Home > Demand side research > Case study recruitment – What does the response so far tell us?

Case study recruitment – What does the response so far tell us?

We’re right in the middle of finding companies interested in being part of our research. We’ve got some very strong candidates that we think will make for some interesting case studies: more of that anon. Right now, I want to share a couple of thoughts that have occurred to me in relation to the conversations we’ve had so far.

People want to talk

The people running these projects want to talk to someone about them: they’ve been working hard trying to make the companies they work for more effective and efficient through, for example, better knowledge sharing, increased situational awareness or a more human workplace. They know they’re doing good work and they want this to be recognised, both internally and externally.

Do big companies make more use of enterprise 2.0 than small ones?

We’re trying to recruit 4 SMEs and 4 large companies but most of the companies we’ve spoken to so far are above the SME bracket in terms of size and revenue. There are a few reasons I can think of for why this might be:

  1. Sampling bias: We’ve publicised our research on this blog and on the Headshift blog and we’ve been talking to our friends and contacts about who they know who could be interested. Perhaps big companies are over-represented, in relation the whole set of enterprise 2.0 users, among the people who we’re connected to via these channels.
  2. Big companies want to talk more: Maybe big companies aren’t over-represented, but they are more interested in or have more time to get involved in this sort of research than SMEs do.
  3. Big companies use enterprise 2.0 more: enterprise 2.0 tools, platforms and services enable human connections over a larger scale. If you work in a small company, it’s easy to talk to the people you work with. You can bump into them in the corridor or the kitchen and chat to them in the pub after work. Perhaps as a company grows in size, these sorts of face-to-face connections don’t scale and the value to the business of using enterprise 2.0 increases.

I have no idea which of these, if any, is the correct explanation and I’m not sure whether we’ll answer this question during the course of the project. Interesting to ponder though.

As I said earlier, these are just feelings based on a small number of conversations and may be wide of the mark. If you have any views, please share them in the comments.

  1. March 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm


    What are your “requirements” for an SME – numbers? I might have some companies you can talk to.


  2. Gabriella Cattaneo
    March 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Hi, the sampling bias probably plays a role, but you do not tell us about the business areas of the companies – I think the sector is even more relevant than size, because very few small enterprises will be interested in cutting edge IT unless it gives them a very specific advantage, and this depends on the business model. SMEs care less about cutting costs because they are usually already pretty close to the minimum so they don’t have to cut down on unnecessary communication processes within the company (this is the other face of your suggestion about people finding it easier to talk to each other in the hall). Instead if they are spread out trying to interact over the value chain with vendors and suppliers they may find it useful (so communicating outside the company, and I am not talking about customer care in the traditional sense but about coinnovation processes). I think if you focus on the high tech industry on smes with know-how based business models there may be some itneresting surprise there. But this is entirely speculation on my side. I want to send you three names identified by Vladi Finotto an italian researcher in a study with Stefano Micelli the Dean of Venice university : Dainese which is a small but global sport
    Valcucine (ecovalcucine.blogspot.com) which is an ecological kitchen maker who has created a virtual community about environmental issues and art, not limited to but including customers – Dainese, a sport apparel maker (highly specialised world niche leader, go ahead check the website it is also in english) who seems to have coinnovation processes with clients. I do not have the names of contact persons – we can ask Vladi Finotto perhaps or just call the website contact. Would these falling withiin your criteria or are they too small?
    cheers Gabriella

    • March 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Gabriella. I was thinking about mentioning sectors but I don’t think we really have enough data yet to do so.

      I think your point about small companies using enterprise 2.0 to communicate not internally but with suppliers and vendors or to enable open innovation is dead on: these are really good use cases for small companies.

      I’ll be in touch on email.

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