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Afhandling/Master Thesis


Indlevering af afhandling på Cand.merc., Cand.IT, Cand.ling.merc. og HD
-
studier /
Delivery
of the Master Thesis for the Master programmes

Der afleveres
til Studieadministrationen / To be handed in at the Registrar’s Office:

-

en kopi af indberetningskvitteringen fra Theses@asb / a copy of the receipt from Theses@asb

-

2 trykte eksemplarer af afhandlingen / 2 printed copies of your thesis

-

2 udfyldte ekse
mplarer af denne formular / 2 filled in copies of this form

HD
-
afhandlinger afleveres på samme måde til instituttet /
Likewise, Graduate Diploma theses are to be delivered to
the Department.


Titel
(brug venligst blokbogstaver)

/
Thesis Title
(capital letters)

HUSK
-

også titel på fremmedsprog

-

kun for CLM

/
REMEMBER



Title in the foreign language


only for CLM

Relationship management in a non
-
profit foundation: A case study



Evt. undertitel /
Subtitle



Emneord /
Subjects

(min.

3 words)

Relationship marketing

Relationship management

Knowledge management




Opgaveløser(e) /
Author(s)

N
AVN

/

N
AME

Esben Nørris Christensen

E
-
MAIL

esnoch@hotmail.com

STUDIENUMMER

/

STUDENT NO

401153

STUDIE

/

COURSE

MACC

N
AVN

/

N
AME


E
-
MAIL


STUDIENUMMER

/

STUDENT NO


STUDIE

/

COURSE


N
AVN

/

N
AME


E
-
MAIL


STUDIENUMMER

/

STUDENT NO


STUDIE

/

COURSE



V
EJLEDER
/

INSTRUCTOR

B
IVEJLEDER
/

CO
-
INSTRUCTOR

I
NSTITUT
/

DEPARTMENT


Chiara Valentini


Faculty of Business and Social
Sciences


VIL DU
TILLADE ONLINE ADGAN
G VIA
BIBLIOTEKETS DATABAS
E

/

WOULD YOU
PERMIT ONLINE ACCESS

FROM THE
LIBRARY DATABASE


JA

/

YES

NEJ

/

NO


DATO OG UNDERSKRIFT

/

DATE AND
SIGNATURE

Udfyldes af instituttet / To be filled in by the department


LOKALE
/

PLACE

DATO
/

DATE

KL
.

/

HOUR


CENSOR
/

EXAMINER



Handelshøjskolen


Aarhus Universitet

Fuglesangs Alle 4

DK


8210 Århus V

Tel. 89 48 66 88

Fax 89 48 61 26

Web
www.asb.dk




Relationship management in a non
-
profit
foundation: A case study


Esben Nørris Christensen

Study no.:
401153


August 1
st

2012

Business

and Social Sciences
, Aarhus University


Supervisor: Chiara Valentini




















“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



Foreword

I would like to thank the employees of SustainAgri who were kind enough to let me use their
company as a case study and
provided me with sufficient information regarding the daily workings
of a foundation.

Without them, this thesis would have been impossible to write.

Additionally, I also want to thank the contact persons who completed the sent out questionnaires
and thereb
y provided me with vital information about their view on relationships between
companies.




The abstract

contains 3,226
characters equivalent to approximately 1.5 page (excluding spacing)

This thesis contains
172
,
229

characters eq
uivalent to approximately

78

pages (excluding spacing).










“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



Abstract

The objective of this thesis is to explore the area of relationship management within a non
-
profit
foundation functioning on a B2B (business to business) market.

Relationship management has become increasingly important for companies to partake in, in order
for them to be able to stay competitive on an ever
-
increasing global market. This has
recently
been
relevant for larger companies and organisations to participa
te in since it
can have

the effect

of
reducing costs.
Relationship management has also become more relevant for SME’s
(small and
medium
-
sized enterprise
s
)
and the opportunity to create relationships
has also increased
with
companies

now being able to

creat
e shared research and development projects. This way SME’s are
able to create products and services that they would otherwise not have been capable of.

The first part of the thesis consists of a literature review which looks into the development of
relationship management and its similarities with relationship marketing.
This is relevant
because

I
investigate relationship management in a real
-
life context

consisting of

a foundation and its partner
companies.
However, whereas the focus
of
relationship marketing is to reduce costs for a company,
the focus of relationship management is to develop and maintain relationship
s,

which also focus on
the cooperation

between companies in order to reach a shared goal.

This section has also been
used
to

explain

knowledge management and how this is used to share
and gather knowledge both interdepartmentally as well as
among organisations
.

From the literature review, it

becomes clear that
a combination of relationship management and
knowledge management in the scholarly world has not been looked into. Moreover, there also
seems to be a need for more research into the aspect of non
-
profit foundations working on a B2B
mark
et.

The second section of the thesis involves the case study of SustainAgri. SustainAgri is a non
-
profit
umbrella foundation, receiving EU grants, functioning within a B2B market.

The current relationship between SustainAgri and it
s

partner companies lack
s

a common goal to
work towards. Furthermore, a lack of commitment and trust
appears

to be present which seem
s

to
prevent the relationship from developing. In addition to this, there seems to be a consensus amon
g

the partner companies that
they entered into

the relationship in order to also share knowledge across
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



the cluster of companies. However, currently knowledge does not seem to be shared between the
partner companies and
,

in some cases
,

not even with the foundation.

The third section focuses on which
improvements can be made in the relationship between
SustainAgri and the partner companies

in order for the relationship to develop and thereby become
stronger
.

Three suggestions have been created based on the discussion about the current relationship
.

All

suggestions focus on the need for the relationship to have common goals and objectives
,

giving

the relationship a purpose which it presently seem to lack.

Additionally, the increase in commitment, trust, two
-
way communication and the exchange of
knowledge

across companies can be achieved by creating smaller
segments

within the cluster of
companies. These will encourage a greater level of commitment and a sharing and gathering of
knowledge
,

which presently does not exist.

On the basis of these suggestions,

two models have been created in which relationship and
knowledge management aspects are used. These models are indented to increase the level of
cooperation, communication and dependency among all involved parties.

The thesis also shows that by combinin
g relationship and knowledge management
factors a greater
organisation
-
public relationship can be created than if the management functions were used
separately.









