Professor Murmann's Research Blog: The Power of Richness: The Why, When, Where and How of Qualitative Research Methods

The Power of Richness: The Why, When, Where and How of Qualitative Research Methods

Participate in the workshop on Qualitative Methods the Academy of Management in Hawaii, Friday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00, August 5, 2005.  The Panelists are: Robert Burgelman, Diana Day, Deborah Dougherty, Charles Galunic, Johann Peter Murmann, Gabriel Szulanski, and Klaus Weber.

Visit the Discussion Forum for the Event where much additional information will be posted.

Abstract:Qualitative research methods can be as varied and diverse as quantitative research. The contribution that these methods can make lies in their ability to capture the phenonmena in their richness and depth and their unfolding over time. As a result, our ability to gain deep insight, induce causality and especially new theory from these methods is typically exceptional.  The question, however, is why, when, and where to use these invaluable methods (and the tools that aid in these methods) and how to do it really well.  This PDW is designed to answer these questions by providing an overview of some of the key research designs or approaches in qualitative research methods with a view to their strengths—the “why, when, where and how” of each of them—and their weaknesses—the"why, when, where and how not.”  Our panel consists of seven members.  Each was selected for the unique insight they can contribute on the various qualitative research designs, methodologies and/or tools or for their insight on inducing theory or publishing qualitative research.  The first presentations will discuss key qualitative research methods. Then, we shift from discussing qualitative methods and designs to analytical tools with especially powerful applications in qualitative research.  We finalize the panel presentations with insights for inducing theory and publishing qualitative research.  At the conclusion of the panel sessions, we will break-out into discussion groups.  In this interactive portion, participants may select among panelists those most relevant to their own research concerns to pursue specific issues in more depth.

Divisions, Groups & Sponsor(s): BPS/OMT/ONE/TIM/RM/MH/IM/OB

Organizer Day, Diana L. Rutgers U., Camden UNITED STATES
Coordinator Murmann, Johann Peter Northwestern U. UNITED STATES
Presenter Burgelman, Robert A Stanford U. UNITED STATES
Presenter Dougherty, Deborah J Rutgers U. UNITED STATES
Presenter Galunic, Charles INSEAD FRANCE
Presenter Szulanski, Gabriel INSEAD SINGAPORE
Presenter Weber, Klaus Northwestern U. UNITED STATES

The first three will discuss key qualitative research methods.

J. Peter Murmann (Kellogg—Northwestern) will discuss the comparative historical method using his award winning research (Schumpeter & Reiter awards) where he examines the coevolution of firms, techonology and institutions in the synthetic dye industry in a cross border study of Great Britain, Germany, and the United States.  It has been hailed as a major contribution to the fields of strategic management, organizational theory, and technological innovation and should be viewed as essential to the critical management literature in international management, management history, entrepreneurship and as well.  Peter’s research involves both large and small n studies.

Robert Burgelman (Stanford) will talk about the use of single case studies and the “Power of One” drawing on his seminal studies of Intel.

Gabriel Szlanski (INSEAD—Europe) will discuss alternative qualitative research designs testing theory with single case studies and repeated measures in a quasi-experimental design. A quasi-experimental perspective is aptly suited to analyze situations where the researcher cannot control the incidence of the treatment but has rich access to data and exact knowledge of when the treatment occurs. The repeated-treatment design, in particular, is justified when the program is introduced to the entire population and the investigator has access to only one population. In this presentation, Gabriel will illustrate the use of this method to test hypotheses using a single case study.

Then, we shift from discussing qualitative methods and designs to analytical tools with especially powerful applications in qualitative research.

Klaus Weber (Northwestern/Kellogg), who won an AOM award for his dissertation research, will talk about content/textual analysis and give an introduction to the software tools available.

Diana Day (Rutgers—Camden) will talk about graphical/pictorial analysis and its use in qualitative research.  The old saying , “A picture is worth a thousand words” is especially relevant when we speak of representing the rich, deep, complex nature of qualitative research with its causality, multidimensionality, process and dynamics.  But to date, most of us still rely much more heavily on words.  We suspect this failing is largely due to a lack of understanding of how pictures may be powerfully employed in both examining our results and in communicating them to others.  Diana will use examples from the natural environment, International, Entrepreneurship, OMT, TIM and Strategy to illustrate the use of these tools and techniques in qualitative research.

Finally, Charles Galunic (INSEAD) is invited to discuss the induction of new theory from qualitative research.
And, Deborah Dougherty (Rutgers—Newark) provides an editor’s prespective on qualitative research.  Deborah serves as Organization Science’s department editor for qualitative methods.  Her own work, published in top journals from Organization Science to AMJ, will also further the discussion on multicase studies.  Deborah’s own work has focused almost exclusively on qualitative methods.

At the completion of each panelist’s presentation we will allocate time for audience members to ask questions regarding that specific presentation.  Then, at the end of all the presentations, we will allocate more time to open the discussion to the entire audience.  Finally, we invite those who want to meet with individual panelists to stay for break-out sessions run by each panelist on their specific areas of expertise.
We will also set up a website with an annotated bibliography of key qualitative research studies, methodological issues, and software to which audience members can both have access and contribute.  In addition, this website will provide a place for a discussion forum where potential audience participants can post questions and comments both before and after the workshop.