Organizational socialization research has been criticized for being too focused on socialization as an adaptation process. Furthermore, critics contend that socialization approaches tend to be micro-biased; they lose sight of broader societal implications. This study tackles both critiques by combining an identity-based understanding of socialization with the communicative con cept of the polyphonic organization. It is not only individuals who engage in multiple identity work; business organizations also do so when exposed to contextual voices at the macro-level of society. Qualitative interviews and focus groups with corporate communication professionals, alumni, and students reveal that there are multiple voices shaping organizational socialization. However, one societal reference has proved to be hegemonic, namely the instrumental reasoning of the economic system: newcomers are expected to adapt to the ‘real world’ of ‘budgets.’
This paper considers the methodological implications arising from competing narratives of an organizational change process in a large acute city teaching hospital. This qualitative case study was informed by a processual-contextual perspective, and relied on an interpretive, constructivist epistemology. Two forms of contradiction are revealed. First, differing accounts were offered of substantive dimensions of the change programme. Second, the impact of change on organizational effectiveness was indeterminate. This study suggests that the unitary, authentic narrative is illusory. Political motivations underpinning account-giving, and phenomenological variations in the lived experience of change, make competing narratives a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a methodological aberration. These findings have two main implications. First, case narrative validation through triangulation should be abandoned in favour of the pursuit of polyphony and ambiguity. Second, the researcher faces the choice of being either an arbiter of accuracy, or of holding the less comfortable, more challenging, but creatively constructive role of exposing organizational tensions, disputes and contradictions.
Written through the lens of the practitioner-scholar, this paper integrates first-hand experience with theory to explore the tension between positive scholarship and the Metamorphosis Model proposed by Boje (2005) in the context of the emerging workplace practice of systematically applying story/telling. In particular it examines the importance of shadow stories, potent stories from the liminal spaces of the organization, and their implication for organizational practitioners who are latching on to the emerging trend to formally or systematically integrate story/telling into their practice. It draws on the practical experience blended with the qualitative research of the author on the systematic use of stories in for-profit organizations. It does not problematize systematic, performer storytelling as a strategic process, but for the purposes of this paper accepts it as a popular contemporary trend. A preliminary set of reflective questions for practitioners who have chosen to participate in systematic storytelling are included with the intent of challenging practitioners to widen the angle of their listening lens and deepen their practice through an understanding and inclusion of liminal stories.
This paper examines the question of introducing the first management control system in independent professions through the case of French notary public offices. In order to provide elements of response to the research question, a qualimetric approach which combines qualitative and quantitative models has been chosen to improve the validity of observations. The qualitative approach selected was based on an action research program carried out in 350 notary public offices between 1998 and 2004. In parallel, 5 explicative variables for measuring the successful set-up of the management control system were tested and analyzed, primarily by factor analysis.
This paper explores how assigning software developers the identity of “engineers” metes out specific assumptions about IT projects. To this end, the paper describes an alternative metaphor of programming as art, which is commonly used by the programmers interviewed. In addition, the discussion draws conclusions from the discrepancies between the two views as well as from the proposed metaphor, explaining organizational reluctance to aesthetical vocabulary. This paper discusses occupational identity—emphasizing the identity of programmers—using qualitative research methods. As such, it enriches the literature currently available on this profession.
This paper presents a personal account of how an individualized qualitative research process attempts to understand farmers. A story of how the author interacts with and interviews farmers in order to understand how they and the narrator constructs meaning about what it is to be a farmer and the ‘parallel world’ of the farmer. Explores some methodological issues and problems about framing farmers as entrepreneurs.
Analyzing discourses is potentially a very powerful method for social research, and any such analysis should have a powerful voice, but to be truly powerful it must be able to have something to contribute towards policy. In this paper I reflect on discourse analysis broadly and how it might engage policy makers more fully. The paper suggests why policy-makers in Western nations might not listen to, or resist the demonstration of how discursive forces shape their experiences and indeed their understanding of the plight of refugees. This problem can be traced to Western society’s reliance on a discourse of modernism which conflicts with policy-makers need to critically examine issues of inclusion, racism and integration as a result of large refugee intakes. As analysts we need to make sure we too move to something postmodern, and rather than a broad attack on policy-makers we need to find a way to engage new inclusive discourses to unpack discursive instances in local settings in a collaborative fashion and allow a space for policy-makers to not only read and act on the discursive research findings, but engage in the very tenets of social ‘constructionism’.
