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  • Series: Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series x
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Roy Suddaby

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Trish Reay

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Nadine Kammerlander and Alfredo De Massis

Qualitative research is increasing in relevance for management in general and family business research in particular. Family businesses present an especially rich and interesting context to study processes and mechanisms in a qualitative manner. Yet qualitative research comes with many challenges and risks for which no practical guide is at hand. The purpose of this chapter is hence to provide some thoughts and guidelines to avoid common traps and mistakes of qualitative research. To do so, the authors build on their experience as authors, editors and reviewers as well as interviews with renowned qualitative scholars from the management field.

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Evelyn Micelotta, Vern L. Glaser and Gabrielle Dorian

This chapter echoes prior calls for a more pervasive and varied use of qualitative methodologies in family business research. The authors start with an overview of current empirical qualitative work in the family business domain in order to understand the methodological preferences of family business scholars and the methods they have gravitated towards. Having established the key difference between methods and methodologies, and the importance of linking analytical approaches to the building of theory, they discuss three exemplars of qualitative methodologies in the general management literature. The final section of the chapter elaborates on opportunities for deeper engagement with these methodologies in the family business domain and suggestions for enriching the qualitative toolkit of family business research.

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Daniel Wheatley

Researching the quality of working lives involves investigating the resources, activities, and outcomes of paid and unpaid work. Research in this field is multi-disciplinary in nature encompassing a range of sub-disciplines within the social sciences including economics, human resource management, industrial relations, psychology, and social policy. Consistent with the multiple disciplines researching in this field, a variety of methods are employed in the study of the quality of working lives. This handbook provides reflections from researchers on recent research which has contributed to the expanding international evidence base, collecting together research in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods traditions from key contributors in the field. This introductory chapter reflects on the changing nature of work and the meaning and impacts of job quality in contemporary societies, before outlining the structure of the handbook.

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Carol Atkinson

There is a long-established tradition of research into the quality of working lives amongst academics which has, over recent years, seen an accompanying spike in interest amongst policy-makers and other key stakeholders. This has coincided, in the UK at least, with a government-led programme to ensure that research has ‘impact’, that is, affects, changes or benefits institutions beyond academia. The chapter provides a timely discussion of how to build impact into research, both quantitative, where policy-makers and funders are increasingly demanding methods such as randomised controlled trials in the social sciences, and qualitative, where scale of research can create challenges for achieving wider impacts. Use of electronic and traditional media and various stakeholder reports is discussed. Measurement of this slippery concept is also included, with consideration of the multiple stakeholders to quality of working life research and the extent to which impact can be quantified in complex world of work.

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Irene Hardill and Daniel Wheatley

A lifecourse approach affords researchers the possibility of examining an individual's life history to understand how events influence decisions, including the role of ‘transitions’, e.g. entering paid work, volunteering following retirement, leaving paid work to provide care. In this chapter we reflect on the use of a lifecourse perspective to research time spent in forms of paid and unpaid work, specifically unpaid acts of care and voluntary work, and impacts on well-being. We report on mixed methods research, combining UK data from the English Community Life Survey, British Household Panel Survey/Understanding Society, the British Social Attitudes Survey and qualitative life history interviews derived from an ESRC-funded micro-sociological study. Our findings revealed a range of trade-offs between paid work, unpaid care and volunteering, and well-being effects. This chapter focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the application of a lifecourse perspective, and mixed method research design drawing on multiple data sources, in increasing our understanding of paid and unpaid work throughout the lifecourse.

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Pinar Bayhan Karapinar, Selin Metin Camgöz and Ozge Tayfur Ekmekci

Job insecurity (JI) refers to “the perceived powerlessness to maintain the desired continuity in a threatened job situation” (Greenhalgh and Rosenblatt 1984, p. 438). Given the role of gender in shaping work-related attitudes and family–work related responsibilities, the framework of this chapter tries to examine whether perceptions of insecurity differ according to gender. It is argued that gender might influence the perception of JI and thus the severity of its consequences. In this vein, this chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the literature on the association between perceptions of JI and gender. In addition, the chapter aims to provide a comprehensive overview of measurement instruments of JI. For this purpose, the chapter addresses how JI has been conceptualized and operationalized in the extant literature so far. Measurement instruments are also evaluated with a gender lens perspective to suggest new avenues for future research.

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Anne Cockayne

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a condition which legislation places as a disability, yet about which employers have limited understanding. AS individuals experience substantial inequalities in employment outcomes, while it is a condition associated with skills and strengths, a paradox which provides impetus for research. Studies of such hidden conditions are scant, particularly those that explore employer experiences, in the main because AS only becomes visible and open to study once an individual has chosen to disclose their condition to their employing organization. Substantial ontological and epistemological challenges exist for researchers studying AS, in accessing relevant participants within organizations. This chapter shows how a combination of critical realism and social constructionist approaches have been powerful in deepening understanding of AS in the employment context. It suggests how researchers might approach the many avenues for research into AS, considering the role of neurodiverse and neurotypical researchers.

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Irene Sotiropoulou

The chapter explores violence, both systemic and incidental, that a social researcher may encounter during field research. The questions and anonymised cases used in this chapter stem from field research concerning public spaces of work related to, or organized by, social movements and grassroots initiatives. This work is usually defined as “unpaid” or “volunteering”, but also encapsulates work performed within arrangements of collective production beyond the paid–unpaid binary. Feminist and decolonial approaches are used to analyse ethical questions related to the stance a researcher may employ in social contexts where structural violence already exists (a patriarchal–racist–capitalist society) and where new incidents of physical or psychological violence may emerge and come to the researcher’s attention. The chapter employs the stance that when violence exists in or against a community this is a research finding that affects the integrity of the researcher, of the research, and the well-being of focus communities.