Negotiating Tensions between Theory and Practice
Edited by Julie Wolfram Cox, Tony G. LeTrent-Jones, Maxim Voronov and David Weir
Chapter 9: Extending the Repertoire of Research Approaches in a Professional Doctoral Program: The Place and Shape of a Critical Perspective
Jan Priest and Erica Hallebone SETTING THE SCENE Critical management studies (CMS) has a variety of meanings: it can refer to specific practices geared towards social and organizational change and may also refer to deriving appropriate research templates to undertake empirical research. With respect to the latter, authors do not always carefully distinguish whether they are speaking about philosophical underpinnings or about an actual criticalist procedure for doing research. In this chapter we use two threads to discuss a way in which CMS research may be done. One thread concerns exploring a methodological approach for CMS and the other is about reflexively evolving knowledge and practice in actual cases – one of which began as an interpretivist Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) research study across diverse organizational settings and which has continued to evolve over subsequent years, including the addition of a criticalist perspective. For CMS, there is ongoing debate about methodological characteristics and to date there are no clear and widely agreed approaches that constitute methodological platforms for such studies. Despite this, doing critical research is needed to: (a) increase empirical knowledge beyond that which can be achieved with predominant positivist or interpretivist approaches; (b) expand the intellectual and reflexive repertoire of practitioner-researchers; and, (c) refine empirical contributions to methodological debate. For the sake of brevity this chapter is informed by, but avoids exploring, the variety of definitions and debates around key terms such as 144 Extending the repertoire of research approaches 145 critical realism (for example, Bhaskar 1978), critical...
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