RESEARCH METHODS: CASE STUDY ANALYSISCase study A: Coupland, C. and Brown, A. 2004. Constructing organizational identities on the web: A case study of royal Dutch/Shell. Journal of management studies, Volume 41, Issue 8, p. 1326-1337.IntroductionThe issue discussed in this article is organizational identity as constructed in the processes of questioning, description, defense and contestation through conversations between organizational insiders and outsiders. It focuses on a case study involving the dialogue between the general public and Shell employees. The article begins by giving an overview of organizational identity according to previous researches and what has also been detailed in literature.
This is a strongpoint for the researcher since it provides him with a conceptual framework of what is expected in his study and gives direction into how he should conduct it. Research questionHow does web communication construct organizational identity? Research methodQualitative methods were used in this particular study. This is so because the researcher was more interested in understanding the underlying concept rather than determining the extent of given statistics. An extensive search was conducted on the company’s website in order to locate specific conversations between citizens and the organization employees on identity-centered debates.
Interestingly, Shell has an open site for insider-outsider forums contrary to other companies which therefore provided a rich source of data. However, this can be highly contested and inappropriate since one site could provide results that are highly unreliable and invalid and insufficient in making conclusive judgments. Therefore, it would have been better if the researcher searched through other sites in the internet as well as publications from newspapers and journals. The researchers have to go through emails that were posted in a span of two years which proved to be tiresome and time consuming.
This became an outright limitation and source of error since the researchers were forced to analyze only a portion of the emails specifically those on ‘Value’ neglecting the rest on Commitment to sustainable development, engagement and open communication, heart of the business and investment. The random sampling method used in this particular study does not properly fit into the context. This is because the emails were based on given topics as indicated above which implied that the researchers would have stratified the emails according to the topics and thereafter selected specific subjects on a random basis.
The stratified sampling method would be recommendable so as to comprehensively answer the research question. ResultsIn this article, only two e-mail exchanges were highlighted to analyze the contribution of web interaction in maintaining organizational identity. Findings were centered on patterns of arguments which were either defense or contestation through display of full text sections. This process is rather complex as it required the researchers to dissect the messages and extract the ideas of the conversers and how they influenced organizational identity.
The sample actually cannot be generalized to the larger population since different emails bring out different ideas and it would only be appropriate to examine all the emails if the researcher was seeking adequate and sufficient results. Interviews and questionnaires given to the employees of Shell would preferably produce better results in this study.