Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch
Chapter 3: Grounded theory analysis in entrepreneurship research
New discoveries are always the result of high-risk expeditions into unknown territory. Darwin, Columbus, and Freud, each in different ways, were conducting qualitative inquiries. These were the words from Suddaby (2006: 633), commenting on an American Management Journal survey (Bartunek et al. 2006) revealing that articles identified as ‘interesting research’ were the product of qualitative methods. One member of the family of qualitative methods is grounded theory, initially presented by Glaser and Strauss in their book The Discovery of Grounded Theory, published in 1967. Grounded theory is a qualitative methodology for developing theory that is grounded in data, which are systematically gathered and analysed. The theory evolves during the research process itself and is a product of a continuous interplay between analysis and data collection (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Strauss and Corbin 1990, 1998). The label ‘grounded theory’ reflects the source of the developed theory, which is ultimately grounded in the behaviour, words and actions of those under study (Glaser and Strauss 1967). Of central importance is thus that the researcher should be part of or work in the actual environments in which the actions take place, in natural situations, in order to analytically relate informants’ perspectives to the environments through which they emerge. The methodology is most commonly used to generate theory where little is already known, or to provide new perspectives on existing knowledge.