new book Handbook of Qualitative Organizational Research Innovative Pathways and Methods (2015, Routledge) now available

At orgtheory, we’ve had on-going discussions about how to undertake research.  For example, I’ve shared my own take on dealing with the IRB, gaining access to organizations, undertaking ethnography , timing and pacing research, writing for wider audiences, and what is ethnography good for?  Guest blogger Ellen Berrey elaborated her thoughts on how to get access to organizations, and we’ve had at least three discussions about the challenges of anonymizing names and identities of persons and organizations, including guest blogger Victor Tan Chen’s post, guest blogger Ellen Berrey’s post, and Fabio’s most recent post here.

Looking for more viewpoints about how to undertake organizational research?  Preparing a research proposal?  Need a new guide for a methods or organizations class?  Rod Kramer and Kim Elsbach have co-edited the Handbook of Qualitative Organizational Research Innovative Pathways and Methods (2015, Routledge)


In the introduction, Kramer and Elsbach describe the impetus for the volume:

There were several sources of inspiration that motivated this volume. First and foremost was a thoughtful and provocative article by Jean Bartunek, Sara Rynes, and Duane Ireland that appeared in the Academy of Management Journal in 2006. This article published a list of the 17 most interesting organizational papers published in the last 100 years. These papers were identified by Academy of Management Journal board members—all of whom are leading organizational scholars cognizant of  the best work being done in their respective areas. A total of 67 board members nominated 160 articles as exceptionally interesting; those articles that received two or more nominations were deemed the most interesting. Of these exceptional articles, 12 (71%) involved qualitative methods.

This result strongly mirrors our own experience as organizational researchers. Although both of us have used a variety of methods in our organizational research (ranging from experimental lab studies and surveys to computer-based, agent simulations), our favorite studies by far have been our qualitative studies (including those we have done together). One of the qualities we have come to most appreciate, even cherish, about qualitative research is the sense of discovery and the opportunity for genuine intellectual surprise. Rather than merely seeking to confirm a preordained hypothesis or “nail down” an extrapolation drawn from the extant literature, our inductive studies, we found, invariably opened up exciting, unexpected intellectual doors and pointed us toward fruitful empirical paths for further investigation. In short, if life is largely all about the journey rather than destination, as the adage asserts, we’ve found qualitative research most often gave us a road we wanted to follow.

Kramer and Elsbach recruited 70 researchers to share their ideas and approaches to research:

…we enlisted the aid of over 70 scholars—each an expert in a particular qualitative method or approach. These scholars, who include both seasoned veterans of the methodology as well as those new to the practice, represent the cutting edge in qualitative organizational research. Each of these experts has published empirical articles using his or her particular methods, and, as a collection, these articles are at the vanguard of new and creative methodological approaches that have not (yet) been recognized in the mainstream literature. Thus, they are uniquely suited to provide insight on how qualitative methods can best serve those who, like them, seek pathways to cool ideas and interesting papers.

The line-up of contributors to the 44-chapter anthology includes myself and several of our orgtheory guest bloggers, commenters, and readers:

Part I: Introduction, History, & Context of Qualitative Methods

1. Introduction: In Search of Innovative Pathways and Methods in Qualitative Research Kimberly D. Elsbach and Roderick M. Kramer

2. Qualitative Research: It Just Keeps Getting More Interesting! Sara L. Rynes and Jean M. Bartunek

3. Ups and Downs: Trends in the Development and Reception of Qualitative Methods Michael Mauskapf and Paul Hirsch

Part II: Innovative Research Settings

4. Understanding Organizations from Extreme Cases Katherine K. Chen

5. Contract Ethnography in Corporate Settings: Innovation from Entanglement Anne-Laure Fayard, John Van Maanen, and John Weeks

6. Studying Elites in Institutions of Higher Education Scott Snook and Rakesh Khurana

7. Drawing Fine Lines Behind Bars: Pushing the Boundaries of Researcher Neutrality in Unconventional Contexts Kristie M. Rogers, Madeline Toubiana, and Katherine A. DeCelles

8. Why is That Interesting? Finding the Meanings of Unexplored Phenomena Ian J. Walsh and Jean M. Bartunek

9. Studying Organizational Fields Through Ethnography Tammar B. Zilber

Part III: Innovative Research Designs

10. How to Look Two Ways at Once: Research Strategies for Inhabited Institutionalism Michael A. Haedicke and Tim Hallett

11. Using Qualitative Methods to Track Evolving Entrepreneurial Identities Philip Anderson

12. From What Happened To What Happens: Using Microhistorical Case Studies to Build Grounded Theory in Organization Studies Andrew Hargadon

