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Journal Article

Researching Organizational Culture Using the Grounded Theory Method  pp67-74

Noel Pearse, MacDonald Kanyangale

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

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Researching organizational culture using the grounded theory method is intuitively logical, given the ease of conceptualising organizational culture as a basic social process. In spite of its intuitive appeal, there are numerous challenges along the research voyage that could facilitate or jeopardise the unsuspecting researcher's investigation. The aim of this paper is to alert prospective researchers, to some of the critical considerations that arise when designing and conducting research of this nature. The paper first tackles issues that are related to the conceptualisation of organizational culture as the phenomenon of interest, before turning to the research design implications. Research considerations that are related to the conceptualisation of organizational culture and the formulation of the research, include (1) the school of thought that the researcher embraces and the implications of its research traditions; (2) the assumptions made about the nature of organizational culture (such as its degree of uniformity or variation, its definition and construction, and its stability and development over time) and the implications for its investigation; (3) the contextual characteristics of the study (such as the size of the organization being investigated) and their implications for the manifestation of organizational culture; and (4) the researcher's values and interests and their implications for accessing credible data. Other than the implications of conceptualisation of organizational culture on the formulation of the research problem, further research design considerations discussed include (1) aligning the researcher's ontological and epistemological assumptions with the assumptions made about organizational culture; (2) identifying sources of data and techniques for its collection, that are appropriate to the conceptualisation of culture and its temporal characteristics in particular; and (3) reconciling the level of data collection with its level of analysis in order to aggregate and reconcile various individual perspectives of a collective social construct.


Keywords: grounded theory, organizational culture, research design


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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009 / Dec 2009  pp1‑116

Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina

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The 8th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management attracted a wide range of papers. The conference fell naturally into four main themes: introducing relatively new techniques, in depth description of application of accepted research methods, overview of the whole research process and attempts to deal with intractable problems. The final selection of papers was agreed both the editor of the Journal and the editors of the conference proceedings, Joseph Azzopardi and Frank Bezzina. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM.

The quality of the papers was particularly high and the selection of those papers for the Journal presented a difficult choice. 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 and to represent the four major themes of the conference.

The papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The papers proposed a number on new and unusual methods, including Psychogeography ( Knowles) and webometrics (Romero‑Frias). Both of these papers focused on explaining the technique and its appropriateness to business research. Techniques dealt with in previous issues were also well represented including mixed methods (Ryan); Grounded Theory (Noel & Kamyangale); REP Grid (Klaus). Several papers offered some valuable insights into key steps of the research process including audit trail (Carcary) and data collection problems and interpretation ( Iacono, Brown and Holtham; Rasmussen, and Heiko; Heiro and Reetta). The paper by Brooke and Parker introduced a new dimension (spirituality) to the philosophy of business research. One paper offered an intriguing review of leadership research (Mortimer).


Keywords: brand identity, brand personality, business intelligence, business management, business survey, critical management, essential self, fact-based, feminist research methods, focus groups, Foucault, grounded theory, health care professionals, higher education, information systems, information technology, internet studies, interpretivist paradigm, interview, leadership theory, London, longitudinal case work, luxury brand, meaning and work, methodology, multicultural data collection, nonresponse, organisations, organisations audit trail, organizational culture, participant observation, philosophy, Protestant Ethic, psychogeography, qualitative data, qualitative online research, qualitative research, qualitative research methods, regional development, religion, Repertory Grid Method, research confirmability, trustworthiness, research design, research methods , research strategies, safety in the field, self-selection, SMEs, spirituality, steel trading case, transferability, Web 2.0, Web minin


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