Identify a Theoretical or Conceptual Framework
BTM 7300, Assignment 7
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Antoinette Kohlman
9 May 2017
Identifying a Theoretical Framework
As a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree at Northcentral University, it is of the upmost importance that a theoretical or conceptual framework be identified at the earliest stages of the dissertation research. For my degree program studying Organization Leadership, I will be focusing on the role that technology plays in the twenty-first century workplace and the challenges they present to the leader. How does technology impact communication? Within the context of a virtual workplace, how does one maintain a cohesive culture without maintaining regular and personal interaction with the workforce? In the multi-generational workforce environment, how does the modern e-leader motivate successive generations when their understanding and capabilities of technology are so widely varied? These are just a few of the challenges that will be explored in my research and dissertation on this subject.
In researching and writing about this subject, a theoretical or conceptual must be identified to guide the research and writing. A theoretical framework is used in either developing a new theory or expanding on a current theory, as opposed to a conceptual framework which is used in solving a practical problem. In these early stages of my own research, a theoretical as opposed to a conceptual framework has taken shape as the particular task at this point is to expand on current research and theory rather than to solve a practical problem. In these early stages of research and writing, the theoretical framework that is employed is known as the Grounded Research Theory Methodology.
Grounded Research Theory Methodology
Grounded research theory methodology is a theoretical framework developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) and is a methodology of systematic data analyses. Data is collected through interviews, surveys, or questionnaires, which is then systematically analyzed and interpreted. The interpretation and analysis of the data then leads to the development of a theory (Chua, 2017). In this way, the resulting theory is grounded in the research rather than simply formulated subjectively by the researcher.
Within this theoretical framework, there exist certain criteria which help determine the validity of the data. First, there must be a constant comparison of the research findings with everyday experience (Chua, 2017). Secondly, the results of the research findings must be applied in the field. Finally, the abstract nature of the theory must be adapted for application in a variety of contexts (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).
Other frameworks used
In the early stages of my research, I have already encountered a variety of theoretical frameworks employed by researchers. Some of these include motivating language theory (Sarros, 2014), adaptive structure theory (Avolio, 2013), content analysis (Savolainen, 2014), grounded research theory (Chua, 2017), and the phenomenological approach (Sharma, 2015). The vast majority of these frameworks, however, are either not suited toward the type of theoretical research I am engaging in, or they are simply not the most effective frameworks in which to conduct such research.
Why grounded research theory?
The grounded research theory seems to work best for the purposes of my research primarily due to the fact that it allows for data to be collected, analyzed and synthesized, and interpreted objectively. This interpretation then leads to the development of a theory, which can then be expanded or modified as new data is collected. Finally, it can and should lead to a positive impact in the sphere of influence in which it is applied.
For example, included in my research will be the treatment of ethics in the virtual workplace saturated with information technology. How does the modern e-leader ensure that such information, which is often sensitive in nature, get treated in an ethically appropriate manner? Certain research is already underway in this field (Brooks, 2010; Sharma, 2015; Verma, 2016) and, as a result, a degree of data collection has already taken place. Therefore, my literature review on this subject would already include data collected on one of the very topics which would comprise my own research and dissertation. The next step would be the synthesizing, analyzing, and interpreting of the data upon which a new theory could be developed. In this methodology, employing grounded research theory as a theoretical framework would be instrumental in the formation of a new theory on the subject.
Grounded research theory in studying a multi-generational workforce
A further area of study within the scope of my research includes the challenges e-leaders will face in leading multi-generational workforces in a technologically saturated environment. As with the aforementioned subject of ethics and technology, this is a subject which is currently being researched and about which data already exists.
For example, multiple studies have recently been conducted which found that different age groups view e-leadership differently (Patchanee, 2011; Mackenzie, 2010). Similarly, multiple studies have recently been conducted which deal with the challenges of leading the Millennial generation in a technological workplace of hyperconnectivity (Cheong, 2016) and the resulting communication (Lilian, 2014) and public relations (Kiesenbauer, 2015) challenges faced by both modern and future e-leaders. Further studies have recently been conducted which specifically deal with these challenges as they apply to government employees and their supervisors (El Khouly, 2014).