“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



Table of contents

Part I: Theoretical background

................................
................................
................................
..........................

1

1.1 Introduction

................................
................................
................................
................................
.................

1

1.1.1 Personal motivation

................................
................................
................................
.............................

2

1.2 Problem formulation

................................
................................
................................
...............................

2

1.2.1 Research questions

................................
................................
................................
...............................

3

1.2.2 Delimitations

................................
................................
................................
................................
........

3

1.3 Limitations

................................
................................
................................
................................
...............

4

1.3.1 Other data collection processes

................................
................................
................................
...........

4

1.4 Thesis structure

................................
................................
................................
................................
.......

5

1.5 Critical realism

................................
................................
................................
................................
.........

6

1.6 Case study approach
................................
................................
................................
................................

9

1.7 Case study: SustainAgri

................................
................................
................................
.........................

11

1.8 Qualitative research

................................
................................
................................
..............................

13

1.9 Quantitative research

................................
................................
................................
............................

14

1.10 Mixed methods

................................
................................
................................
................................
....

15

1.11 Data collection

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

17

1.12 Processes and methods

................................
................................
................................
.......................

18

1.12.1 Primary data

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....

18

1.12.2 Secondary data

................................
................................
................................
................................
.

19

1.13 Time period
................................
................................
................................
................................
..........

19

1.14 Interviews as data collection

................................
................................
................................
...............

19

1.15 Semi
-
structured interviews

................................
................................
................................
.................

20

1.16 Questionnaires as data collection

................................
................................
................................
.......

21

1.17 Questionnaires

................................
................................
................................
................................
....

22

1.18 Ethical considerations

................................
................................
................................
..........................

24


Part II: Literature review

................................
................................
................................
................................
..

24

2. The importance of relationship management between organisations

................................
.......................

24

2.1 Relationships

................................
................................
................................
................................
.........

24

2.2 Relationship marketing

................................
................................
................................
..........................

26

2.3 Relationship management
................................
................................
................................
.....................

34

“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



2.4 Knowledge management

................................
................................
................................
.......................

40

Knowledge sharing and gathering

................................
................................
................................
...............

44

2.5 Conclusion

................................
................................
................................
................................
.............

45

2.6 Results of the literature review

................................
................................
................................
.............

47


Part III: Discussion

................................
................................
................................
................................
...........

49

3. Case study: SustainAgri’s current relationship with its partner companies

................................
................

49

3.1 Relationship
factors

................................
................................
................................
...............................

50

3.2 Cooperation

................................
................................
................................
................................
...........

53

3.3 Satisfaction

................................
................................
................................
................................
............

57

3.4 Findings

................................
................................
................................
................................
..................

61


Part IV: Improvements

................................
................................
................................
................................
....

63

4. Creating better relationships for SustainAgri and the partner companies

................................
.................

63

4.1 Setting objectives

................................
................................
................................
................................
..

63

4.2 The management of knowledge

................................
................................
................................
............

64

4.2.1 Knowledge+Relationship
Management Model

................................
................................
..................

68

4.3 Creating an intranet

................................
................................
................................
...............................

69

4.4 Theory based on t
he case study of SustainAgri

................................
................................
.....................

73

4.4.1 Relationship+Knowledge Management Model

................................
................................
..................

76

4.3 Reliability

................................
................................
................................
................................
...............

77

4.4 Generalisation

................................
................................
................................
................................
.......

78

4.5 Validity

................................
................................
................................
................................
...................

78

4.6 Findings

................................
................................
................................
................................
..................

79


Part V: Final conclusion

................................
................................
................................
................................
...

81

5. Conclusion

................................
................................
................................
................................
...................

81

5.1 Further research

................................
................................
................................
................................
....

84


Bibliography

................................
................................
................................
................................
.....................

85

Appendix 1: SustainAgri’s overall purpose (2002)
................................
................................
...........................

93

Appendix 2: SustainAgri’s current EU goals

................................
................................
................................
....

95

Appendix 3: Organisational structure of SustainAgri

................................
................................
.....................

97

“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153



Appendix 4: Interview transcription


Car
sten Møller

................................
................................
....................

98

Appendix 5: Interview transcription


Christian Sønderup

................................
................................
...........

115

Appendix 6: Interview transcription


Lasse Bork Schmidt

................................
................................
...........

126

Appendix 7: List of partner companies

................................
................................
................................
..........

136

Appendix 8: Interview agreement forms

................................
................................
................................
......

140

Appendix 9: Questions for interview

................................
................................
................................
.............

145

Appendix 10: Interview guide

................................
................................
................................
........................

149

Appendix 11: Mail introducing questionnaire to partner companies

................................
...........................

154

Appendix 12: Questionnaire

................................
................................
................................
..........................

155

Appendix 13: Completed questionnaires

................................
................................
................................
......

165

Kongskilde A/S

................................
................................
................................
................................
...........

165

JMS Management ApS

................................
................................
................................
...............................

169

EnergiMidt

................................
................................
................................
................................
.................

174

Ingvald Christensen A/S

................................
................................
................................
.............................

179

Influx

................................
................................
................................
................................
..........................

184

Industri
-
Montage Vest A/S

................................
................................
................................
........................

188

Danish Farm Design

................................
................................
................................
................................
...

192

Little Dane ApS

................................
................................
................................
................................
..........

196

Nordic Environment ApS

................................
................................
................................
...........................

201

S.A. Christensen & CO.
................................
................................
................................
...............................

206

Appendix 14: Mail thanking contact persons for participating

................................
................................
.....

211

Appendix 15: Questionnaire guide

................................
................................
................................
................

212

Appendix 16: Partnership agreement contract

................................
................................
.............................

218


“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
1

of
227


Part I: Theoretical background

1.1
Introduction

The creation of r
elationship
s

has always been important in
people’s li
ves
.
Each person

gain
s

intangible value from these interpersonal
relationships,

helping

form and develop the people
involved.

Many of the same relationship aspects have been recognised
as important when developing
relationships between companies
.
C
ompanies

also develop relationships based on the intangible
values which can be gained from the cooperation between two or more
companies
. The most
important dimensions
were developed by Hon and Grunig in 1999 and are very similar to those of
personal relationship
s
: Trust, commitment, satisfaction and control mutuality

(The dimensions will

be further explained on page

30
)
.

