Competitive Intelligence in the Enterprise: Power Relationships

Competitive Intelligence in the Enterprise: Power Relationships

Relebohile Moloi (Department of Informatics, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa) and Tiko Iyamu (Department of Business Computing, Polytechnic of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/jantti.2013040104
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Due to increasing challenges, as well as competitiveness, many organisations have sought advantaging and beneficiary techniques and options. One of those options is through Competitive Intelligence (CI) products, which some organisations have come to rely upon for sustainability and competitive advantage. Unfortunately, and to some degree, fortunately, there are different CI products which organisations could choose from. The products are supposed to be selected and deployed based on organizational requirements from both technical and business perspectives. Some organisations deploy more than one competitive intelligence product. Others are not guided, and do not understand the essence of the deployment, regarding achieving the organisational objectives. The fortunate and unfortunate situations which occur in the deployment of CI products in organisations are drawn from relationships amongst stakeholders in the selection and implementation processes. The relationships are manifested from control of sources which use the power for decision making. The relationships emanate from the fact that there are no proper comparisons of the products, driven by requirements. As a result, the organisations are faced and challenged with duplication and waste of resources. They struggle to determine their competitive advantage. This situation further manifests the complexity of technical and business artefacts. Case study research was conducted to understand how CI products are deployed in the organisation. A sociotechnical theory, actor-network theory was employed in the analysis of the data, primarily to examine and understand how control of resources for power defined and shaped relationships.
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Research Approach

The case study method was employed in the study. Yin (2003:4) describes a case study as the method of choice when the phenomenon under study is not readily distinguishable from context. According to Stake (2010:27) case studies are simplistic in that they look at only one or a few classrooms, but they can also look most carefully at levels in test emphasis and teaching. Case studies are used to learn more about a real situation that is currently happening and may be used to learn more about a certain phenomenon in its current setting. According to Welman and Kruger (2001:182) a case study is used when a limited number of units of analysis such as an individual, a group or an institution, are studied intensively. According to Olivier (2004:98) case studies use techniques such as structured or unstructured interviews and direct observations, including participant observations and group discussions, to gather information. The case study explains exactly what the study is going to explore and how it is to be conducted. According to Blumberg, Cooper and Schindler (2008:377) the main advantage of case studies compared to other approaches is that they permit the combination of different sources of evidence such as Interviews, documents and archives and observation.

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