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Qualitative Management Research.

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  • Essay length: 3259 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
University Degree Management Studies

An extract from this essay...

Qualitative Management Research

Qualitative management research is an often uncertain and emergent undertaking which is just as complex as management it self. Accordingly, the inexperienced researcher needs some reference points to help them balance practical worth with academic rigor. It can be claimed that recent works have taken a qualitative and ethnographic approach, using extensive interviewing and observation, to the study of management. These examples will all be more or less different, and some might say they are unique. What all of these examples and stories have in common is that they attempt to approach the complexity of a particular entrepreneurial setting as an ongoing process, as a process of becoming. Every managerial attempt is written on a daily basis, with many actors on multiple scenes simultaneously searching to move existing realities through creative actions into new worlds. Management is a creative process enacted through everyday practices: It is never done, and always going on, a journey more with surprises than with predictable patterns. As such, every managerial endeavor follows and writes its own story.

This leaves management as a young academic discipline with the huge task of deciding how to "organize" its knowledge of these "local complexities." The question is how to develop qualitative research activities in terms of paradigmatic conceptions, methodological practices, and ways of theorizing that match the complexity and uniqueness of entrepreneurial endeavors. In this paper I will discuss how such process studies can be conceived and what are the drawbacks of qualitative research.

Departing from a discussion of management as a process and embedding this concept within a paradigm of "becoming," we explore the methodological implications by addressing epistemological reflections, ways of theorizing, and methodological practices such as generating, analyzing, interpreting, and writing up data. Concerns of epistemology, method, and theorizing, we must stress, cannot become disconnected, and methodological considerations as such are difficult to make without taking into account the research contexts, in terms of both the sites the researcher visits and the paradigmatic position he or she takes.

The call for qualitative research in management is clear and strong1. However, before embarking on a qualitative research project, researchers must understand qualitative methods, including their advantages and disadvantages.

Qualitative methods assist researchers who desire to understand complex social phenomena. They are appropriate when seeking knowledge about the fundamental characteristics of a phenomenon being studied before theorizing about

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