During the last two decades, relationships have played an increasing role
in

larger organisations.
However, in recent years it has also
become
important

within SME

s
(small and medium
-
sized
enterprises)
due to the increasing globalisation o
f

the markets

and the need to stay competitive
.
R
easons can be found in the need for organisations to cooperate in order to reach objectives that
would otherwi
se not be possible to reach. Examples of cooperation could be
when

organisations
create common research and development projects where
they all

share the relevant knowledge
needed and

create more competitive
companies.

Another advantage

is

the fact that re
lationships can
lower costs and
generates

more wealth to each organisation involved in the relationship.

Although the above
-
mentioned dimensions are of great importance to the development of
organisation
-
public relationships, other factors such as knowledge creation and knowledge sharing
have had an increasing relevance for the development
and

maintenance of relationships.

Duri
ng this thesis, I will look into the research made by scholars within the areas of relationship
marketing, relationship management and knowledge management
.

By doing this, I will seek to find
areas which have not received much attention.

In
addition
,

I will include a case study focusing on a non
-
profit foundation, called SustainAgri,
which operates on the B2B
(business to business)
market.
T
here does not seem to be any relevant
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
2

of
227


research focusing on non
-
profit organisations on a B2B market but rather o
n non
-
profit
organisations which operate on a charitable basis. Furthermore, I will look into how knowledge
management and
relationship management might help develop better relationships between
companies
.

As a result of the research in SustainAgri
,

I will

provide suggestions of how to improve relationship
management
, knowledge management

and
level of
communication between SustainAgri and its
partner companies
.

1.1.1
Personal motivation

My motivation for choosing SustainAgri as a case study is due to
having

been an

intern there
during
my previous semester. This has

also provided me with knowledge I would otherwise not posses
about the internal workings of the foundation and some of its problems regarding relationship
management.

Since I
am researching

the
concept of relationship management between an organisation and
companies within a specific sector,

I decided to include SustainAgri as a case study
.

This is also
done in the hope of being able to shed light on certain areas which the foundation has not pre
viously
been aware of.

1.2
Problem formulation

The globalisation
of
national markets together with the demolition of national trade barriers have
made it more important than before for organisations to work together and to learn from each other.

T
his has b
een

especially

true for SME’s who have learned to share technology and knowledge with
each other while at the same time creating new products or services together. By doing so
the
companies stand

stronger and can

by doing so

create wealth and cut costs
,

ma
king

them more
competitive.

The main objective with this master thesis is to investigate the importance of the role of relationship
communication
between

a
non
-
profit, EU
-
granted foundation
and

its partner companies.

With this
, I
hope to
discover
how
the
foundation’s

communication affects the relational activities
with the

partner companies. To investigate this

in
-
depth
,
as previously mentioned,
I have included a case
study of a non
-
profit, umbrella
foundation,

SustainAgri
.

This is done in order to explore

how it
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
3

of
227


manages its relationships with the partner companies based on theories from the areas of
relationship marketing, relationship management and knowledge management.

I will investigate the importance of relationship communication
within SustainAgri, w
hich is also
an SME,

and how relationship communication and relationship management between the
foundation

and its partner companies are conducted and if
improvements can be made.

This will be done on the basis of existing theories and models created withi
n relationship marketing,
relationship management and knowledge management.

1.2.1
Research questions

On the basis of
the above
, I have chosen to
investigate

the following research questions:

1.
Why is relationship management important for B2B organisations?

2. How is the relationship between SustainAgri and its partner companies currently?

3. How can SustainAgri create better relationships with the partner companies?


1.2.2
Delimitations

Even though organis
ation
-
public theories
,

scholarly articles and resear
ch

have

been consulted in
order to
collect

as much
information

about relationship management as possible, the majority of
these seem to focus on how to develop and maintain relationships within B2C (business to
consumer) markets.
Those

theories have

been used for this thesis
,

which might result in a focus on
the relationship between a company and its publics and not so much on what is required when two,
or more, companies

seek to develop relationships. The reason for this is the fact that while the
p
artner companies, as the title would suggest, are companies in their own right, they are also
customers of SustainAgri. They are customers in the sense that the

foundation needs partner
companies in order to survive and the relationship would as a result n
ot be as equal as between two
companies.

After having looked through a vast amount of theories
about

organis
ation
-
public relationships, a
clear
-
cut definition of the word relationship, and what this entails, has not been possible to find.
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
4

of
227


This has resulted

in the use of an Oxford English Dictionary in which a short and concise
explanation was offered.

This defin
ition can be found on page 25
.

Due to my time as intern at SustainAgri, I have sensed a lack of commitment and willingness to
cooperate
from the
partner companies


side. Also it took Lasse Bork Schmidt, the Managing
Director of SustainAgri, four months to set up individual meetings with the contact persons from
the partner companies and he did not manage to have meetings with all. Because of this,
I chose to
only send questionnaires
out

in order to get as many of the partner companies’
points of
view
on the
relationship with SustainAgri

as
possible.
I believe this would be a better way of collecting data
than only interview
ing

two or three partner companies. Even though the level of information would
then have been higher and more data could be collected,
these contact persons would have to
answer for all partner companies
.

Since this was not the objective of the thesis, I did
not do
so
.

Moreover, due to
having been an

intern

at SustainAgri,

my opinion might
have
be
en

affected

by the
views of the employees
. Therefore, I saw questionnaires
for

the partner companies as the best data
collection method since I could not affect the a
nswers of the contact persons and
because they

could

then
answer more freely and honestly.

1.3
Limitations

Some of the self
-
reflections regarding theories used and the chosen methods have been mentioned
throughout the thesis but will be elaborated on durin
g this section.

For the thesis, I chose to use both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. However, if I
had had the opportunity to interview both the key employees from SustainAgri as well as the
contact persons from the partner companies it would have mad
e the collected information richer in
details. This way it would also have been easier to analyse and discuss the collected data because
the answers to the semi
-
structured interviews would have made for a better analysis
and

the answers
given by the partne
r companies could be explored further.

1.3.1
Other data collection processes

I ended up interviewing three key employees of SustainAgri and then sending questionnaires based
on the answers to the contact persons of the partner companies.
However, data coll
ection processes
such as focus groups and observation have been considered also.

