ORM Feature Topic: “Templates in Qualitative Research Methods”

Shared by Anne Smith

Background and Purpose

One of the core strengths of qualitative research methods is that there is muchvarietyamong different approaches, for example, with regard to the underlying epistemological and ontological traditions(Bansal, Smith, & Vaara, 2018, Gephart, 2004), the data and materials that can be analyzed (e.g., text, numbers, pictures, graphs, audio files, movies, objects, etc.), the content thatvis assessed (e.g., the discourse between people or in the media, team dynamics and processes, narratives of people’s life or experiences, etc.), or the way in which the data are treated and coded. In addition, qualitative research methods are flexible and adaptable. Qualitative research tradition norms encourage researchers to engage in bricolage and adapt the methodsto their respective research question, the sample, or the context in which they collect data (e.g., Denzin & Lincoln, 2017; Gehman et al. 2018; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Yin, 2017). This can entail adaptations in data collection procedures or differences in data analysis (e.g., the specific coding approach chosen). In that way, qualitative research methods represent a very powerful tool for researchers because the researcher can mold them to the needs of the data and the sample.

However, recent trendsin the field of management have been worrisome. One of the core concerns expressed by journal editors (e.g., Michael Pratt, Bill Harley, Bob Gephart, Mikko Ketokivi, Pratima Bansal, Wendy Smith, and Eero Vaara) is that the field seems to be coming to some form of convergence on a templatefor qualitative research. This means that there now seems to be an expectation of what qualitative research methods should look like, what they should entail, and how they should be written up. This greatly limits the power of qualitative research methodsfor discovery, exploration, and refinement.

Part of the underlying issues is that when it comes to qualitative research, many researchers and reviewers are unable to clearly articulate what rigor means, how it should be operationalized, and how trustworthiness in the application of the method can be established. Worse, many researchers seem to assume that rigor in qualitative research should follow the same definitions and operationalizationsas rigor in quantitative research to create trustworthiness of the findings and conclusions (e.g., Harley, 2015). The inability to define and understand rigor in qualitative research has led to a number of issues that need resolution. These include, among many others, the mechanistic application of templates for conducting qualitative research; the increasing role of qualitative researchers as glorified reporters of participant perceptions and experiences rather than interpreters and critical evaluators of underlying tensions, dynamics, and processes; the selection of quantifying qualitative data over delving deeply into the rich qualitative data; or the preference for certain qualitative methodologies and approaches over others without fully evaluating their respective merits and purposes. The time is ripe that we step back, reevaluate, and reset current trends regarding how the field applies qualitative research methods.


The goal of the current feature topic is to stimulate conversationamong management researchersaboutthese contemporary trends and tensionsand elicit thoughts about ways forward, away from template convergence and toward a diversity of approaches. We want to demonstrate how many of the challenges that qualitative researchers face on a day-to-day basis can be reframed and integrated into overarching developments in qualitative researchin particular and our field’s approach to scientific inquiry more generally. In this feature topic, we want authors to discuss issues regarding standardization and rationalization trends as they relate to formalized research design. In addition, in the feature topic, we want to (a) highlight and celebrate the diversity and flexibility of qualitative research methods(e.g., ethnography, grounded theory, case studies, and discourse analysis) for application to a broad spectrum of management topics and (b) discuss recent advances and developments with regard to these commonly used qualitative methods. This involveshighlighting traditions for different methods, introducing new developments for each methodology to showcase the diversity and utility of these approaches, and providing guidance for the application of these methods. We would also like to see discussions of differences in discipline conventions; for example, are there different conventions in the way that a particular methodology (e.g., case analysis) is used in operations management versus organizational behavior versus entrepreneurship versus international business? To explore this question, we invite researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, research topics, and educational backgrounds as well as diverse qualitative method expertise.


The feature topic will contain papers by invitation and papers by submissionto this open call for papers. The invited papers currently cover topics related to: existing author motivations to use templates; how do templates develop and how are they maintained; relationship between templates, rigor, scientific reasoning, and the unintended (negative) consequences for theorizing and scientific advancement; and devising scientific, rigorous, and innovative approaches to qualitative research that improve transparency and theoretical development.

Authors interested in submitting a contribution to this open call for papers are thus encouraged to choose topics other than the ones already covered by the invited papers. Open topics include but are not limited to the following questions: Are these trends toward convergence in qualitative research creeping, or do they have a strong foothold in other disciplines? Has there been pushback against this convergence, and if so, how? Is the move to templates driven by stage of career, doctoral training, country of origin, and so on?

