RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY The objective of the research was to examine the process of organisational transformation in the Russian oil companies and to identify how and why it diﬀered between the companies. The theoretical perspective adopted was the resource-based view since this helps to explain why intra-industry company performance diﬀers by highlighting how the deployment of unique and idiosyncratic organisational resources and capabilities generates competitive advantage (Wernerfelt, 1984; Barney, 1991; Peteraf and Barney, 2003). Since the process of organisational transformation is complex and poorly understood, an interpretive approach was taken, viewing the organisation as a social site, where the people researched and the researcher are active sense-makers (Deetz, 1996). The research method was qualitative: ‘an umbrella term covering an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of . . . phenomena in the social world’ (Van Maanen, 1979: 520). The interpretive approach helps to gain an understanding of the complex world of lived experience from the point of view of those who live it (Schwandt, 1998). The approach is holistic – context and behaviour are interdependent. It is appropriate where the phenomena to be investigated are not well understood (Ritchie, 2003), such as in the confusing and complex context of the oil industry undergoing change in Russia. The purpose of the research was to develop concepts, models and schemes to make sense of (Schwandt, 1998) what is going on in the transformation of the Russian oil companies by interaction...
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