Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book provides a thorough review of tested qualitative methods often used in organization studies, and outlines the challenges and essential requirements of designing a qualitative research project. The methods examined include case studies, observation, interviewing and the repertory grid technique. By highlighting certain key ‘rules’ for carrying out qualitative research and describing issues that should be avoided, this second volume of Qualitative Methodologies in Organization Studies is essential reading for academics and researchers who wish to understand the current state of qualitative data gathering within organization studies. Those exploring organization studies will find this two-volume collection extremely valuable as it contains robust contributions from highly-skilled authors who are actively researching in this field.



1. Case Study

The main aim of the chapter is to discuss the case study method. We shall begin by confronting its definition. It is quite a challenge, as researchers representing various paradigms embark on this type of research project. These paradigms define the way we perceive the explored reality, our chances of understanding/cognizing it, and the acceptable research methods. As a consequence, not only is the case study subject to various definitions, but it is also employed to achieve manifold goals). Despite these differences, we can point out a number of characteristics that distinguish case study method; they shall be the focus of our discussion. As much as possible, we shall take into account the variety of perspectives in case study-based research, or recommend to readers the sources where they can find more detailed information on a particular issue. In this chapter, the presentation of premises and types of case studies will be followed by a manual, guiding readers in their endeavor to design their own research using the method discussed.
Marta Strumińska-Kutra, Izabela Koładkiewicz

2. Observation Methods

Observation may be seen as the very foundation of everyday social interaction: as people participate in social life, they are diligent observers and commentators of others’ behavior. Observation is also one of the most important research methods in social sciences and at the same time one of the most complex. It may be the main method in the project or one of several complementary qualitative methods. As a scientific method it is has to be carried out systematically, with a focus on specific research questions. Therefore, we start with practical guide on clarifying research objectives, accessing the research field, selecting subjects, observer’s roles, and tips on documenting the data collected. The observation comprises several techniques and approaches that can be combined in a variety of ways. Observation can be either participant or not, direct or indirect. Further in this chapter, the main characteristics of three types of observations are outlined (the fourth type—direct non-participant—is discussed in the chapter on shadowing). While participant observation follows the ideal of a long-time immersion in a specific culture as a marginal member, researcher conducting non-participant observation takes position of an outsider and tries to distance him/herself from the taken-for-granted categorizations and evaluations. In the case of indirect observation, the researcher relies on observations of others (e.g. other researchers), various types of documentation, or self-observation. The chapter discusses the differences between those types of observation, shows inspirational examples from previous studies, and summarizes the method.
Malgorzata Ciesielska, Katarzyna W. Boström, Magnus Öhlander

3. Fieldwork Techniques for Our Times: Shadowing

This chapter contains a description and a discussion of a fieldwork technique suitable for what can be called a mobile ethnology – using fieldwork techniques that allow one to capture the ways of living and working of people who are quickly moving from one place to another and use the modern means of communication.
Barbara Czarniawska

4. Interviewing in Qualitative Research

The interview is one of the basic methods of data collection employed in the social sciences. It is worth noting that this method is not restricted solely to the qualitative research. Interviews have been actively taken advantage of by representatives of various scientific traditions. Both the supporters of the positivist paradigm and the interpretivist one use the technique of the interview to collect data even though the expectations and assumptions of researchers as well as the process of preparing the interview and the conclusion sphere differ fundamentally. The chapter presents different types of interviews employed by the researchers to collect the data in a qualitative research and discusses the process of preparation and conducting the interviews.
Svetlana Gudkova

5. Focus Group Interviews

In this chapter we discuss one of the methods frequently used in qualitative marketing research, that is, the focus group. We explain what this method involves, in particular its qualitative attributes and the specific approach. Later in the chapter we take a look at a typical research process, paying particular attention to issues related to execution and the selection of respondents. Following this we define the scope of this method’s application, both in regard to research questions it can help us answer and the specific circumstances one might encounter during a study. To round off, we take a look at the most popular varieties of the focus method, their usage depending on the research questions and the circumstances in which the study is to be conducted.
Katarzyna Gawlik

6. The Repertory Grid Technique

This chapter introduces the readers to the Repertory Grid Technique and the theory behind it, Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly, The Psychology of Personal Constructs (1st. ed.). New York: Norton, 1955). A brief overview of the theory and its ontological and epistemological stance is presented together with a summary of the Fundamental Postulate and 11 Corollaries which form the foundations of this theory. At the time of its conception, the Psychology of Personal Constructs presented a wholly new approach to viewing people and psychology. As a basis of his theory, Kelly eliminated the distinction between the sensemaking of the scientist and the individual being studied. According to this epistemological stance, in order to engage in these experiments people develop and use patterns and templates of meaning referred to as personal constructs. The variety and scope of one’s personal constructs describes the repertory of the construct system. The method that captures and describes this system is the Repertory Grid Technique introduced by Kelly alongside his Theory of Personal Constructs. In this chapter, we take the reader through the key elements of this technique such as the selection of Grid elements, together with the basic procedure of Grid elicitation. We introduce a basic procedure for construct elicitation followed by the laddering, pyramiding, and resistance to change techniques used to give greater precision to one’s understanding of the other person’s sensemaking. Next, an overview of possible applications of the technique is presented as well as some examples of its use in organizational research. The chapter concludes with exercises and activities for the readers to check their knowledge and understanding of the material presented.
Dorota Bourne, Devi A. Jankowicz