“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
5

of
227


The reason for not using focus groups for the thesis is due to the fact that it would have taken longer
than the time allocated for the data collection processes. Additionall
y, contact persons would have
to be willing and able to participate. This would mean finding a date and time which would suit all
participants. In addition, the focus group participants would have to be able to represent the entirety
of the partner compani
es and not just their own company and its views. This realisation
led

me to
believe that even if I had the time for using focus groups, there was a chance of the data collected
becoming
distorted. Not all the partner companies would have the opportunity to

state their opinion
of their relationship with SustainAgri
,

and this could change the final result.

Observation as a primary data collection method was also an aspect which was considered but
rejected again. Its contribution to the thesis might have been

too limited compared to the data
collection methods which were used. The main concern behind this was the fact that it might focus
too much on areas within the daily workings of SustainAgri which are not relevant to the topic of
relationship management.

1.4
Thesis structure

The thesis is divided into five parts:

The first part of the thesis includes the introduction (personal motivation, problem statement and
research questions) as well as the section regarding the scientific approach and the method chose
n.

The overall scientific approaches are explained during this part and, moreover, the data collection
methods are explained and discussed. During this, there is also an explanation of the definitions of
primary and secondary data collection as well as qua
litative and quantitative research methods. This
is done in order to establish a theoretical basis for the outline of the thesis.

The second part of the thesis focuses on a literature review which explains the relevant definitions
and theories within the a
reas of relationship marketing, relationship management and knowledge
management. This will function as the theoretical background and
will be referenced

to during the
remainder of the thesis. This part will also answer the first research question concerni
ng the
importance of relationship management on a B2B market. Finally, this
also explains why a case
study

is relevant and which aspects

are looked into
.

The third part of the thesis introduces the current relationship between the non
-
profit foundation of
SustainAgri and its partner companies. Here the interviews of the three key employees of the
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
undation: A case study”

August 1
st

Esben Nørris Christensen


Exam no.: 401153

Page
6

of
227


foundation and the questionnaires received from the partner c
ompanies are analysed and discussed.
Differences in opinion between the partner companies and SustainAgri are looked into and
a deeper
level of understanding

of

the current relationship
is provided
.

The fourth part of the thesis then looks

at the results o
f the
discussion and offers suggestions for
improvements
for

the relationship. During this, both relationship management and knowledge
management are used in order to show a connection between the two areas. This is done with the
intent of proving
this

con
nection as well as
using

knowledge management
within
the area of
relationship

management
.

The fifth and final part discusses the generalisablility
of the results of the previous part
.
The a
spects
of reliability and validity
connected

to the
thesis

and the
research are discussed.

Finally, during this part of the thesis a final conclusion of
all
the findings
connected to

the thesis is
presented and a section regarding further research
highlights the interesting aspects to be looked
further into on the basis o
f this thesis
.

1.5
Critical realism

Critical realism was first used as a scientific approach during the 1970’s by Roy Bhaskar
(Bhaskar
,
1998) who had created it to counter the points of view of interpretists/constructionists and
positivists. Bhaskar thought of the existing paradigms as being superficial
(Alvesson & Sköldberg,
2009)

since they

did not focus enough on understanding the res
earched problems in
-
depth
,

as well
as the mechanisms which affected the problems.

The definition of what is real within the realm of

(McEvoy & Richards, 200

6)

critical realism is
very simple. Anything that has a causal effect on the behaviour of people c
an be deemed to be real.
This means that actions
(Pratschke, 2003)

are real due to the effect
they have

on one or more
persons
, however, ideas are also deemed real since
they

can

also

affect people. This can for
example be the case with the ideas and aspir
ations of Karl Marx’s philosophies about distributing
the wealth amongst people
1

(Pratschke, 2003)
.




1

Karl Marx is mentioned because many scholars
,

among others Pratschke (
2003)
, Losch (2009) and
Alvesson and Sköldberg (2009),
seem to agree with the fact that some inspiration behind critical
realism has come

from his writings.

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The goal within critical realism is not to create generalisable theories or models but to create a
deeper understanding of the world and how different
actors, for example people, technology and
culture, affect each other. However, if the researcher finds that the above mentioned mechanisms
have a great effect on the research topic, the theory or models derived from the research will
become easier to gene
ralise
. This
only becomes relevant when the result of research is new theory,
or models, that include more factors than already existing
ones
. Is this the case the new theory will
be pre
ferable to the existing theory
(Pratschke, 2003).

By creating
,

for ex
ample, a

new theory it will also become possible to explain how
mechanisms
from one subject area are

connected
with
other areas

and how
it

affect
s

them
. This knowledge will
then make it possible to change
these mechanisms

and improve
the area of research

(
McEvoy &
Richards, 2006).

C
ritical realism is at one end of the spectrum
,

with idealism being at the other end of the spectrum
(Pratschke, 2003). This is due to the critical nature of critical realism and that facts are not accepted
in blind faith

whereas
facts are

not reflected on
within

idealism. This is also the reason for idealism
being called “Naive idealism” (Losch, 2009).

Critical realism share
s

many similarities with positivism, for example the need for understanding
patterns within society

and what

causes these patterns.

A
t the same time
positivism is regarded

as
being too superficial since it does not find unobservable mechanisms of importance (Alvesson &
Sköldberg, 2009).

At the epistemological level, the job of the researcher is to look into,
and understand, the real
domain and how the me
chanisms within this affect other
domains (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009).
This is important since it helps explain the interconnectivity of phenomena and how they function
in addition to

why they do what they do
(Jeppesen, 2005).

Within critical realism ontology is prioritised over epistemology and methodology because
knowledge does not only reside in one person but is something which is influenced by external
factors
outside the control of one person

(Reed, 2001
). The reason for dividing ontology into three
domains is that critical realists
, this way,

will be able to isolate the specific problem related to a
research problem. This way it will also become apparent which mechanisms have an effect on the
specific pr
oblem and

how this

can be
changed

in order to improve
the

problem (Alvesson &
Sköldberg, 2009).

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Within critical realism there exist three ontological domains:

The empirical domain



what is possible to experience directly or indirectly as part of reality
(
McEvoy & Richards, 2006)
.

The actual domain



aspects of reality occurring independently of research (Alvesson &
Sköldberg, 2009)

The real domain



focuses on the mechanisms causing certain events
to occur

out
side the main
field of research

and how this creates phenomena connected to the relevant research topics
(Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009).

On the methodological level

it is important to understand and
explain the world
;

and with this
knowledge be able to change the mechanisms which may aff
ect the relevant areas of research
(Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009).
This is done by

unify
ing

and

using the best aspects from each
existing
paradigm to reach the best
research
results (Fox, 2009). This also means that using both
qualitative and quantitative re
search methods
is a possibility within critical realism

(McEvoy &
Richards, 2006).

This is the reason for critical
realism having

included these aspects from the
interpretivist/contructionist worldview
.

There is a need to see every aspect within its

contex
t to fully
understand the mechanisms affecting it
,

just as interpretivism

does
, but critical realists however
find
the focus on social constructions
to be
insufficient. The reason for this is the fact that many, if not
most, of the things happening in the
real world does not only include the mechanisms which operate
within the mind of people and the actions made by the same people. It also includes the actions
made separately from the
ir

specific context (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2009).

Critical realism also pe
rfectly relates to my thesis and to the case study because it focuses on
gaining a deeper level of understanding
of

SustainAgri and its relationships. Finally, due to the use
of critical realism it
should

also become clear how mechanisms, both the observab
le and the
unobservable, affect the relationship between SustainAgri and the partner companies.



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1.6 Case study approach

Primarily, case studies are used within research
with

the objective to investigate and explore
situations, such as the relationship be
tw
een specific types of companies

and the
ir

context (Ghauri &
Grønhaug, 2010).
Therefore,

most case studies are exploratory or inductive
; meaning

that they aim
to

discover new theory, new models or create

hypotheses for future test
s

(Ghauri &

Grønhaug,
2010; Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

This makes the case study of SustainAgri relevant since it focuses on a small foundation and how
it

deal
s

with relationship and knowledge management (Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

The advantages of case studies are m
any
,

and one of the
main ones

is that a higher level of
information can be included during the research process
. S
imultaneously
, it is

looking into a real
-
life

context and
tries

to apply theoretical knowledge to the degree it is possible.

Another aspect wh
ich is also used, is the
possibility of

includ
ing

more participants in the research
,

thereby
,

getting multiple points’ of views
(Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

An aspect which can be both a benefit and a disadvantage
is that case studies are

situated within a
specific context at a specific
point in
time. This can be a benefit if
it creates knowledge which can
be used by other companies in a similar context (Daymon & Holloway, 2010)
.

However, it
can also be a disadvantage if for example theor
y cannot be produced through case
studies
. If this is the case, the study can be seen to be a wasted
chance of contributing to the
scholarly discussions within the specific field (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

Another disadvantage of case studies
is their need

t
o be descriptive. If research connected to case
studies become too descriptive, the
aspect of generalising the findings becomes

more difficult
,

s
imply because
new research has to find similar cases in order to test new theory and concepts
(Daymon & Hollo
way, 2010).

Another

disadvantage
is

the difficulty of researchers to create theory which can be generalisable and
thereby be used by other companies

or researchers

(Daymon & Holloway, 2010). Again this
disadvantage is not relevant in connection with
my

the
sis since the aim of critical realism is to gain
a deeper understanding of the mechanisms within specific settings. By doing so, critical realists
acknowledge that the mechanisms
discovered through the use of case studies
might be too specific
for creating

a

general theory or model (McEvoy & Richards, 2006).

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C
ase studies can be

difficult to carry out if participants do not wish to be part of the research. One
reason
can be that

the information may be used by competitors. Internally,
employees
might then

rec
eive

knowledge
which
they were not meant to
have

(Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

In order to investigate the relevance of relationship marketing, relationship management and
knowledge management

within a B2B

market, the non
-
profit foundation SustainAgri has been
chosen as a case study. This also makes it possible to look into existing theory and see if the
combination of more management areas affects their relationships (Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

The case st
udy of SustainAgri has been used in order
gain more information and knowledge
regarding the foundation and to explore whether new knowledge can be derived from this. The case
study will help me answer the second and third research question since it will pr
ovide me with a
greater understanding of the mechanisms influencing a foundation.

It will also

make the discussion
(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010)
more accurate since the data has been collected in the natural
settings
of the studied company.

The

case study
is
c
hosen in order to get a deeper look into the different mechanisms affecting the
management of relationships and knowledge and how these aspects influence the overall
relationship (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

In addition, the case study will be u
sed to inves
tigate whether

relationship management and
knowledge management
can be combined

when it comes to improving relationships between
companies.
I
t will
make it

possible to determine if new theory can be created (Daymon &
Holloway, 2010).

T
he limitations of t
ime
for

writing this thesis has restricted the data collection period to
approximately one and a half month in which it has been possible to collect all the data necessary
for the completion of the discussion/analysis section (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

Eve
n though i
t can be difficult to gain access to the company used for the case study as well as
getting access to the internal documents required for the research
this has not been the case
(Daymon & Holloway, 2010).
Since

I have been an intern
at

SustainAgr
i and therefore gotten to
know the employees
.

Moreover,

I
believe

it has
helped break down the barriers which could
otherwise have created problems
when

collecting the relevant data for the thesis.

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The nature of the data collection itself and the interview

and questionnaire participants will be
presented in the following sections.

1.7
Case study:
SustainAgri

SustainAgri is a non
-
profit umbrella foundation

functioning on the B2B

market.

It is non
-
profit
because it is

part of an EU project where specific goals are to be reached. These
goals last f
or a four year period. Afterwards,
new EU goals lasting for another four years

can be set
and a new grant will be received
.

The money from the grant is divided into eight par
ts and paid out every six mon
ths in accordance
with
the

costs
. This means that the money from the grant is not divided into equal parts when being
paid out. In addition to this, approximately half of the

funding

is based on the hours accumulated by

the con
tact persons from each partner company. When working together with SustainAgri on
projects, the contact persons send in their payslips and SustainAgri
is
then compensated for the
se

hours
.

This means that it is very important for SustainAgri to maintain a g
ood relationship with all partner
companies
since the contact persons have the possibility of refusing to send in the payslips. If this is
the case,

the foundation will otherwise lack the money from the partner compa
nies

and i
t may then
result in the
foundation having to close down.

T
he goals set by
SustainAgri
must

be
reached during the four year period. These EU goals
thus

determine the framework of the relationship
between

SustainAgri
and its partner companies.

SustainAgri was
formed
in 2002 and
the

employees at that time created the overall purpose of the
foundation
.
This purpose is what SustainAgri, in addition with its EU goals
,
tries

to live up to

(a
ppendix
1
):



Developing environmentally friendly solutions within farming



To market the Danish
products on international markets



To support Danish farming companies

in
international

markets by making international
visits and create projects benefiting these companies



To ensure Danish companies an easier entry into foreign markets


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In this connection
, SustainAgri has listed some of the advantages Danish companies will receive
when becoming part of the cluster of partner companies. Some of these advantages are
(a
ppendix
1
):



Danish companies
become
part of an umbrella organisation



The possibility for the partner companies for increased
visibility
in foreign

markets



Greater access to market information



An increased innovation within the partner companies



The possibility to get projects financed by SustainAgri


SustainAgri started it
s second EU project

in 2011 and it became

necessary for the foundation to
create

new goals lasting for another

period.
Listed below

are the goals which are relevant to the
c
urrent EU period, from 2011
-
2013

(the entire list of the cu
rrent EU goals can be fo
und in a
ppendix
2
):



Joint and dynamic market process (becoming better at unifying information and knowledge
from the partner companies in brochures and general information for the end
-
users of the
products)



Anchoring of new organis
ation models (SustainAgri and the partner companies have to be
better at collaborating with each other and in
by this

gain the most possible from the
relationship)



Knowledge sharing and practical learning (creating a better knowledge sharing and
knowledge
gathering system that allows SustainAgri, as well as the partner companies, to
have the relevant information from all companies when developing new projects)



Maturation of the cluster (the partner companies and SustainAgri have to become more
equal within
the relationship in order to develop the relationship)


In order for SustainAgri to live up to the overall purpose
,

as well as the current EU goals, it has to
be good at managing its relationships
as well as the partner companies’ expectations.


Sustain
Agri works together with two other foundations who are also receiving EU grants. These
foundations are: Danish Energy Solutions and Danish Water Services. These foundations have the
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same purposes as the one
s

SustainAgri made in 2002,
for

each of their
respective sectors: energy
and water

(a
ppendix
3

shows the organisational structure of SustainAgri)
.

1.8
Qualitative research

During this thesis, I have chosen to make use of semi
-
structured interviews and have therefore
included this section explaining th
e advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research as well as
which research tools are included within this concept.

In the words of Van Maanen (1979):
It [
qualitative research methods
] is [...] an umbrella term
covering an array of interpretive techni
ques which seek to describe, decode, translate, and
otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of a certain more or less naturally
occurring phenomena in the social world
.” (Van Maanen,

1979
: 520).

In other words, qualitative research methods include the use of unstructured, semi
-
structured and
structured interviews, the setting up of focus groups to answer relevant questions, analysing the
participants’ use of semantics and
providing

knowledge which

would otherwise have not been
obvious to the researcher (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

With the use of qualitative methods, it becomes easier to gather the correct information and gain
knowledge

on a deeper level
. There will be a greater focus on understandi
ng the interview
participants and the different mechanisms influencing the participants’ views and decisions within
the context of
a

professional li
fe

(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).
I
t provides a greater knowledge when
analysing and understanding the data
from

which the thesis will be based.

By interviewing three of the key employees
at

SustainAgri, it will also become easier to compare
the
ir

answers with each other to find out whether they all have the same view on the same topics
(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010). O
n the basis of this, qualitative research is primarily focused on the
meanings, concepts, understanding and descriptions of specific people or situations (Ghauri &
Grønhaug, 2010).

The main disadvantage

of using qualitative research methods
is

the quality of the research is
dependent on the skills and knowledge of the researcher. This applies both to the theoretical
knowledge acquired before carrying out the research but also the knowledge of the interview
participants and the organisation in w
hich they function. Moreover, the quality of qualitative
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research is often influenced by the level of
experience of the researcher in other words

whether the
re
searcher is an expert or novice

of data collection (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

Furthermore, si
nce the conclusions and generalisations will be based on the information received
from qualitative research, which tends to be a smaller sample than quantitative research methods, it
can become difficult to reach a final conclusion
due to the data being

ba
sed on the participants’
views, beliefs and experience within certain
areas
. This can also influence the researcher
as

it can
become difficult to make actual correlations between the cause and effect mechanisms from a broad
perspective (Libarkin & Kurdziel
, 2002).

Finally, the education and values of the researcher may influence the questions within an interview
and this could cause the interview participants’ to answer in ways which
they
would otherwise
not
have (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

1.9
Quantitativ
e research

In order to get the opinions of most of the contact persons within the partner companies, I have
chosen to send out questionnaires as well as
gather

internal documents and make a literature review.
Due to this, I have included this section explaining more about quantitative research methods and
its

pros and cons.

According to Daymon and Holloway (2010):”
[...] quantitative [
research
] techniques seek to

distance the researcher from the data, both in the methods of collecting the data (say, by sending
out a survey rather than listening to the voices of informants) and also in analysis where numbers
and statistics are favoured over words and the organizati
on of language
.” (Daymon & Holloway,
2010: 8).

Compared to qualitative

researchers, quantitative researchers collect statistical or mathematical data
which is then used to analyse situations, practises and opinions of a large number of participants
(Libark
in & Kurdziel, 2002).

A strength of the quantitative research method is its ability to focus on the main research facts
which means that the participant only
has

to answer the most relevant questions of the researcher.
Also there is not the same concern, a
s with qualitative research, that the interview may influence the
answers of
participant
s
(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010). This ensures that the d
ata becomes more
objective than

with qualitative research methods. Usually, the information gained from quantitative

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research is more result
-
oriented than with qualitative research methods because there will not be the
same amount of data from one participant as with e.g. interviews (Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

The main reason for using quantitative research methods is th
e ability to test or validate information
or hypotheses because the collected data is easier to use in statistical analyses which
can quickly
point

the researcher in one specific direction (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002). Additionally, the
researcher does not
need
the same level of experience as

when using qualitative research methods
(Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

Some of the disadvantages of using quantitative
research
are

that

the data collection within
quantitative research normally takes a long time,
since e
.g. questionnaires are not all sent out at
once. This is
due to larg
e number of participants needed. However,

the context may have changed
from the when the data was first
sent out

(Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002). Furthermore, the data has to
be analysed by us
ing already existing models which might not fully correspond to the needs of the
researcher (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

Lastly, due to the choices of participants being limited within this research type, there is a
risk

of
participants being forced
to
answer in a way

that might not fully correspond to their responses and
views in general (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

1.10
Mixed methods

This thesis
is created

using a mixed methods approach since both qualitative and quantitative
research methods are prese
nt. As a result of this, I have included this section explaining mixed
methods.

