Chapter 10: Qualitative research interviewing in family firms
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Qualitative research interviews are a special type of in-depth conversational interaction between a researcher and an informant, designed for the purpose of improving knowledge by capturing the rich nuances of social phenomena. Within family firms, qualitative research interviewing reveals unique challenges and opportunities resulting from the overlap of family and business entities, logics, and dynamics. To overcome the challenges and exploit the opportunities, the researcher has to carefully plan and prepare interviews. However, what is planned is deliberately only part of what will occur during an interview. Questions are only partially written in advance and the researcher may improvise some of them, depending on the more or less inductive or deductive approach adopted. Qualitative interviewing is thus a joint production requiring both careful design and the ability to navigate the complexity of rich and, at times, tricky family and business phenomena. This chapter provides detailed guidance on how to address both the structured and the creative dimensions of interviewing in family firms.

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