Role of networking in business world and its benefits
Over the last few decades, business firms have increasingly adopted the concept of business networking. Many business organizations have entered into a broad range of inter-firm relationships with an aim of improving their performance (Farinda, 2009; De Klerk, 2011; Broad, 2012). Some of these business networks encompass franchises, joint ventures, coalitions, partnerships, and strategic alliance. The areas of cooperation and collaboration include knowledge transfer, financing, exporting, training, marketing, production, and research and development (Wang, Ahmed & Worrall, 2004; Walter, Auer & Ritter, 2006). Businesses see networking as a strategic away of developing joint solutions to common challenges facing them. Business networking permits organizations to combine resources with an aim of entering new markets, acquiring new resources and technologies, attaining economies of scale, and gaining knowledge (Wincent, 2005; Worrall, 2007; Watson, 2007).
Pitfalls of Business Network
Despite various benefits associated with business networking, the concept is plagued with several shortcomings. Specifically, business networking can sometime inhibit the development of companies (Broad, 2012). One of the disadvantages associated with business networking is the possibility of local competitors gaining inside knowledge and using it to undermine the business as well as reducing the firm’s competitive edge. Firms that depend on business networking can easily loss control and give room to outside interference (Farinda, 2009; Broad, 2012).
Chapter Three: Methodology
This chapter explored the strategy that was employed by the researcher in the development of this study and discussed the hybrid technique implemented to conduct the research task. This chapter covered research philosophy, research strategy and method, sample size and sampling technique, data collection and instrumentation, ethical considerations, and limitations of the instruments used to collect information from research participants.
Borrowing from Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007), research philosophy entails the belief on the way information regarding the proposed research study should be gathered from research participants, analyzed, as well as, utilized for the purpose of meeting the aims and objectives of the study. Researchers have established three significant research philosophies that can be adopted by investigators while gathering data from research subjects. These research philosophies encompass positivism, realism, as well as interprevistim. According to Saunders et al. (2007), the main idea underpinning positivism is that reality is unwavering and can be described from the objective point of view without much interference with the topic that is being investigated by the researcher. Positivism is particularly useful when conducting quantitative research studies because the investigator is in most concerned with the general information regarding the topic under investigation. On the other hand, interpretivism philosophy argues that reality can only be fully comprehended via intervention in reality and subjective elucidation. Researchers who implement interpretivism philosophy in their study are concerned with studying the research topic under their natural environment. Building on Creswell (2009), Realism integrates both positivism and interpretivism research philosophies with an aim of benefitting from them.
Realism was deemed appropriate for this study because it integrated both positivism and interpretivism philosophies in exploring whether business networking is an essential ingredient of the success recipe in business. Specifically, the study explored the opinions and beliefs of research participants regarding the benefits and pitfalls associated with business networking and provided recommendations that can be adopted by businesses to enhance their competitive edge.
Advantages of networking
Research Strategy and Method
This study adopted descriptive research strategy with an aim of describing the lived experience of the research participants regarding whether business networking is an essential ingredient of the success recipe in business. Qualitative research method was adopted in this study with an aim of exploring the feelings and attitudes of the research subjects regarding whether business networking is an essential ingredient of the success recipe in business (Kothari, 2009). Specifically, depth-interviews were used with experienced networkers such as training and HR consultants, small consumer goods manufacturers, mid size service providers of horeca industry, private investment advisors, and tour operators.
Sample size and Sampling Technique
Scholars unanimously agree that the sample size in a qualitative research study should be small because of the cumbersomeness of data involved. The number of participants that was adopted for this study was 10 which were considered sufficient to gain opinions, beliefs, and altitudes concerning the benefits associated with business networking. Small sample sizes consume less time consuming and are less costly.
The sampling technique adopted in this study was snowball sampling because it increased quality of data collected from research participants, enabled a high response rate, and facilitated high quality respondents (Creswell, 2009).
All the research participants who took part in this study met the following qualitative survey criteria (1) a frequent user of business networks, (2) individual entrepreneur who are small sized, and (3) an experienced business networker. Ten small sized entrepreneurs and experienced business networkers were identified for this study with the help of professional business services agency. The investigator contacted the participants using a telephone. The purpose of the study was explained to them and once they consented to take part in the research study, details of the interview were sent to them via the email.
Data Collection Technique
This study used both primary and secondary data in answering the proposed research questions. Primary data was obtained directed from research subjects through semi-structured interviews while secondary information was obtained from books, publications, newspapers, scholarly journal articles, and magazines that contained information whether business networking is an essential ingredient of the success recipe in business. Specifically, secondary data played an integral role in providing useful information regarding the benefits and pitfalls associated with business networking as well as provide necessary recommendations that can be adopted by business organizations to attain competitive edge.
Existing literature has demonstrated the importance of conducting an ethical research that protects the confidentiality of research participants and protecting them from harm (Allen & Earl, 2009; Robert, 2000). This study paid attention to this call by submitting interviewer’s guide to the ethics committee for approval before starting gathering information from the research subjects. All the research participants who took part in this study were requested to provide their consent. First, the purpose and objectives of the study were explained to them before requesting them to consent. The subjects were allowed to withdraw at any point of the research and no participant was compelled to be part of this study.
Limitations of the Study
Non-response from research participants was one of the limitations identified by investigators in this study. However, this setback was mitigated by providing short questions and using simple language that was easily understood by the research subjects.