By operating within the theoretical framework of the grounded research theory, the data collected by these authors, which is already collected and available, can be analyzed, synthesized, and interpreted in such a way that a new theory can be developed and subsequently built upon. As with the previous example of the treatment of ethics in the virtual workplace, the theoretical framework of grounded research methodology allows for the pre-existing research and data to form the basis of the theory rather than the subjective and perhaps biased view of the researcher.
As I continue to research this topic, I will look to operate within the theoretical framework provided by the grounded research methodology. As previously mentioned, this framework allows for pre-existing data, which has already been thoroughly researched and analyzed, to enter into the equation and formation of an entirely new theory.
It also allows for new data to be collected, analyzed, and interpreted in conjunction with the pre-existing data on the subject. In doing so, this theoretical framework provides room for constant re-evaluation and adjustment of the theory as more and more data is collected and analyzed.
By utilizing this theoretical framework, it could also lead to the development and implementation of an entirely new conceptual framework as well in further research on the subject. For example, the resulting theory could then be implemented into a real-world scenario to solve the practical problem which caused the theory to be initially investigated in the first place.
As an example, if, though the course of testing the theory in the parameters of this theoretical framework it is discovered that current ethics training is insufficient, and a new theoretical model is constructed, this could lead to an entirely new conceptual framework. In this way, the theoretical framework of the grounded research theory could formulate a well-researched theory which, once constructed into a new conceptual framework, solves the problem which caused the theoretical framework to be employed from the outset of the research.
As I continue my own research, I am very much looking forward to implementing the grounded research theory into a theoretical framework for my research. As I collect my own data on the subject, it is my hope and ambition that my own unique contribution to this area of organizational leadership can ultimately lead to the solution to a practical problem within the field.
Avolio, B., Sosik, J., Kahai, S., Baker, B. (2013). "E-leadership: Re-examining transformations in leadership source and transmission". The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 105-131. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Brooks, R. (2010). 'The Development Of A Code Of Ethics: An online classroom approach to making connections between ethical foundations and the challenges presented by Information Technology'. American Journal of Business Education, 3(10), 1-13. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Cheong, P., Shuter, R., Suwinyattichaiporn, T. (2016). 'Managing student digital distractions and hyperconnectivity: Communication strategies and challenges for professorial authority' Communication Education, 65(3), 272-289. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Chua, Y.P., & Chua, Y.P. (2017). How are e-leadership practices in implementing a school virtual learning environment enhanced? Computers & Education, 109, 109 –121. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
El Khouly, S., Ossman, M., Selim, M., & Zaghloul, M. (2014). Impact of E- Leadership on Leadership Styles within the Egyptian Government Sector. Competitive Forum, 12 (1), 131 –140. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
Kiesenbauer, J. & Zerfass, A. (2015). 'Today's and tomorrow's challenges in public relations: Comparing the views of chief communication officers and next generation leaders'. Public Relations Review, 41(4), 422-434. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Lilian, S.C. (2014). 'Virtual teams: opportunities and challenges for e-leaders'. Contemporary Issues in Business, Management and Education, 110, 1251 - 1261. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
Mackenzie, M.L. (2010). 'Manager communication and workplace trust: Understanding manager and employee perceptions in the e-world'. International Journal of Information Management, 30, 529-541. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
Patchanee, M. & Servaes, J. (2011). 'The media use of American youngsters in the age of narcissism: Surviving in a 24/7 media shock and awe – distracted by everything'. Telematics and Informatics, 28, 66-76. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
Sarros, J. C., Luca, E., Densten, I., & Santora, J. (2014). Leaders and their use of motivating language. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 35(3), 226-240. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Savolainen, T. (2014). Trust-Building in e-Leadership: A Case Study of Leaders' Challenges and Skills in Technology-Mediated Interaction. Journal of Global Business Issues, 8(2), 45-56. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Sharma, S., Lomash, H., & Bawa, S. (2015) 'Who regulates ethics in the virtual world?'. Science And Engineering Ethics, 21(1), 19-28. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park: SAGE.
Verma, P., Mohapatra, S., & Lowstedt, J. (2016) 'Ethics Training in the Indian IT Sector: Formal, Informal, or Both?' Journal of Business Ethics, 123(1), 73-93. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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