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

A Researcher's Dilemma ‑ Philosophical and Methodological Pluralism  pp145-154

Karl Knox

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

In many research textbooks the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is inadvertently linked with philosophical perspectives. This in essence creates a mutually exclusive relationship between method and philosophy. Initially researchers are led to believe, from these textbooks, that research is neatly divided into mutually exclusive categories, these being quantitative and qualitative research and 'never the twain shall meet'. This divide is further strengthened with the inference that the relationship extends further; associating deduction with quantitative methods and similarly induction with qualitative methods. "What happens in most texts is that qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods are set against each other as polar opposites. (Crotty 1998, p19)". This paper argues that methodological pluralism is acceptable but what is not acceptable is philosophical pluralism. By naively linking methods and approaches to specific philosophy researchers and students may miss out on potentially innovative or creative data collection methods. Alternatively and more importantly by feeling tied or constrained by their philosophical stance to particular methods and approaches, associated with them by textbooks, they may in fact reduce the credibility, validity, and or significance of the research. There maybe an elective affinity between certain philosophies and methods but this should not necessarily constrain the methods chosen.

 

Keywords: Methodology, Philosophy, Pluralism, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

 

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Journal Article

Developing a new Perspective on Leadership Theory: From a Tree of Knowledge to a Rhizome of Contingencies  pp55-66

Chris Mortimer

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

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Abstract

Does the discursive formation of leadership theory hinder the development and practise of alternative leadership styles in the UK? This research question is in response to the issues summarised in the PriceWaterhouseCooper's 2008 report on Key Trends in Human Capital. Eight years into the new millennium, leadership is still at the top of the human capital agenda. Although companies invest considerable amounts of money in leadership development, the report suggests that there is limited evidence of leadership programmes delivering value for money, and that three in every ten leaders in the UK do not demonstrate essential leadership qualities. This indicates issues with the practical application of leadership research. The common denominator of all leadership research and application is the leadership theories. The theories are an easily comprehensible, continuous series of events that lead into the present of leadership, supporting all leadership research. Unquestioned assumptions support the theory framework, becoming commonly accepted truths. These suppositions include; the grounding of theory and research in reality; leadership is a fundamental component of the human condition; that social and economic progress has only been possible due to leadership, together with the unquestioned dismissal of alternative voices. Finally there is a notion that leadership theory evolves, drawing on a Darwinian event of natural selection, by evoking biological empirical science to explain a discursive structure. The research and the subject of this paper is to challenge the assumptions and framework of leadership theory through the creation of a research strategy based on Foucault's methods, creating a rhizome of contingencies rather than a progressive tree of knowledge. The paper will address definitions of the archive, archaeology and genealogy, as contextualised within the research.

 

Keywords: leadership theory, Foucault, methodology, philosophy, research strategies

 

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Journal Article

Research Philosophy Debates and Classifications: Students’ Dilemma  pp132-140

Marcia Mkansi, Edwin Asiamah Acheampong

© Dec 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, ECRM, Editor: Ann Brown, pp53 - 153

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Abstract

Research philosophy classifications such as ontology, epistemology, and anxiology and their conflicting applications to the ‘quantitative‑qualitative’ debates, are a major source of dilemma to research students in establishing their relevance to subjects areas and discipline. A number of studies have used different descriptions, categorisations and classifications of research paradigms and philosophies in relation to research methods with overlapping emphasis and meanings. This has not only resulted in tautological confusion of what is rooted where, and according to whom; but raises a critical question of whether these opposing views are enriching knowledge or subtly becoming toxic in the field? . This paper puts forth a student voice towards these debates and aims to provoke research advocates from their peripheral standpoint to become concerned about this subtle but deepening concern of students and their future impacts. A concerted effort in this direction should eventually result in the development of a planned, systematic framework and procedure that show some consensus to bail research students from these bewildering classifications and debates. The paper briefly reviews, discusses, and analyses these research philosophy classifications and debates and provides a mapping thereby through literature. Then, assesses how they impact on research students through case studies based on three North West Universities in the UK. Responses were elicited using structured interview questionnaires where students fall into different faculties and subject groupings for comparison purposes. Although the findings paint a grim picture of research, they are not conclusive to all UK students as the sample studied is skewed geographically. Future studies must survey the impact from other geographical locations. It is the conglomeration of these studies that will provide the ‘real’ magnitude of the impact on research students. This paper contributes to discussions on research methods and calls for a consensus in the field of research.

 

Keywords: research philosophy, debates, students, dilemma

 

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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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Editorial

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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