A fish broker’s story: An action research to optimize the daily transaction records of Bern Fish Trading

Date of Publication


Document Type

Insider Action Research

Degree Name

Master of Business Administration

Subject Categories

Other Business


Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business


Management and Organization Department

Thesis Advisor

Hilario S. Caraan

Defense Panel Chair

Rachel Quero

Defense Panel Member

Shieradel Jimenez
Jerold Vizconde


Bern Fish Trading (BFT) is a family business of fish brokerage that engages in bridging the suppliers and buyers of fish and seafood. BFT’s usual daily supply includes bangus, tilapia, alimasag, dalagang bukid, talakitok, maya-maya, tulingan, etc. The business partners with fish suppliers which includes small independent fishermen, fish vessel owners, and fish farm owners. They facilitate the selling of these products to their customers such as the fish vendors, canteens, and fish processing businesses. Various issues affected the Philippines fisheries in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Taal Volcano eruptions, and sovereignty dispute. Due to these, small businesses like BFT are financially affected. Many closed their businesses during the pandemic; others were able to bounce back while others were not able to survive. BFT, which has more than three decades of experience, was one of those fortunate businesses that stands strong. In this action research, we delved into their long-standing pen and paper transaction recording process. This slows down and allows inaccuracies in keeping records and tracking transactions which can possibly lead to significant financial losses. Using active inquiry and active listening, we were able to pinpoint the root causes of the issue. Insisting on the use of technology in the business is a big challenge as the owners are very resistant to changing their ways. The first cycle proved that the founders are not open to complex digital applications. Even though technology has proved effective and efficient for most small businesses nowadays, cultural and personal aspects must be taken into account first. The second cycle served as the stepping stone for the adaptation of technology. Through the subtle and slow introduction of MS Excel, the founders appreciated the benefit of using computer applications. Guided by Lewin’s change theory, we were able to humanize the change process in our family business. An action research won’t bring a positive result if it is not situation-based and contextualized to the experiences of the persons involved. Through an iterative and slow process, we improved the recording process through a simple but effective tool, MS Excel. Analysis of financial data was also done to aid the business in its decision-making.

Abstract Format







Fish trade—Technological innovations; Transaction systems (Computer systems)

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