This essay begins by defining qualitative research, it will then continue to discuss Creswells five types of qualitative research. Each kind of study will be mentioned and an argument will be made supporting these qualitative research technique in an organisational framework (over quantitative methods). The essay puts much emphasis on justifying qualitative research in organisations to positivists. It'll conclude with a brief overview of the provided quarrels that justify qualitative research in organisations.
Qualitative research can be explained as, "almost any research that produces conclusions not attained through statistical techniques or other means of quantification" (Strauss and Corbin p. 17). One might argue that in the current business world there is no room for qualitative research, but limited to solid proven reports. However, organisations are not simply amounts and numeric devices it is important to appreciate that the main property of organisations are its people. The aim of qualitative research is to find out more about the 'real human factor' within organisations, and looks for meaning behind the amounts.
The meaning of qualitative research by Strauss and Corbin (2007) is very wide-ranging. Creswell (2009) identifies qualitative research as "a means for exploring and understanding this is individuals or categories ascribe to a communal or human being problem". This explanation narrows down qualitative research. Creswell also suggests that qualitative research workers can choose from an array of researching methods such as; open-ended questions, interview data, observation data, doc data, audio-visual data, word and image examination, emerging methods, and themes or templates habits and interpretations. He (2009) should go even further and puts forward five types of qualitative research; narrative research, phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theory studies and circumstance studies.
The narrative procedure or the history telling approach is an account or a brief history of something. Storytelling is a highly effective tool in making sense of change; identifying who our company is, and where we come from. Corresponding to Rouse and Boff (2005), "human culture itself. . . , rests to a large magnitude on our potential to capture real and imagined occasions as sequences of cause and result (i. e. stories) and reveal these sequences" (pg. 300). The necessity to "share these activities" is essential along the way of collective sense-making, which we can find all over. Magazines for example, were referred to by Philip Graham, are "the first draft of record". We inform each other reports to make sense of our sociable environment, and these reviews keep developing. Within the 'cultural web' of organisations suggested by Johnson, Scholes and Whittington (2006), they dispute that stories are a key proponent to the organisation's culture. "They may be devices for informing people what's important in the organisation" (pg. 203). A narrative approach to understanding organisational theory is vital as Zukier (1986) argues that a lot of people think in a narrative fashion instead of paradigmatically or argumentatively (in Weick, 1995). By using a subjective, collective storytelling effort, an objective the truth is created. Positivists however, seek the "rational pursuit of factual real truth" (Thorpe and Holt, 2008: pg. 155), and criticise the narrative way as being unreliable because of its subjective mother nature. However as Czarniawska (1998) clarifies, "the identified coherence of the collection of events rather than the fact or falsity of tale elements establishes the plot and thus the energy of the narrative as a story" (pg. 5). When analyzing organisational culture, the validity of the testimonies advised is not what is of essence, since whether true or fake, the story plays a submit creating the culture. In the Laskarina case study by Dark brown, Humphreys and Gurney (2005) for example, employees were all familiar with the story of the way the founding handful of the company fell in love with Laskarina on the honeymoon. Whether this storyline is true or not, it is obviously a key aspect of the business's culture and therefore is relevant to understanding the organisation's personal information. A positivist would fail to recognise this, as the subjectivity of respondents is changed by the objectivity of the researcher whose "voice is that of a disinterested scientist [who] is simply an informer of decision makers" (Lincoln and Guba, 1994: pg. 112). We find in the Humphreys and Brown (2008) Credit Line case-study, storytelling attempts made by professionals among others regarding their commercial sociable responsibility (CSR). Boonstra and Caluwe (2007) clarify that, "[As an organisation] you process what you discover difficult, nevertheless, you comment on the things that folks are pleased with" (pg. 49). We find that at Credit Line, CSR is a top-down approach, where managers seriously promote interpersonal responsibility through storytelling. Again, whatever the story's validity, the narrative approach provides insight into the corporate culture. Not merely are crucial points forgotten with a positivistic construction, but a "disinterested scientist" is unlikely to engage the reader very well.