7. Relational Methods in Organization Studies: A Critical Overview

Organizational studies research often falls into the trap of dealing with individuals, organizations, and the macro context in which they are placed independently. Relational perspectives seek to counteract this tendency in organization studies by proposing an approach to research which captures the complexity of organizational phenomena by exploring them as irreducibly interconnected sets of relationships. In this chapter, we do not only examine the essentials of ontology and epistemology of relational methods but also provide examples from field studies which are underpinned by relational thinking.
Mustafa Özbilgin, Joana Vassilopoulou

8. Template Analysis in Business and Management Research

Thematic methods of data analysis are widely used in qualitative organizational research. In this chapter, we will introduce you to Template Analysis (King and Brooks, Template Analysis for Business and Management Students. London: Sage, 2017), a particular style of thematic analysis that has been widely used in organizational and management research as well as in many other disciplines. We will begin by explaining how thematic approaches to data analysis are commonly used in qualitative organizational research, before moving on to present Template Analysis as an approach with particular utility in this field. We will then present a case study example to illustrate how Template Analysis is used by qualitative organizational researchers. In our conclusion, we will consider the overall strengths and weaknesses of the method and reflect on further developments which may extend the use of Template Analysis as a flexible form of thematic analysis with wide utility in qualitative organizational research.
Nigel King, Joanna Brooks, Saloomeh Tabari

9. Discourse Analysis

Discourse is ‘language use relative to social, political and cultural formations; it is language reflecting social order but also language shaping social order, and shaping individuals’ interaction with society’ (Jaworski and Coupland, The Discourse Reader, 1999; Thomas, Journal of Management Studies, 40, 4, 2003). This definition focuses on language as the object of analysis, thus encouraging a linguistic analytical perspective. However, if we take the assumption that all facets of human experience and activity are socially constructed, it is to say that there can be no totally objective science, history and literary scholarship, as they are all influenced by the society in which they are created. Those who argue for the existence of a ‘discourse theory’ argue that historical accounts are socially constructed and that they are a product of the era and society within which the researcher is living (Marwick 1989). Assumptions behind the methodology of Discourse analysis (DA) recognize the role of ‘text’ or ‘discourse’ in our everyday lives and its contribution to the construction of our social and organizational realities. But before DA is summarized as a methodology, it is important to make clear what will be meant in this chapter by the terms text and discourse.
Aylin Kunter

10. Designing a Qualitative Research Project

Despite the diversity of legitimate approaches to the theory and methods available to qualitative researchers, we can identify questions which one must always, or virtually always, answer when formulating the problem and designing research. Steinar Kvale (Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: SAGE, 1996) notes that at this stage the project may at times require a kind of an explorative interview with a researcher, which will help us better understand why, how, and what we want to do. Following this line of reasoning, we will suggest certain outlines for an interview we can carry out with ourselves at this stage of research design. We will try to identify the most important questions to ask ourselves while designing the study, as well as a few suggestions as to where the search for answers to these questions can begin. This is perhaps the most accurate type of a universal guide to qualitative research design that can be offered. In this chapter we present the subsequent stages of the research design journey, starting from a vaguely defined area of interest, and ending with a detailed research project proposal. Let us first discuss the questions we face when formulating the research problem—those helping us to reflexively approach the research. We will then describe issues that need to be resolved when matching to the problem research methods which help us to be consistent. In the last part of the chapter we will discuss the decisions which need to be taken when planning the details of research project implementation.
Agata Stasik, Adam Gendźwiłł

11. What Should Be Avoided During Qualitative Research?

This chapter is focused on typical mistakes made in qualitative research projects. Its aim is to show traps and mistakes researchers face in their work, in order to help them understand and avoid possible pitfalls, and design and execute projects more carefully. The first part of the text includes explanation of the nature of typical research mistakes. We describe it against the background of different ontological assumptions, paradigms, and perspectives applied by researchers. The sources and areas of methodological criticism are also analyzed. We point out how some of the criticism is connected with different sets of assumptions adopted by researchers. The following part of the chapter concentrates on descriptions of typical mistakes made on different stages of qualitative research projects: project design, data collection, data analysis, and text writing. Some tips on how to avoid mistakes are offered. The text includes practical examples from different research projects showing how and why mistakes are made.
Beata Glinka, Przemysław Hensel


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner