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Leeds University Business School Qualitative management research: key debates and current challenges Presentation to NARTI, Keele, 9 th June 2014 Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Leeds University Business School Qualitative management research: key debates and current challenges Presentation to NARTI, Keele, 9 th June 2014 Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leeds University Business School Qualitative management research: key debates and current challenges Presentation to NARTI, Keele, 9 th June 2014 Professor Catherine Cassell

2 Leeds University Business School Aims of the presentation To consider some of the ongoing debates around the use of qualitative management research To assess the future challenges - and the opportunities available – to qualitative management researchers

3 Leeds University Business School Images of qualitative research

4 Leeds University Business School Interesting times ….. Rise of the internet and other technological developments Increasingly globalised context of management research Increased calls for methodological diversity in management research (e.g.: Greenberg, 2007; Thorpe and Ellwood, 2010) Slow progress of methodological innovation: “Changes take place very slowly and usually do not happen in less than two to three decades (Aguinis et. al., 2009:75) Thirty years since the special issue of ASQ edited by John van Maanen.

5 Leeds University Business School Ongoing debates 1.Value and application of qualitative management research 2.Publication of qualitative management research 3.The end of the qualitative / quantitative divide and the move towards mixed methods 4.Criteriology

6 Leeds University Business School 1. Value and application Recognition that QR makes an interesting and valuable contribution (e.g.: Bartunek et. al., 2006) Now used in all the major areas of management research Considerable recent methodological innovation: –Stories and narrative analysis –Discourse and rhetoric –Visual methods Increased interest in reflexive research and practice.

7 Leeds University Business School 2. Publication Podsakoff and Dalton (1987): all articles in 1985 in AMJ, ASQ,JAP, JofM, OBHDF. “Qualitative or interpretive research is rarely seen” Larssen and Lowendahl (1996): all articles between 1984 and 1994 in AMJ, ASQ, OSci, AMR. “only 12 articles published could be considered as qualitative” Smith and Plowman (2011): all articles between 1986 and 2008 in ASQ, AMJ, OSci, and JMS. Found the following qualitative: ASQ 21%, AMJ 8%, OSci 29%, JMS 10% Üsdicken (2014): All articles in 10 journals over 40 years. 1960-70, 5.3%; 1980-90, 9.8%; 2000’s, 19.6%.

8 Leeds University Business School Why? Editors of AMJ regularly ask for qualitative submissions (Lee, 2001; Gephart, 2004; Pratt, 2008) Qualitative researchers view such journals as ‘hostile’ Editors’ role as ‘epistemological gatekeepers’ (Symon and Cassell, 1999) Formulaic studies? (See Cornellissen et. al. 2012).

9 Leeds University Business School 3. The move to mixed methods? Debate dying down because “the arguments have run dry and partly because they are nowhere near as popular as they used to be” (Alvesson and Sköldberg, 2009) Bryman (2006:113) “peace can be regarded as broken out” Mixed methods has risen like a “phoenix from the flames” (Cameron, 2007) De-coupling of the relationship between epistemology and method has implications for qualitative researchers Endurance of the privileging of quantitative research through mixed methods designs?

10 Leeds University Business School 4. Criteriology “It is widely assumed that whereas quality criteria for quantitative research are widely known and widely agreed, this is not the case for qualitative research” (Bryman et. al., 2008) Some forms and traditions of qualitative management research have clearer quality criteria than others Criteria should link in with philosophical approach (e.g Johnson et al 2006) Still the issue of positivist criteria being applied inappropriately.

11 Leeds University Business School Criteriology

12 Leeds University Business School Challenges / opportunities 1.Standardisation 2.New technologies and methods 3.Globalisation and internationalisation 4.Diverse epistemologies

13 Leeds University Business School 1. Standardisation Increased significance of ethical regulation (Bryman and Bell, 2007) Pressure from performative measures such as journal quality lists Move towards evidence-based practice has been critiqued by qualitative researchers (e.g. Denzin, 2009; Cassell, 2011).

14 Leeds University Business School 2. New technologies and methods Traditional forms of management and organisation are changing hence the need for methods to adapt e.g. multi-site ethnography Development of the internet has led to a new range of on-line contexts for the researcher to study e.g.: netnography (Kozinets, 2002) Investigations about how to use traditional methods online e.g.: electronic interviews (Morgan and Symon, 2004) New developments have particular implications for reflexivity and ethics.

15 Leeds University Business School 3. Globalisation and internationalisation Assumptions about English as a shared language (Tietze, 2008) Other language use in interviewing (e.g. Horton et. al., 2004) Translation issues Variety in ‘epistemic cultures’ of qualitative research (Knoblauch et. al., 2002) Need for a ‘glocalized’ methodology (Gobo, 2011) Operationalization of glocalized approach through the ‘kaleidoscope’ metaphor (Lee and Cassell, 2014).

16 Leeds University Business School

17 4. Epistemological diversity Post-colonialism (Prasad, 2005) Indigenous scholarship (e.g.: Smith, 1999; Stablein and Panaho, 2011) Queer theory Ongoing mapping of the philosophical terrain of qualitative research is required.

18 Leeds University Business School Reflection Are we in the ‘fractured future’ that Denzin and Lincoln outline? What are the implications of characterising qualitative research in this way? Never forget how wonderful qualitative research is

19 Leeds University Business School Conclusions Some ongoing concerns –Publication in ‘top’ journals –Standardisation The future is bright: –Far more resources available to the qualitative researcher –Exciting methodological developments and new epistemological approaches in an increasingly globalised research world.

20 Leeds University Business School Thank you Any questions?

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