MIS40910 – Skills for Business Enquiry – Personal Blog Learning Report

MSc. iBusiness – Smurfit UCD – Tarun Rattan

First I would like to thank our course co-coordinator Prof. Donncha Kavanagh who introduced the class to so many of these new concepts around business & research enquiry. I found all the readings introduced during the module quite interesting and thought provoking. This was the first time I attended a seminar based module and I really enjoyed the format and discourses during the class.

Week 1

The first class went pretty quickly but after discussing the syllabus & project paper requirements, Donncha was able to bring some sense into the course. He explained that the objective here was to develop the skills of enquiry in the students and journal reading and critique will be used for this throughout the module.

Week 2

I found the first presentations on the readings on Geertz & Gursky very thought provoking. The readings were a good introduction on how to frame research question and what skill sets are required to answer these questions. The Balinese cockfight article was in particular helpful to understand how interconnections between social norms & game play work and how researching game play can make evident the underlying societal customs & hierarchical structures.

Week 3

In the next class Brannick’s & Huff’s readings introduced me for the first time into the interplay & disconnect between academicians & practitioners. The articles were a good introduction into different research paradigms and highlighted the challenges in bringing the academics & practitioners together to solve common contextual issues. Particularly the interference to Plato’s cave made by Donncha brought the clarity around disconnect between the two worlds.

Week 4

Abrahamson & Pfeffer’s readings were for the defining moment of the module and I was in particular fascinated by the arguments raised by Abrahamson on diffusion & rejection of innovations. The readings were a great introduction to the art of collecting & analysing evidences as well as acted as a primer for critical thinking. As this was our turn for presentation, so we were driving the discussion and I felt afterwards that we did a good job at it.

Week 5

Levy’s reading on effective literature review was very helpful in understanding the literature review process and how IO based simple approach can be used to review the journal articles. Rosenzweig’s article on Halo effect introduced me to challenges of dealing with rhetoric & fallacies while answering research questions.

Week 6

Stern’s article on history of happiness was an enjoyable read. I felt it was US focused but is none the less an interesting insight into the epicurean school of philosophy in an approachable societal / magazine format. Sutton paper, particularly around the implicit social agreements that guide behavior make also for interesting reading. I found it admirable that when the hypothesis they set out to confirm was debunked that they utilized the quantitative / qualitative data gathered to develop a revised position.

Week 7

I found Wacker’s definition of theory around Operation management a bit out of focus. The article lacked any framework on the measurement and analysis of internal processes while building the theories on Operations Management. Dahlander’s artcile on open innovation raised the question on if open source technologies in software, a fair & accurate representation of open innovation? Later Donncha’s discourse on theory & theorizing and reflection on the articles brought a new insight into the discussions.

Week 8, 9 & 10

Unfortunately I had a personal grievance at home and had to rush to India and could not attend the classes on these weeks. But I did read the articles for the weeks and found in particular Scherer’s article on Innovation Lottery interesting.

Week 11

Ghosal & Stein’s articles brought the important topic of ethics in corporate culture to the fore and the class had a passionate discussions around it. One of the conclusions was that defining ethical choices are difficult and that there cannot be any compromise with ethics.

Week 12

On Gordon’s article, I’m not sure if his basic premise is right i.e. that innovation does not have the same potential to create growth in the future and in the past. Who after all can predict future? Perhaps the next big innovation is round the corner. Parker’s article introduced me for the first time to the challenges faced by journal editors and how commercialization of knowledge is putting all of us at a disadvantage.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the module.

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