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

Strategies for Teaching Research Ethics in Business, Management and Organisational Studies  pp29-36

Linda Naimi

© Jul 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 36

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Abstract

Ethics education has become increasingly important in the wake of recent corporate scandals and reported scientific misconduct. The pressure to succeed has spurred the emergence of a 'cheating culture' (Callahan, 2004). Callahan suggests that ethics — i.e., integrity, honesty and fairness — is losing ground to a market‑driven economy and culture that rewards self‑interest, self‑gratification, and amoral behaviour. As educators, we are committed to providing students with the preparation, mentoring and guidance they need to address ethical issues that arise in their academic, professional and personal lives. We need to serve as positive role models to encourage ethical conduct. Nowhere is this more critical than in the area of research, particularly human subject research. To ensure integrity in research, students and faculty must demonstrate that they understand the ethical and legal ramifications of their work prior to initiating any research. In addition to legal requirements, universities now use a variety of creative approaches designed to promote integrity in personal and professional conduct. This paper discusses effective strategies for teaching research ethics to undergraduate and graduate students in business, management and organisational studies. Strategies include online interactive training modules, case studies, role‑playing, action research, critical inquiry, simulations, the Socratic Method, interest triggers, and research analysis. This paper also includes a brief look at LANGURE, an NSF funded national initiative involving over one hundred faculty and students at eight land grant and historically black universities in the United States. LANGURE is developing a model curriculum in research ethics for doctoral candidates in the physical, social and life sciences, and engineering.

 

Keywords: Research, ethics, business, management, organisation, case studies

 

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Journal Article

Researching Spirituality and Meaning in the Workplace  pp1-10

Carole Brooke, Simon Parker

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

In this paper we begin to address the topic of researching spirituality in the workplace. The notion of spirituality at work has been an increasing focus of attention in the academic literature over the last 10 years or so, with several special editions of journals being dedicated to the topic. However, we find at least two areas of this work so far to be problematic. One aspect relates to the apparent ambiguity relating to the term 'spirituality' in itself and, especially, in comparison to the use of the word 'religion'. Another aspect refers to the motives and drivers behind the study of workplace spirituality and the search for 'higher meaning'. In essence, we find the predominant objectives behind the research to be highly instrumental. Sometimes this seems to be deliberately espoused but sometimes it is more hidden. This paper attempts a preliminary critical review of the field with a special emphasis on the issues it raises for the researcher. In particular, we seek to show how the way in which 'spirituality' is conceived and constructed directly affects decisions related to methodological choice and (ultimately) to research design itself. We close the paper by reflecting on the importance of the topic and yet the dangers inherent in appearing to trivialise its nature.

 

Keywords: organisations, spirituality, critical management, meaning and work, religion, research methods, protestant ethic, essential self, methodology

 

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Journal Article

Claiming the Streets: Feminist Implications of Psychogeography as a Business Research Method  pp47-54

Deborah Knowles

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

This paper is intended to establish a claim that the techniques of psychogeography may be advantageously employed in business and management research in order to provide a new perspective on how organisations are experienced. It examines this practice for its possibilities as a research approach for women and its compatibility with feminist research methods. Psychogeography offers an approach to gaining an understanding of the ways that human behaviour is shaped by the geographical environment (Coverley, 2006). It constitutes a style of collecting a variety of qualitative data using complementary methods, which gives a textured view of the real world in a particular environment. Psychogeography is primarily a literary tradition. However, its constituent parts are academic disciplines rooted in real world experience. The attraction of psychogeography to a business researcher is many layered. It invites the researcher to observe the environment slowly and painstakingly, whilst "strolling", and to construct meanings in a number of ways. Walking is celebrated by psychogeographers as a cultural act and an important way to understand the world, yet the male‑as‑norm character of psychogeographers is well established (Solnit, 2001). The masculine tradition of psychogeography may operate to challenge woman researchers to examine the possibility of using this approach in conjunction with feminist perspective research methods as a way of exploring and questioning women's place in a patriarchal culture (Acker et al, 1983). Feminist research methods seek to address the "invisibility" of women's experience in academic studies (Roberts, 1990:7), to overturn the male‑as‑norm perspective, and to highlight the possibilities for women to engage in 'male‑preserve' activities. In the case of the male preserve of psychogeography these intentions would apply not only to the subject of the study but also to the practice of the research method itself.

 

Keywords: psychogeography, feminist research methods, qualitative research, safety in the field, London, organisations

 

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Journal Article

The Multidisciplinary Nature of Business Strategy: Suggesting a Rhizome Paradigm  pp22-33

Eli Noy, Aim Deulle Luski

© Jan 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 52

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Abstract

Though business strategy has long been the subject of academic interest, neither the question of the unified philosophical paradigm that govern it, nor the scientific disciplines that guide it has not yet been resolved (Mintzberg et al.1998). We argue that by adopting the rhizome paradigm to explain business strategy we can set the ground for understanding the intellectual foundation of business strategy and resolve the diverse, inconsistent or one may say complementary, definitions of business strategy. The article starts by presenting the various concepts of business strategy. It then portrays the many scientific disciplines that impinge on strategy, showing how none of them may be considered as a base for a unified paradigm. Turning to philosophy for a solution, we try first to look into the traditional western arbores cent philosophies but find that they do not give the needed framework for business strategy. The next step is to look at the rhizome philosophy as a possible paradigm. We follow with a brief description of the six principals of the rhizome, demonstrating how it does offer the necessary way to blend the influences of the various scientific disciplines on business strategy. We then explain how the rhizome paradigm serves to establish an intellectual foundation for business strategy that provides us with a rationalization for the coexistence of its many definitions. We conclude by describing the contribution of this article to the emerging discipline of business strategy as well as suggest directions for further research.