During my internship, whilst hoping to better understand cultural distinctions, I interviewed a few of my co-workers to learn how they felt about the need to be secluded from the rest of the bank. I had been surprised to get a number of responses; some experienced it was unnecessary, while others were quite adamant. This plays to an benefit of narrative analysis; representing the company as encompassing a number of viewpoints that coexist as polyphony.
Phenomenology is a philosophical approach which aims to discover the connection between human awareness and the sociable environment. Developed in the early twentieth hundred years by Edmund Husserl, its presence is because the shortcomings of positivist mentality (Orleans, 2001). Husserl experienced the predominant approach at that time "precluded an enough apprehension of the world" (Husserl, 1931 in Orleans, 2001: pg. 1). The main issue is the fact positivists do not recognise the importance of the process of thought and the direct impact this has on one's environment, which is the essence of phenomenology. In an organisation (as in any other social environment), to be able to comprehend its way of life, we must first understand the attitude of its members. Understanding the individual and collective 'sphere of individual consciousness' allows an even of intimate understanding, far greater than would be possible with positivist technique. Unlike positivism and other clinical methods, phenomenology will not produce propositions that can be empirically tested. Real human consciousness and way of thinking is too intricate for quantitative analysis. Furthermore the transferability of conclusions from one interpersonal environment to some other is not possible. Organisational culture is a topic that can reap the benefits of this type of qualitative analysis. The concept of culture is in itself a human build. It is a distributed experience between people of a specific society. According to Connor (2000), when learning organisational culture it is important the researcher enters the field with no predetermined problems or hypotheses that require solving or trials. Such a positivist procedure can result in an "insufficient apprehension of the world" (or at least of the organisation). An interesting aspect of public behavior is that of good sense. This constitutes the actual 'norm' is in the organisation. Orleans (2001) claims, "good sense will serve as an ever present resource to make sure actors that the truth that is projected from human being subjectivity is an objective certainty" (pg. 4). Hence we find that through sense making an objective the truth is created. It is because the organisational public environment and its own culture are human constructs. A positivist way in defining 'common sense' would be improper. A positivist researcher would take the procedure of thought for granted, as subjectivity in not motivated. This might lead to a tainted view of the "life-world".
Upon starting my internship in Islamic banking during the summer, and entering the field, the most challenging aspect was the culture change (maybe even culture surprise) associated with being a american, non-Muslim working in Islamic bank. This became visible on my very first day, as i tried to create myself to a lady colleague with a handshake. What I did so not realise, was that her culture prohibited such physical connection with a stranger. Interestingly, their organisational culture was that of the religion, Islam. It governed their subjective thought techniques and established 'common sense', providing an objective social reality. The purpose of my project was to determine whether because of the cultural difference, if Islamic banking and conventional bank were appropriate (i. e. ability to exist under an individual corporate umbrella). EASILY were to have approached this study as a phenomenological researcher, I would be more considering the thought procedures of the employees. Therefore, I may seek to understand what the idea of "cultural difference" means to those working in Islamic Banking but for a Western organisation. The key theme of phenomenology is understanding how awareness of the home affects reality. That is important not limited to the associates of the modern culture (the things), also for the researcher. Introspection is necessary to find out any effects the researcher's existence may have on the social environment. Reflexivity is the principle facet of Watson's (1995) research. Watson provides us his subjective sense-making process involved with how to write his paper, by means of a dialogue with himself. In my own circumstance, as an outsider in Islamic Banking, it is possible my interpretation of the info can be incorrect, when i am attempting to analyse the situation through the familiar (european) zoom lens. As Levinas claims, "western ontology. . . is [the] reduction of the other to the categories of the same" (Levinas in Kearney, 1995: pg. 183).
