The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

The Search for Mechanisms in Business Research: Reflections on Retroductive Analysis in a Multilevel Critical Realist Case Study  pp17-27

Deepak Saxena

© Mar 2019 Volume 17 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 54

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Abstract

Many introductory research methods textbooks still divide the research paradigms into two broad approaches – positivist/quantitative/deductive and interpretive/qualitative/inductive. However, this bifurcation of research orientation does not do justice to the philosophical and methodological pluralism present within business research. This paper offers a third way by reflecting on a retroductive analysis in a critical realist case study. The philosophy of critical realism employs retroductive analysis to search for mechanisms underpinning the empirically observed events. Mechanism‑based theorising is a suggested way in the business research to develop middle‑range ‘sometimes true’ theories. This paper demonstrates the process of retroduction for the identification of mechanisms through an illustration of the data collection, coding and analysis process in a multilevel critical realist case study. In the process, it outlines the challenges faced and offers suggestions to overcome those challenges. This paper does not claim to provide a set of best practices for multilevel retroductive analysis. However, it is hoped that it sensitises business researchers to explore the critical realist perspective and to employ retroduction for mechanism‑based theorising.

 

Keywords: Critical Realism, mechanism, retroduction, multilevel, coding, analysis

 

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Journal Article

Looking for Clues about Quality: A Multilevel Mixed Design on Quality Management in Greek Universities  pp85-94

Antigoni Papadimitriou

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

As methodology, mixed methods (MM) provide a means to facilitate and explain several complex phenomena across various disciplines. Tashakkori and Creswell (2008), identified a nurturing and dynamic intellectual community as one that encourages scholarly debate and intellectual risk‑taking as well as developing graduate students as stewards of their disciplines. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to describe how a multilevel mixed design was applied to a research project designed to investigate the adoption of quality management in Greek universities through the lens of neo‑institutional theory. Appropriate research design is a critical choice when performing organizational research, especially when the research lacks previous precedents; thus, this gap in the literature empirically investigated these issues by using MM, which led to a process in design development and compatibility to overcome many challenges. This paper presents part of the methodological and pragmatical rationales that guided the choice to use a multilevel study mixed method design by using both concurrent and sequential data collection at the macro, meso, and micro levels in Greek universities.

 

Keywords: multilevel mixed design, quality management, higher education, neo-institutional theory

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1 / Dec 2010  pp63‑162

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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Editorial

Introduction to the ECRM conference issues

The subject of research methods in business is showing an extraordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 9th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. Papers ranged from those offering insight and help in applying such favorite methods as Grounded Theory (Douglas and Nunes et al) to those introducing new ideas such as the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). Papers fell naturally into fourteen main themes and these formed the basis of the conference streams. The quality of the papers was of such a high level that it was decided to publish two conference issues, A & B.  Issue A has the best papers on: Grounded Theory, Mixed Methods, Reflecting and Researching one’s own professional practice, Research Methods in Business and Research Methods in Strategy‑as‑practice. Issue B has the best papers on: Qualitative Data Analysis, Research Methodology and methodology issues, Teaching Research Methods and Methodologies and Trust and Ethics

The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for these two issues of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research.

Issue A

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Two papers develop new ideas (Valleck, Venkateswaran and Prabhu). Vallek’s paper introduces a relatively new method for researching in that it advocates the use of personal experience through the application of subtextual phenomenology (Valleck). The paper by Venkateswaran and Prabhu claim that their topic ‑ strategy‑as‑Practice is just emerging as a new subject. This is the study of individual and organizational actions in the process of strategizing. The paper gives an insightful view of the problems of taking a holistic view of such actions. The two papers on Grounded Theory could not have been more different in their aims, one (Douglas) shows us how the method can be used to identify the differing perspectives of stakeholders, while the second (Nunes et al) offers a valuable insight into managing the key initial stage of the method through the use of pilot studies. The papers on mixed methods (Papadimitriou, Molina‑Azorin and Cameron) both offer insight into how and when to use this method. Papadimitriou is a helpful paper to others in understanding the MMs approach to research. Whereas Molina‑Azorin and Cameron carry out a survey of the way Mixed methods has been applied in a number of key organizational research journals. The remaining three papers offer valuable insights into key steps of the research process: O'hEocha et al give a review of the use of focus groups from the literature which offers us insight into the value and appropriateness of using this technique. Heine uses an example of analyzing the behavior of a niche group to discuss the twin problems of surveys – that of reaching the target group and then motivating them to respond.  Beck et al address the practical problems of making use of data (on major change projects) over which the researcher has little control as to choice or the conditions within which the collection takes place.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, small business, entrepreneurship, pilot studies, context, research design, multilevel mixed design, quality management, higher education, neo-institutional theory, mixed methods research, strategic management, organizational behaviour, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, subtextual phenomenology; phenomenology; arts-based research; first-person research, transcendental phenomenology, intuitive research, focus group, information systems development, evaluation criteria, luxury products, luxury brands, luxury consumers, survey participant acquisition, survey response, viral marketing, field research, external validity, induction, statistical generalization, theoretical generalization, strategy-as-practice, research methods, strategy research, clinical research, review

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 17 Issue 1 / Mar 2019  pp1‑54

Editor: Ann Brown

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Keywords: participant carelessness, insufficient effort responding, careless responding, random responding, Critical Realism, mechanism, retroduction, multilevel, coding, analysis

 

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