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How can writing qualitative research help us ask better questions?. Martha S. Feldman University of California, Irvine. Qualitative research as a way of disrupting/questioning assumptions. Some famous assumptions disrupted by qualitative research

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how can writing qualitative research help us ask better questions

How can writing qualitative research help us ask better questions?

Martha S. Feldman

University of California, Irvine

qualitative research as a way of disrupting questioning assumptions
Qualitative research as a way of disrupting/questioning assumptions
  • Some famous assumptions disrupted by qualitative research
    • Hawthorne experiments: human interaction not important to productivity
    • Trist and Bamforth: specialization increases productivity
    • Goffman: self is independent of situation
    • Garfinkel: norms not created in context
    • March et.al: decision-making as linear
    • Lave: cognitive ability can be measured independent of context in practice
    • Martin: culture as shared
some recent research disrupting assumptions
Some recent research disrupting assumptions
  • Anteby: Organizational control can be consistent with enhanced worker identity
  • Bechky: Temporary organizations are neither ephemeral nor unstable
  • Feldman: Routines not unitary, have internal dynamics (that matter)
  • Locke: Doubt is a good thing
  • Michel: Amplifying uncertainty can increase organizational knowledge
  • Perlow: Working less time can increase productivity
  • Worline: Courage as a set of actions rather than a trait of individuals
  • Weeks: Organizational culture cannot separate itself from popular culture
criteria weick 1989
Criteria (Weick, 1989)
  • That’s interesting (assumption of moderate strength is disconfirmed)
  • That’s absurd (strong assumption is disconfirmed)
  • That’s irrelevant (no assumption is activated)
  • That’s obvious (strong assumption is confirmed)
getting to that s interesting my story
Getting to “that’s interesting” My story
  • No consensus (not everyone agrees that work is interesting)
  • Didn’t start out “interesting” (initial focus was on mechanisms of stability)
  • Moving to interesting required interaction between experiences, self and ideas (Locke, Golden-Biddle and Feldman, 2008)
  • Abductive process: Involves doubt/questioning
    • About meaning of experiences
    • About relevant ideas
    • About self and identity
the process
The process
  • Abduction – theorizing through disciplined guessing
    • Pragmatic inquiry: the transactional conjunction

of experience, self and ideas

    • Doubt: questioning nature and content of experience, self and ideas
    • Relationships enable doubt

Ideas

Self

Experience

experiences
Experiences
  • Experience is deeper than it appears in published papers
  • Experience presented through illustrative examples, vignettes, narratives
    • Experience engaged in many ways
      • Mulling over many specific observations
      • Writing observations into vignettes, etc.
      • Analyzing observation/vignette in relation to emergent ideas (also a writing process)
    • Summarized for publication
experience and doubt
Experience and doubt
  • What do you doubt?
    • Is this interesting? (Too much time spent here.)
    • Why is this interesting? (Why do I keep coming back to this?)
    • How is it understood? (Source of both useful and distracting information)
      • By informants?
      • By you?
  • Example:
    • LLD as a Hilton experience (schema)
    • Vignettes describing routines and paradoxes (both/and; either/or)
    • Narratives of subroutines in recruitment (actions and time)
ideas
Ideas
  • Ideas emerge through interaction with experiences
    • What does current set of ideas help explain and leave unexplained?
    • How can the unexplained be explained?
  • What is being explained (experiences) changes through interaction
  • Examples:
    • Experience to ideas: Routines that change required moving from routine as entity to routine as process
    • Ideas to experience: Practice theory encouraged focus on agency in addition to traditional structural focus
slide10
Self
  • Self changes in interaction with ideas and experiences
  • Example:
    • Reluctance to focus on change
      • Previous research led to questions about stability: Order without design
      • I believe stability is important
        • Disciplinary background in political science and political theory – how is order possible?
        • Theoretical background in phenomenology – how do we make order out of the sea of phenomena?
self and doubt
Self and doubt
  • Outsider status
    • Faculty position in Political Science Dept. and Public Policy School
    • Routines often studied by economists
  • Social support
    • Women academics at UM interested in organizations
  • Need to publish
    • Associate needed to come up for full
summary
Summary
  • Experiences, ideas and self all move in relation to one another
  • Making any one of these static tends to make it difficult to
    • engage doubt,
    • make doubt generative
    • find “that’s interesting”
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