Hon and Grunig (1999) argue that it is important to gather information from all involved companies
within an organisation
-
public relationship, the organisation being SustainAgr
i and the publics being
its

partner companies.
Therefore,
I have interviewed key employees within SustainAgri and sent out
questionnaires
to

the contact persons from the partner companies.

The reason for doing so has been
numerous

and the most pressing on
es have been the limitations of time, since it would take up
an
inordinate amount of

time to set up interviews, conduct interviews and t
ranscribe interviews with
the 14

contact persons. In addition to this, it would also
be time intensive

to analyse all in
terviews
in
-
depth.

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Another factor has been
a

geographical one
,

s
ince

most of the partner companies are scattered on
Funen and in Jutland
this

would result in much of my time being spent on travelling back and forth
between them to conduct the interviews.

Since the qualitative and quantitative data collection methods do not mutually exclude each other
(Niglas, 2009) and since the research objective should decide the research design,
mixed methods

has been chosen for the approach of this thesis.

Although thi
s

thesis has been created by using mixed methods, meaning the use of both qualit
ative
and quantitative methods,
the

results
will be qualitative

(Niglas, 2009).

Since the data collection is carried out in the manner described above, it becomes easier to fin
d any
conflicting views between SustainAgri and the partner companies


views which could otherwise
not have been presented in the data (Niglas, 2009).

The reason for using qualitative research methods (semi
-
structured interviews) is because of the
open
-
en
ded questions used
making

it possible for the interview participant to give many different
answers which cannot be planned by the researcher beforehand.
However, even though this is
possible, the researcher has decided the main questions and research areas

in advance. The

great
advantage
of for example interviews is the possibility

for different themes and connections, which
had otherwise not been noticed, to become clear for the researcher (McEvoy & Richards, 2002).
This has only been done in connection wi
th SustainAgri’s employees since they are the ones
managing

the overall
relationship
with

the partner companies.

By using quantitative methods
and qualitative research methods
in my thesis, there is a greater
cha
nce of finding new,

unexpected correlations between mechanisms both within
the relevant areas
of relationship marketing and relationship and knowledge management.
This becomes possible
because the contact persons

have been sent a questionnaire in which there are very limited

possibilities of answering which will make the correlation between the mechanisms clearer than if
only qualitative research methods had been used (McEvoy & Richards, 2006).
The reason
for

this is
that

qualitative research methods are based on the views, t
houghts and e
xperiences of the
participants whereas

quantitative rese
arch methods are more objective
.

W
hen the methods are used
within the same research the disadvantages of either
method
are
lessened by their strengths
(Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

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This w
ill also contribute to the field of knowledge in connection with how these mechanisms
operate when used by a non
-
profit foundation within a B2B market (McEvoy & Richards, 2006).
Also, as it has previously been pointed out
,
there is a greater chance
that

the information received
becomes more objective because the
participant will then have more time to decide on an answer
without any influence from the researcher
. Inadvertently, this might be a factor within interviews
but by also using questionnaires the

possibility of, unconsciously, influencing all participants in the
research has thereby been eliminated (Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).

Additionally, my inexperience of conducting interviews will not affect all participants since only
the employees of Susta
inAgri
,

and not the contact persons
,

participated in
semi
-
structured
interviews

(Libarkin & Kurdziel, 2002).


1.11 Data collection

For the qualitative research methods, semi
-
structured interviews were conducted. I chose to
interview three key employees of
SustainAgri who have a vast amount of knowledge concerning
SustainAgri’s relationships
.
T
he following three key employees are the interview participants:

Carsten Møller, Vice Director of SustainAgri (interviewed on May 10
th

, lasting 49 minutes
)

(a
ppendix
4)
:

Mr.
Møller
has a great amount of knowledge
about
creating relationships among companies
.
He is
primarily used

as a consultant
assisting with the

decision
-
making
process
within SustainAgri
, and is
Managing Director of
Danish Water Services and Danish En
ergy Solutions (the two other
foundations sharing an office, and some of the employees, with SustainAgri).

Christian Sønderup, Head of The Development Group (interviewed on May 10
th
, lasting 45
minutes
)

(a
ppendix 5)
:

The Development Group
was
created
so th
e

three foundations
can

learn from each other and
exchange knowledge within the more administrative aspects, e.g. when dealing with EU related
applications.
Mr.
Sønderup
has worked in both SustainAgri and Danish
Water Services

since 2008
and has a lot of knowledge with communicating with stakeholders
.

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Lasse Bork Schmidt, Managing Director of SustainAgri (interviewed on May 30
th,
lasting 24
minutes) (a
ppendix 6):

Mr. Schmidt

is concerned with the overall communication with the partner companies of
SustainAgri as well as finding relevant projects for them. He was employed as Managing Director
in 2006 and has a great
deal
of knowledge concerning the different partner companies a
nd their
contact persons.

Having conducted the semi
-
structured interviews and created the literature review, the
questionnaires were created and sent out to the partner companies.


I wanted to send questionnaires out to all 14
partner companies of
SustainAgri, however, since one
company did not wish to participate, only 13 were sent ou
t.

In
a
ppendix
7

is
a complete list of SustainAgri’s partner companies
, information of the companies

and contact persons,
their job title
.

1.12
Processes and methods

Before describing and explaining the data collection process used during this thesi
s, I have chosen
to include two

short

sections explaining the difference between primary and se
condary data
collection methods
. This is done to clarify the differences betwe
en the two data collection processes
since they are
both

used during this thesis.