Grounded theory, compared to scientific technique, is a slow style research system produced by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss. The basic process entails; coding the key details in a data collection, using 'theoretic sensitivity' to group codes into categories by looking for links, and formulating theories from these categories. The reason being, that if completed properly, the designed theory is 'grounded' in the info, and should flawlessly fit the dataset. Glaser and Strauss realised at the time, sociological practice relied exclusively on quantitative analysis. Goulding (1999) refers to the research of the time as "extreme empiricism" or "grand theory" (Mills, 1959). According to Glaser and Strauss, the result was that theory experienced limited empirical relevance, and grounded theory was their way to "shut this embarrassing difference between theory and empirical research" (Glaser and Strauss, 1967: pg. vii). Their main purpose was to derive theory from the info that can "provide predictions, explanations, interpretations and applications" (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, pg. 1). A positivistic quantitative approach to data derived theory is the ANOVA process. However ANOVA is a simplistic additive model that does not make clear the complexities of the way in which in which factors interact. Furthermore, unlike grounded theory, the ANOVA process will not necessarily take into account the complete dataset. Outlying data variables are deleted rather than accounted for in the theory. Though grounded theory (if performed appropriately) can better stand for the dataset than quantitative methods, corresponding to Strauss the theoretic development process determines the grade of the theory. Glaser and Strauss (1967), proposed that theory is never a finished product. Instead it is a 'work in improvement' that requires ongoing updating. Theoretic development as a sustaining notion is pertinent to organisational theory (e. g. culture). It is because an organisation is a 'work in progress' as well. Market conditions change, opponents come and go, and organisational culture must conform. Unlike positivistic strategy, a grounded theorist enters the field without preconceived hypotheses that need to be analyzed, resulting in a much better understanding of the organisation's true naturalistic situation (Douglas, 2003). Positivists such as Haig (1995) claim that making hypotheses prior to getting into the field is essential because a researcher must identify a specific question that needs to be explored. A grounded theorist can go into the field having an over-all reason for undertaking the precise research. This does require the formulation of hypotheses and hypothetical problems. In Jeffery's (1979) research 'Normal Rubbish', he identified the casualty office at the NHS experienced problems, and this it was an undesirable destination to work, before joining the field. Formulating hypotheses as to why this was the truth at this stage would not have been productive. Through doing qualitative research (interviews, participant observation, etc) Jefferey was able to identify links through the words utilized by doctors and staff (good patients, rubbish, etc). By implementing such an emergent theory development process, Jefferey discovered the culture that was from the casualty personnel at the NHS. Douglas (2003) discovered that when grounded theory is applied in the organisational context, "theory emerged from empathising the ways that respondents build their fact, their world" (pg. 53). That is, grounded theory permits understanding of the way the organisation views itself in the context of its environment. Through gratitude of the connections and functions of the company in its natural environment, its culture can be recognized.
Grounded theory is a complex process, which if satisfied, provides many benefits. Due to its advantages, many research workers claim to have totally undertaken the procedure, but few do (i. e. "cook the carrot for the entire nine hours"). While executing my research on the culture of Islamic bank I did so not use a grounded theory methodology credited to my insufficient experience and understanding. Vehicle Maanen (1979) emphasises the value of recognising the problems in their natural context. That is especially important regarding understanding organisational culture. By formulating a theory, without building preceding hypotheses and being simply 'grounded' in the data, we can appreciate the organisation's true characteristics.
Ethnography is a descriptive design of study on individuals society. In conditions of learning organisational culture (or any culture), ethnography is arguably the most relevant strategy that can be utilised. 'Ethno'-'graph' virtually means, 'culture'- 'writing'. Ethnography has its root base in colonialism, in the quest to learn about "the other" and their culture. It really is of little surprise that ethnography was developed outside the USA (Kenya, Samoa, Bali, Brazil) (Schwartzman, 1993: pg. 1). Ethnography is a reality-based research system which is located in the context of the subject's life. That is more effective than quantitative technique as the study is grounded in the respondent's natural setting, and does not require the participant to place themselves in hypothetical situations (such as when answering questionnaires). That is crucial as there can be a notable difference between what individuals do as opposed to what they state. Mariampolski (2005) points out that participant observation is an edge since a respondent's "do it yourself disclosure can be idealised, obscured and poorly recalled" (pg. 10). As such, ethnography provides an insight in to the organisation's social environment through understanding the respondents' connections with it. Positivistic methodology however, lacks proposal of the 'natural setting'. For example, by defining variables such as 'gender', 'expectations', and 'pay-level' of individuals, positivists can determine the level of correlation. Financial firms not helpful in explaining the public world as experienced by its sociable actors. We need to ask, 'what is this is behind the amounts'? Mariampolski (2005) highlights that ethnography is the "closest" a researcher can reach the respondent. Given this, she questions why it includes taken "over one hundred years" for qualitative research to be popular in organisations (such as marketing businesses performing consumer brand research). Like the studies of Glaser and Strauss (1967) and Edmund Husserl (1931), positivist mentality used to be the 'norm'. In such a world anything can be objectively identified and counted. This makes life easier for professionals, who need to stress about consumer targets and budget studies. However Mariampolski (2005) points out that the positivistic methodology is "a fantasy". "It fails to understand the complexities of individual behavior and fails as a predictive tool" (Mariampolski, 2005: pg. 13). Spradley (1979) defines culture as, "the received knowledge that folks use to interpret experience and generate sociable behavior" (pg. 5). In essence, it is several peoples' way of life, and can't be assessed through quantitative techniques. As stated earlier ethnography aims to comprehend "the other" inside our terms (i. e. 'by us, for us'). However auto-ethnography is an autobiographical style of writing, where in fact the researcher investigates a familiar culture for non-members of that society. The good thing about this would be that the reader will get a genuine accounts of a public environment by an associate of that culture. Hence the matter of misinterpreting data by "viewing it via a familiar zoom lens" is overcome. Positivist methodology does not benefit from such valuable information, as the researcher's role in minimised in the outcome of the study.
The research I compiled while doing my internship in Islamic bank was definitely of an ethnographic nature. I was the first non-Muslim to work for the reason that division at the lender, which made me feel as if I were back in the days of colonialism, leaving to learn about "the other" and their culture, so that I could bring my conclusions back again to the Western world and statement them (to my school). To be able to understand a contemporary society, getting into the field is necessary. For instance, prior to arriving in Dubai, one of the areas of Islamic banking I did so not understand was their dependence on segregation from all the functions of their own company. However upon joining the field, I found that relating to Shariah regulation (the Islamic law), the Islamic bank division of an company cannot have any affiliation with any conventional banking operations. Apart from having to be physically segregated, Islamic banking revenue and funds cannot be reported along with conventional banking earnings. Actually within the organisation, the Islamic bank division operated as an independent sub-organisation, which included its own name. As Mariampolski (2005) explains, ethnography is holistic for the reason that one needs to patch together the respondent's world, through utilising inner and outer-world elements that can only be identified upon coming into the field.
The colonial days of going to unchartered territories to analyze an unknown tribe of people in their local setting may be over. Today, organisations supply the perfect interpersonal environment. Corporate culture varies not only across nationwide boundaries but from organisation to organisation. Quantitative methods, though useful in understanding certain areas of organisational theory, is unable to explicate the "individuals dimension" of organisations. By using the stated qualitative research techniques, valuable information can be gained into many areas of an organisation, not merely culture. Which qualitative strategy to choose, depends on the nature of the analysis at hand. It has been shown that there is a definite profit (if not need) of using qualitative research in an organisational context.
This is because positivists are usually sceptical of qualitative methods and experience complex and quantitative training. The down sides of positivistic methodology in organisational research will be emphasised. The goal of this isn't to establish one is preferable to the other. But to justify the necessity for qualitative research, the shortcomings of positivistic, quantitative technique must be emphasised.
As a student of Corporate Strategy and Governance, I understand the importance of commercial culture. It is an organisation's individuality and has been detailed by some as its heart and soul. For the purpose of this research understanding an organisation's culture would be the focus of the justification of qualitative research in organisational studies. It is because quantitative research struggles to describe organisational culture. My desire for commercial culture also occurs because I've performed field research in the region before. In the summer of 2007, I applied for an internship in Islamic bank with a large English multinational bank or investment company in Dubai. Apart from gaining practical contact with the field, my major desire was to carry out research for a technique centered assignment I had been given for university. Like a westerner I had been getting excited about understanding the social distinctions between Islamic bank and conventional banking. Wherever appropriate, I try to relate my experience.
Word Matter: 3, 200
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