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Unformatted text preview: 1983; Wicks Kelly and Philippatos, 1982; Bavishi,
1981; Oblak and Helm, 1980 and Stonehill and Nathanson, 1968). Researchers such
60 as Clemen (1999) perceived that through using survey-based research methods these
studies had overlooked many interesting issues. For example, they had not indicated
why decision analysis was used in some organisations but not others nor had they
provided an explanation of why companies endorsed the use of certain techniques and
failed to implement others (Clemen, 1999). It can be argued that the failure of such
studies to examine these issues had contributed to the division between behavioural
decision theorists and decision analysts outlined in Section 2.4 of Chapter 2.
Therefore, qualitative methods were chosen to build a picture of decision analysis use
in upstream organisations. In using such an approach the researcher aimed to investigate the relationship between normative decision analysis models and
behavioural decision theory descriptions.
The next step involved deciding which companies would comprise the population for
the current study. Limited resources had already dictated that the research had to be
constrained to oil companies who had offices in the U.K.. A list of all the operators
active in the U.K. was obtained via UKOOA (United Kingdom Offshore Operators
Association). These thirty-one companies then constituted the population for the
Following this, the next decision was which qualitative instrument, or combination of
instruments, to use. Methods such as case study research and participant observation
were clearly impractical with such a large number of companies within a relatively
short and finite time-period. Acknowledging that the companies in the sample were
all competitors, and that the issues that would be under discussion are commercially
sensitive multi-company focus group discussions were also omitted from
consideration. Intra-company focus groups were considered and rejected since it was
felt that this would prohibit a frank expression of attitudes and experiences and
become an exercise in reporting the formal organisational perspective. This process
of elimination identified a semi-structured style of interviewing with several
respondents in each company to be a useful instrument to employ in this research.
Using this technique, a set of themes and topics is defined to form questions in the
course of conversation. This strategy, it is argued in the qualitative methods literature, gives informants an opportunity to develop their answers and allows the
researcher the freedom to follow up ideas, probe responses and investigate motives
61 and feelings (for example, Okley, 1994; Bryman, 1989). It also allows the researcher
to be sensitive to the participants’ understanding of the language and concepts under
investigation. In exploring the investment appraisal decision process, the interviews
focussed on four core areas. These were firstly, decision analysis techniques that
were used and why; secondly, how the tools were used; thirdly, the integration of the
results from the techniques into the whole i...
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This document was uploaded on 03/30/2014.
- Summer '14
- The Land