1.12.1
Primary data

Primary data is when the researcher collects all the data needed in order to gain insights into a
specific topic where data is
sparse

or where conte
xt spe
cific knowledge is needed
. During this
thesis
, I have conducted semi
-
structured interviews as well as sent out questionnaires which are
both ways of collecting primary data. The interviews were conducted with the
key employees of
SustainAgri
. The informati
on received from this, was used to create questionnaires which
were

sent
out to the partner companies of SustainAgri. The questionnaires were used in order to gain
information from the partner companies who would be able to provide an outside view of the
r
elationship and state
their

opinions regarding

the relationship
.

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Additionally, I have used primary sources, which
mainly

consists of articles and books discussing
relationship marketing, relationship management and knowledge management, to make a
literature
review. The literature review will then be used as the theoretical basis for the

subsequent discussion
of the current relationship between SustainAgri and the partner companies as well as for the
suggested improve
ments
.

Disadvantages connected t
o primary data collection are the time
-
consuming nature of data
collection and the dependency on other people to participate for the research to be completed
(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

1.12.2
Secondary data

The secondary data collection methods used for th
is thesis are articles and books produced by
scholars within the fields of marketing, communication and management as well as relevant
websites such as the website for the Institute of Public Relations. Mainly, secondary data has been
used to describe Sust
ainAgri and the context in which it operates. This means that
among other
things
a partnership contract and the
current EU goals of SustainAgri have been added. This should
help paint

a picture of the foundation, its requirements for the partner companies
and the EU goals it
is meant to
fulfil

(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

Moreover, since I have worked for SustainAgri during my period as an intern, the knowledge
acquired will be used in order to explain about the foundation during the section about SustainAgri

as well as the discussion section
.

1.13
Time period

The data has been gathered through two different data collection processes. This process contained
an interview stage followed by the sending out of questionnaires to the contact persons. The semi
-
struct
ured interviews were conducted between the 10
th

and the 30
th

of May 2012 and the
questionnaires were sent out the 29th of May 2012 with a deadline of return the 5th of June 2012.

1.14 Interviews as data collection

As with all methods within data
collection, there are benefits and disadvantages connected to
conducting semi
-
structured interviews. The advantages of using interviews for data collection are
“Relationship management in a non
-
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August 1
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Exam no.: 401153

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that they are flexible and it is possible to ask follow
-
up questions and in this way gain more
i
nformation
.

Additionally, the researcher can

ask the participant to provide examples which is not
possible with other data collection methods (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).
T
his creates a clearer
picture of the person being interviewed whic
h can help the inter
viewer gain a deeper level of
understanding of the relationships

(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).
T
here is a high response rate
(Daymon & Holloway, 2010)
for interviews which is not possible to reach by using other data
collection methods. When using interviews
, it becomes possible to create a relationship with the
participants making the participant answer questions more in
-
depth (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

Finally, a benefit of conducting interviews
is that it

allows the interviewer to decide which topics
are
m
ost important and

develop the main questions before conducting the interview (Daymon &
Holloway, 2010).

However, there are also disadvantages connected to semi
-
structured interviews which are important
to know about beforehand.
This makes it
eas
ier for the

researcher to avoid

elementary mistakes
when conducting interviews


this is especially important for novice researchers (Daymon &
Holloway, 2010).

When conducting interviews,

one disadvantage

a novice researcher should be aware
is its

time
-
consuming natu
re. Th
is is due to
the many stages of an
interview
: the development of questions and
subject areas, pre
-
testing and possible revising, the interview itself and finally a transcript
ion

(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

Also because of the time
-
consuming nature of

interviews, it is not possible to conduct many of them


thereby making the variety of people involved in the research smalle
r than

many other data
collection methods (Daymon & Holloway, 2010).

One of the most important disadvantages is that the interview
er might lead the participant to answer
questions in a specific way because
the participant

thinks the interviewer wants certain answers
(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

1.15
Semi
-
structured interviews

The first stage in the data collection process included thr
ee semi
-
structured interviews, lasting
between approximately 24 to 49 minutes, with three key employees from SustainAgri. They all
“Relationship management in a non
-
profit fo
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August 1
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Esben Nørris Christensen


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have knowledge regarding the daily routi
nes of the foundation combined

with
insights into the
ir

relationships
with

the partner companies.

The areas of relationship marketing, relationship management and knowledge management

together
with the relationship dimensions created by Hon and Grunig (1999): Trust, commitment,
satisfaction and control mutuality, have laid the
foundation for
the interview questions

(The
def
initions can be found on page 30
)
. In addition, another article written by Grunig (2002), further
explaining the four dimensions mentioned above, has also been used for inspiration for the
questions concerning

the dimension of
trust.

Beforehand, the employees participating in the interviews
were

asked to read through and sign an
agreement form, explaining the objectives of the thesis as well as the procedure of the interview

(a
ppendix 8
)
.

A
ll three interviews
have been conducted in Danish as all participants are native Danish speakers
and the interviews, due to this, should flow more freely and without the same amount of
grammatical mistakes, hesitations and constriction
s

which might have occurred had the inter
views
been conducted in English

(q
uestion
s

for interviews in both Engl
ish and Danish can be found in
a
ppendix 9)
.

More information about the relevance of the questions for the semi
-
structured
interviews

can be
found in the interview guide
,

which is
a
ppendix
10
.

1.16
Questionnaires as data collection

Since questionnaires have been included as a data collection method for this thesis, the following
section explains the pros and cons of this particular method.

A main benefit of questionnaires is that the
y can be answered quickly
since no
transcription of
audio

files are needed and as a result are less time
-
consuming than qualitative data collection
methods
. This, of course, is depending on the
desired

number of participants

(Ghauri &

Grønhaug,
2010). This way it becomes easier for more people to be included in the research population,
meaning the
total number of
participant
s

of
the

interviews and questionnaires. Additionally, they
are also an easy way to gain needed information from p
eople with specific knowledge (Ghauri &
Grønhaug, 2010).

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-
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The researcher constructs the research design beforehand and thereby decides whi
ch questions are
most important

(Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010). In this case
,

the research design was based on the
informati
on and answers given during the semi
-
structured interviews

with the employees
. However,
the questionnaires are primarily quantitative because it provides an easy way of measuring all the
results provided (Ghauri & Grønhaug, 2010).

The disadvantages of usin
g qu
estionnaires are
important to know before embarking on the creation
of them because it, as a result, becomes easier to avoid making the most obvious mistakes.