Different frameworks guide our research. In this edition we are interested to see how the methodology of discourse analysis is useful for shaping policy in the context of refugees, and we have included work from a variety of researchers all of whom engage with discourses in the context of refugees. A sub-theme of this issue emanates from our collective experiences working in a broad range of disciplines, many of which have relied upon qualitative data collection and in turn the analysis of narrative. Narrative data and discourse analysis are two different, though interrelated, approaches that are commonly used in the social sciences, but often they are either confused or have little or no impact at the policy level. While this paper focuses on the issue of discourse analysis, other papers within the issue concentrate on the use of narrative in constructing meaning and recording the experiences of refugees in Western nations. It is important that readers are aware of both discourse analysis and narrative in terms of refugee studies.
In this article, we present an experiential narrative of reflexivity in qualitative empirical research. Through a dialog of three researchers on their research processes we highlight the issues of reflexivity in empirical research and show the ways by which a researcher's ontological and epistemological presumptions inform decision making throughout the research process. Generalizing from our own research experience, we call for academic discussion on the experiential knowledge researchers have on reflexivity. Sharing the experiences researchers have on reflecting the ontological and epistemological manifestations in empirical research would shorten the gap between the theoretical discussion on reflexivity and the day to day decisions an empirical researcher faces.
It is generally accepted that the choice between a qualitative and a quantitative approach appears to be dictated by the criteria of effectiveness regarding the orientation of the research (to create or to test). The main objective of qualitative research is to create a methodology for approaching, understanding, analysing and explaining management phenomena at a social or company level. The objective of this contribution is to present a reflection aiming at understanding qualitative research according to the dual perspectives of final aims and means used.
This paper aims to analyse the implications of negotiating ethnographic research access following research ethical codes and remain coherent with Critical Management Studies (CMS) principles. Through this reflective account, we seek to address the field of Organisation Studies (OS), where ethnographic research access has attracted little theoretical scholarly attention, and also to contribute to the renewed focus on ethical research practice within CMS literature. In addition, we also aim to contribute to broader debates about qualitative research practices by highlighting the ethical implications of establishing formal research access and to analyse the dilemmas that arise from the conflict between prescriptive ethical codes and researcher’s own conscience when carrying out field research. Rather than calling for a new, revised code of ethics, we appeal for a more open and honest debate about the pragmatic realities of critical, organisational ethnographic research.
Using Bourdieu‘s economic approach to language as the focal point, the paper addresses the dilemmas arising from the co-existence of a global, English and a national, Danish discourse within the field of higher education in Denmark. The first part shows how the emergence of a global knowledge market has prompted Danish university managers to develop new policies on language, promoting the idea of ‗parallel language usage‘ in an attempt to justify to staff and students the ongoing normalisation of English within the areas of research and teaching. The second part looks at the question of English domination from the position of the university lecturers. Drawing on qualitative research interviews collected at four Danish faculties, the analysis demonstrates how ‗English only‘ strategies have affected teachers‘ practice and how they have responded by developing idiosyncratic rules deriving from local needs rather than global principles. The paper concludes that there seems to be resistance to the normalisation of English within the Danish university system but that such behaviours tend to be hidden rather than explicit.
Amid the disempowerment and marginalization faced by young girls, character development programs are being implemented to change the course for girls by fostering strong and empowered feminine identities. I explore the challenges of implementing one such program through my ethnographic and community engaged research with a character development program designed to equip 3rd through 5th grade girls with the skills and confidence they need to grow into empowered women. Through a qualitative analysis, I empirically demonstrate the importance of community engaged scholarship for uniting theory with practice. My analysis extends research exploring community engaged, empowerment programs by highlighting the ways empowerment is experienced differently by every girl. I point to the tension between empowerment in theory and in practice, specifically addressing the assumptions: 1) of girls’ uniform experience base, 2) about the influence of the GRL message among competing others, and 3) regarding the utility of certain strategies in diverse situations, all of which undermine the process of empowerment. I describe my experience working with the founder of the organization to revise the curriculum and offer a set of practical implications for this and similar organizations to productively respond to the tensions between the theory and practice of empowerment. Finally, I argue for a conceptual shift in the way we theorize empowerment as an ongoing and constantly negotiated state of engagement, rather than an endpoint or stable state of being.
Work-life balance research has employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. Self-reported surveys dominate the field, with interviews and document analysis used to a lesser extent. Whether stated or not, workers in these studies are generally assumed to have two separate lives or roles and are, therefore, implicitly two different people. We adapted a qualimetric socio-economic intervention research approach to study individualized meanings and impacts of work-life balance in a complete academic/administrative unit of a business college, thereby offering the potential for applicability and scalability to an entire college or university. Treating each worker as a single person immersed in extended social networks revealed that while symptoms or superficial effects may differ at home and at work, the root causes of challenges both at work and at home were the same. The qualimetric approach produced findings that differed from previous research in the broader field of work-life balance research, and offered insight into the power relations that reduce work-life balance to a work-only monologue.