Large Databases for Strategy Research


This case illustrates how to identify and apply existing data sets as an alternative to conducting time-consuming primary research. In particular, with the advent of big data and the explosion in the availability of useful data, more and more existing data will make itself available to researchers, particularly in the business disciplines. The case covers the application of readily available financial data to research on the intangible assets (knowledge assets) of organizations. A well-known metric, the Tobin’s q, is evaluated, including different forms and applications, providing insight into decisions to be made about how existing data best fit a particular research study. Extensions are provided, illustrating how data can be enhanced over time and in different applications. In this case, competitive intelligence activity is combined with the knowledge development (Tobin’s q) data as is information on big data capabilities. Guidance is provided on data combination, the added potential from such combinations, and the limitations. As in all research, one of the key points is to understand the origins of the data, the meaning, and how best to apply them.

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