research method to emerge that involves a collaborative process of enquiry is based around the building of qualitative politicized influence diagrams (QPID)  and . QPID has the useful characteristic that it combines representation of the motivations and powers of specific agents for action within an explicit system model. This concatenation produces a powerful frame for analysis. QPID is an extension of the well-known system dynamics (SD) family of approaches that aim at generating managerial action through the interrogation of explicit models of the interrelationships between components of a business system. Qualitative approaches expressing system behaviour through numerical simulation are widely used, but QPID builds on the tradition of structural, qualitative analysis also well represented in the SD literature. In essence its innovative aspect is the way in which agents of action are attached to those causal connections over which they have influence. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to represent explicitly the rôles of those human contributors to system performance. Thus, the agents of action (the individuals and groups in an organization) lie at the heart of the process of generation of managerial action. Moreover those agents’ powers and motivations are seen within the context of the business system upon which, and in which, they operate. By developing the research design, this paper tests the conjecture that systems thinking and QPID are an appropriate way of studying complex settings, such as automotive B2B information systems used here as an exemplar. In this paper QPID is tested as a basis for collaborative enquiry in the automotive industry where, despite considerable investment and high expectations for savings from e-procurement, there is little evidence of realized benefits from B2B transactions of direct materials between buyers and suppliers. The dawn of the second century of vehicle manufacture finds the global car industry in crisis: automakers beset by 40–80 days unsold inventory, one-fifth of European customers driving home cars that are not what they intended to buy, and around 85% of total waiting time attributable to bottlenecks in information flow before an order reaches production  and . While heralded in the automotive sector as the solution to restructuring so-called ‘old economy’ firms with estimated annual savings of $1–200 billion in North America alone, the initial claims for B2B Internet trade exchanges (e-hubs) appear optimistic . e-hubs have not only endured the ignominy of a dotcom crash, but are now increasingly criticised over difficulties in adoption, indeterminate lifespan, and failure to create value , ,  and . The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 2 reviews systems enquiry methods, and introduces QPID and the QPID grammar. The research method is described in Section 3 while Section 4 describes the workshop design and execution of QPID. Section 5 uses an illustration of QPID from recent fieldwork to show how it may be incorporated into cross-case analysis. Section 6 reflects on the usefulness of QPID for B2B industry study as a practical and appropriate method of collaborative investigation. The paper concludes by raising issues for IS research methodology in terms of limitations of the research method, recommendations, and future plans.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
QPID has been used as a method for the collection of research data, but not in a hard case (objective) way, rather in a soft case (interpretive) manner where researchers and practitioners collaborate to investigate and co-create a social reality. QPID developed as a method for developing a platform for change in organizations therefore has a strong interventionary element. Further, this paper also argued that any research (including field experiments and hard case studies) conducted in an organizational setting will have an interventionary dimension, whether that intervention is planned or not. Thus, there is a double burden of intervention that arises from the choice of method—QPID—and from the organizational setting. The use of QPID in this manner is thus an example of action case research. While QPID offers several advantages to the investigator there are clearly also limitations to this approach. A chief concern is the management and reduction of bias—a common concern during action-based research methods . For instance, researcher bias may be present as ideas from one workshop are carried to another workshop. Multiple workshops, conducted by more than one investigator at each firm might reduce the instances of bias, but this raises the issue of resources. In comparison to structured interviews and observation, QPID workshops consume more research resource in terms of organization, facilitation, and presentation of data. While it can be argued that the potential benefits outweigh the investment, QPID workshops—like the case approach—may only suit researchers with particular skill sets and outlook. Certainly, it is important that the researcher is trained in facilitation skills beforehand if the workshops are to be effective. One further concern is over the labelling of loops and the definition of categories. The loop categories from the QPID workshops suggest a direct comparison is possible across all cases (Table 1). However, each QPID workshop represents a unique view of the world from the perspective of the participants whose values may not correspond with those held by other organizations. Further, while it is easy for the informant group to assign a plus or minus to the outcome of two variables, more difficult to resolve are the discussions over situations where the relationship type (balancing or reinforcing) is unclear or where the gain of the connection may be so small as to be effectively neutral or zero. Although the ±± notation would not be present in a structural system dynamics model it is a potentially useful addition to the QPID notation to support the process of collaborative enquiry and initial model building, helping to gain an insight into and understanding of a problem situation while leaving room for further exploration. The challenge for the investigator is to understand these similarities and dissimilarities while presenting the findings as closely as possible to reflect the meaning of the data in its original context. Future work will investigate how QPID might be used with other systems approaches, such as SSM and complex adaptive systems , and how it can be extended to support more significant interventions in action research. Further work is also needed to explore the role of QPID in cross-case analysis to support research into large units of research such as at industry level. This involves how QPID diagrams might be combined into a big picture of an industry or at least of multiple B2B partners at the same level. While Table 1 is a useful summary, there is a role for QPID in ‘joining up the diagrams’ to express the inter-organizational dynamics and ranking the loops in terms of their strength of connection. Finally, a QPID protocol based on a more formalised version of Section 4 would be valuable in future to guide investigator and participant conduct before, during, and after the workshop. This is needed to specify aspects such as preparation material, optimal number of participants, style of facilitation, workshop duration, recording of results, and dealing with post-workshop feedback.