Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business
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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business

Edited by Alfredo De Massis and Nadine Kammerlander

This timely Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the methodological challenges of qualitative research in family business. Written by an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in the field, the Handbook provides practical guidance based on the experiences of senior researchers, and features reflective discussion on how to craft insightful, rigorous studies.
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Chapter 12: Illuminating the space between: investigating interpersonal relationships in family firms through qualitative inquiry

Matthias Waldkirch


Interpersonal relationships represent a core element of the fabric of organizations, since they provide meaning for individuals and structure work. Especially in family firms, interpersonal relationships can have long-lasting implications for individuals and the organization. Studying those relationships thus gives new and revealing insights into the family firm. The purpose of this chapter is to provide qualitative approaches through which to understand, conceptualize and investigate workplace relationships in family firms. Drawing from the broader streams of organizations studies, organizational behavior and human relations, the chapter shows how researchers can: (1) create and analyze narratives of relationships; (2) illuminate and investigate patters formed by workplace relationships; and (3) investigate the meaning of workplace relationships. To illustrate these three points, the chapter relies on empirical material from a longitudinal single case study.

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