13. Immersion Ethnography of Elites Brooke Harrington

14. Accounting for Accounts: Crafting Ethnographic Validity through Team Ethnography Joelle Evans, Ruthanne Huising, and Susan S. Silbey

15. Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Opportunities for Case-Based Research Reut Livne-Tarandach, Benjamin Hawbaker, Brooke Lahneman, and Candace Jones

16. Leveraging Comparative Field Data for Theory Generation Beth A. Bechky and Siobhan O’Mahony

17. Crafting and Selecting Research Questions and Contexts in Qualitative Research Michael G. Pratt

18. A Practice Approach to the Study of Social Networks Maria Christina Binz-Scharf

Part IV: Unique Forms of Qualitative Data

19. Denials, Obstructions, and Silences: Lessons from Repertoires of Field Resistance (and Embrace) Michel Anteby

20. The Aesthetics of Data: Qualitative Analysis of Visual and Other Non-Textual Forms of Data Simona Giorgi and Mary Ann Glynn

21. Leveraging Archival Data from Online Communities for Grounded Process Theorizing Natalia Levina and Emmanuelle Vaast

22. Analyzing Visual Rhetoric In Organizational Research Lianne Lefsrud, Heather Graves, and Nelson Phillips

23. Markers, Metaphors, and Meaning: Drawings As a Visual and Creative Qualitative Research Methodology in Organizations Sarah J. Tracy and Shawna Malvani Redden

Part V: Unique Data Collection Methods

24. Structural Sampling: A Technique for Illuminating Social Systems Sonali K. Shah and Andreea Gorbati

25. Ethnography Across the Work Boundary: Benefits and Considerations for Organizational Studies Melissa Mazmanian, Christine M. Beckman, and Ellie Harmon

26. Strategic Conversations: Methods for Data Collection and Analysis Christina Kyprianou, Melissa E. Graebner, and Violina Rindova

27. Triangulate and Expand: Using Multiple Sources of Data for Convergence and Expansion to Enrich Inductive Theorizing Elizabeth D. Rouse and Spencer H. Harrison

28. “What’s Cooking?” Serendipitous Opportunities and Creative Action in Data Collection Silviya Svejenova

Part VI: Innovative Forms of Analysis

29. Adventures in Qualitative Research Connie J.G. Gersick

30. Concept Mapping as a Methodical and Transparent Data Analysis Process Peter Balan, Eva Balan-Vnuk, Mike Metcalfe, and Noel Lindsay

31. Innovation through Collaboration: Working Together on Data Analysis and Interpretation Kevin G. Corley, Courtney R. Masterson, and Beth S. Schinoff

32. Multi-level Discourse Analysis: A Structured Approach to Analyzing Longitudinal Data Steven J. Kahl and Stine Grodal

33. “Tabula Geminus”: A “Both/And” Approach to Coding and Theorizing Glen E. Kreiner

34. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as Descriptive Numerical Method in Support of Narrative Methods Rodney Lacey and Lisa Cohen

35. Discovery, Validation and Live Coding Karen Locke, Martha S. Feldman, and Karen Golden-Biddle

36. Between Text and Context: Innovative Approaches to the Qualitative Analysis of Online Data Anca Metiu and Anne-Laure Fayard

37. Documenting Work: From Participant Observation to Participant Tracing Carsten Østerlund, Jaime Snyder, Steve Sawyer, Sarika Sharma, and Matt Willis

38. The Journey from Data to Qualitative Inductive Paper: Who Helps and How? Špela Trefalt and Marya L. Besharov

39. Worth a Second Look? Exploring the Power of Post-Mortems on Post-Mortems Roderick M. Kramer

Part VII: Multi-Methods Approaches

40. Mixing Quantitative and Qualitative Research Sarah Kaplan

41. Counting Qualitative Data Chad Michael McPherson and Michael Sauder

42. Combining Qualitative Methods to Study Collective Cognition in Organizations Ileana Stigliani and Davide Ravasi

43. Highlights of the Hybrid Method Charles Galunic

Part VIII: Challenges and Opportunities in Qualitative Methods

44. Confessions of a Mad Ethnographer Stephen R. Barley

In my chapter “Understanding Organizations from Extreme Cases,” I go over examples that include recent research that we’ve discussed orgtheory – thanks for sharing your favorites, orgtheory commenters!  (Read my old orgtheory post on this topic, which was the “origins” for that chapter.)

Written by katherinechen

December 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm

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