 

Keywords: business strategy, rhizome paradigm, strategy schools, network organisation

 

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Journal Article

Innovative Methodologies in Qualitative Research: Social Media Window for Accessing Organisational Elites for interviews  pp157-167

Efrider Maramwidze-Merrison

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp71 - 167

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Abstract

Reflexivity is the nature of qualitative research (Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Morgan an Smircich, 1980); implying that through reflectivity exercises researchers are able to demonstrate their research's rigour and also create a treasure trove of ideas and strategies, share the pleasures and agonies of doing qualitative research. The ever‑growing body of knowledge on the strategies for accessing research participants that researchers share, evidences the gains of reflexivity (see the newly injected literature Cunliffe and Alcadipani, 2016; Blix and Wettergren, 2015; Mikecz, 2012). Well, this article does the same; it reflects on the access methodology employed for a PhD research (Maramwidze, 2015) carried out to explore the challenges faced by Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in the South African banking sector, which involved sampling elite respondents. Similar to other researchers' views on accessing potential research participants, in this case organisational elites, the researcher faced challenges associated with gaining access; as well as the usually high cost of conducting face‑to‑face qualitative interviews.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Reflexivity in qualitative research, organisational elites, innovative and diplomatic access strategies, social media, LinkedIn, research students, teaching research methods

 

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Journal Article

Researching Organisational Change in Higher Education: A Holistic Tripartite Approach  pp150-161

Dr Lois Farquharson, Dr Tammi Sinha, Susanne Clarke

© Oct 2018 Volume 16 Issue 3, Editor: Ann Brown, pp103 - 172

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Abstract

In the UK context, it is important to acknowledge that there are multiple change drivers in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that result in a proliferation of foci. Gornitzka (1999) and Allen (2003) suggest that the distinctiveness of governance, professional autonomy and the tradition of academic freedom in HEIs should be reflected in change processes, and therefore traditional frameworks for change could be adapted in an attempt to research and manage change. This paper explores how theoretical and practical tools for managing and researching change can be integrated in order to support change, whilst reflecting on the methods used. The journey of the authors towards the development of a holistic framework for researching and supporting change in Higher Education (HE), with a focus on two HEIs, is explored. The synergies of Lean Management (Wincel and Krull, 2013), Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider and Srivastva 1987), and Participatory Action Research (Greenwood et al, 1993) are examined through three stages of practice‑based fieldwork to establish their positioning within a holistic tripartite framework for researching and supporting organizational change. The benefits and challenges of this framework are discussed with attention to the importance of future research to provide more evidence of the impact of this framework.

 

Keywords: Appreciative Inquiry, Organisational Change, Lean Management, World café, Story-telling, Participative Action Research.

 

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Journal Article

Examining Structural Flexibility Factors in SMEs: A Mixed Methods Study in Mexico  pp28-42

Adrianela Angeles, Edgar Centeno, Cristian E. Villanueva

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

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the utility of a mixed methods approach in the examination of one of the best‑known success factors of small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs): their structural flexibility (SF), and how this is related to their organisational life cycle (OLC). Previous research has proposed five factors to explain SF in large and medium‑sized organisations. By adopting an explanatory sequential design, this study demonstrates why a mono‑method approach is insufficient to explain this model when put into operation in SMEs. It also highlights a key aspect of mixed methods research: the integration challenge, which is illustrated with joint displays and using a weaving approach. In the first quantitative phase, data from 257 SMEs were collected, classified according to their OLC stage, and examined with exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a two‑step cluster analysis. The EFA revealed five factors, one of which, called “decision‑making”, presented unexpected statistical behaviour and an unclear explanation, indicating a contrasting approach was necessary for better results explanation. It was not until the qualitative phase that we realised this aspect would be better named “centralisation in decision‑making”. This term is associated with growing and declining SMEs, and it may constrain their flexibility and limit their growth. Additionally, a new theme emerged in this phase: “innovation”, which had not been associated with the SF before. This paper provides evidence that the combined use of quantitative and qualitative approaches offers the possibility of exploring new dimensions and can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon in a way quantitative data alone may not allow.

 

Keywords: Mixed Methods integration, joint display, centralisation in decision-making, innovation, organisational life cycle, QUAN-qual research.

 

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Journal Article

An Illustration of a Deductive Pattern Matching Procedure in Qualitative Leadership Research  pp143-154

Noel Pearse

© Sep 2019 Volume 17 Issue 3, Editor: Ann Brown, pp102 - 191

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Abstract

Most qualitative studies in business‑related research have adopted an inductive approach, in that they explore specific cases and then extract themes, or statements that are more general, from this data. This approach has its shortcomings, including not developing a more systematic body of knowledge of behavioural and social processes that take place in organisations. In contrast, in deductive qualitative research, the theoretical propositions derived from a review of the literature serve as its departure point, informing how the data is collected. Later on in the analysis of data, the researcher uses the propositions to determine if the literature explains the case that was being investigated. Unfortunately, given the relative neglect of deductive qualitative research approaches, there is little guidance and few examples offered that illustrate the application of these techniques. This poses a challenge for researchers, who often need a greater level of structure when it comes to designing and conducting their research. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to illustrate the design of a research protocol that integrates two deductive approaches that are suitable for explanatory case study research, namely deductive thematic analysis and pattern matching. This paper develops a seven‑step process that researchers can follow, for carrying out this type of deductive qualitative research. Using extracts from a research study investigating the leading of organisational change, the steps in this process are illustrated.

 

Keywords: thematic analysis, pattern matching, case study research, deductive qualitative analysis, leading organisational change

 

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