Interested authors are advised to keep the length of their submissions to 30 pages (double spaced), including references, tables, and figures, and follow ORM’s general formatting guidelines.

Submission deadline: April 30, 2019
Projected publication date: Late 2020 or early 2021

Please contact Tine Köhler with any questions regarding this feature topic. Email: tkoehler@unimelb.edu.au


Bansal, P., Smith, W. K., & Vaara, E. (2018). New ways of seeing through qualitative research. Academy of
Management Journal, 61(4), 1189-1195.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2017). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage Publications.
Gehman, J., Glaser, V. L., Eisenhardt, K. M., Gioia, D., Langley, A., & Corley, K. G. (2017). Finding theorymethod
fit: A comparison of three qualitative approaches to theory building. Journal of Management
Inquiry, 27(3), 284-300.
Gephart, R. P., Jr. (2004). Qualitative research and the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of
Management Journal, 47(4), 454-462.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative theory. New
Brunswick, NJ: Aldine Transaction.
Harley, B. (2015). The one best way? “Scientific” research on HRM and the threat to critical scholarship.
Human Resource Management Journal, 25(4), 399-407.
Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

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SAP Fall Newsletter: Out Now

Newsletter_Oct_2018_ScShThe latest SAP Newsletter shares exciting news and reflections on activities of the SAP Interest Group, including:

  • An overview of the current executive leadership of the SAP Interest Group
  • Preparations for AOM 2019: Call for Papers and PDW Proposals
  • The technological transition from the Listserv and Website to Connect@AOM
  • Reflections on AOM 2018 and EGOS 2018
  • An overview of recent SAP publications
  • Conferences, workshops, and events in 2019: Calls for Submissions
  • Global insights from the SAP Community in Columbia
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EGOS Sub-theme on “Strategizing for Grand Challenges”

0x338FB1BFBEE26FDC630303A3F97E7A05.jpeg“Enlightening the future”––the overarching theme of EGOS 2019 in Edinburgh could not be any more open for a deeper engagement with the “grand challenges” of contemporary societies. Are these challenges a matter of economists and sociologists? Of course, they are. At the same time, however, strategy and organization scholars can also contribute a lot to explaining how these challenges are, or can be tackled. Sub-theme 19 on “Strategizing for Grand Challenges”––co-convened by Katharina Dittrich, Paula Jarzabkowski, and Jane Lê––invites scholars to explore the strategic and organizational practices through which grand challenges are addressed.

Some of the questions that could be explored within the scope of this sub-theme are:

  • How do organizations and their managers share and generate new strategic practices to address grand challenges?
  • How do organizations and their managers work strategically to address grand challenges?
  • How do organizations and their managers work across organizations to enable inter-organizational strategizing for grand challenges?
  • How does inter-organizational strategizing for grand challenges link to intra-organizational strategizing?
  • How do people and organizations assign strategic importance to such issues?
  • What are the implications of the magnitude and scope of these issues for strategizing?
  • What are potential problems and implications of broader strategizing processes?
  • How do market and non-market strategies of companies link?
  • What methodological innovations enable practice-based research on grand challenges? What can be gained from using these methods?

In addition to the regular paper program, the sub-theme will host keynote speeches by Charlotte Cloutier, Jennifer Howard-Grenville, and David Seidl.

The deadline for short papers is January 14, 2018. For more information on the sub-theme, click here.

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Job Opening at Drexel University: Tenure-Track Assistant Professorship in Strategy and Technology Innovation Management

LeBowThe LeBow College of Business of Drexel University is hiring a tenure-track assistant professor in strategy and technology innovation management, starting in fall 2019 (read more). The Department of Management

has a strong preference for seasoned Assistant with strong publications record and research pipeline. The Department expects faculty research leading to publications in top tier journals thereby actively contributing to its research mission. Salary, teaching loads, and other types of research support are competitive with other research universities.

Read more here for further information on expected qualifications, the strategy group at Drexel, etc.

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Strategy (as) Practice at SMS 2018 in Paris: An Overview

040AA390-7F42-47C1-B3B1-3937C5B3DB73The SMS Annual International Conference is one of the hotbeds where scholars discuss current trends in strategy research and practice, and share their thoughts and ideas about how strategy-making is done. Scholars and practitioners interested in strategy-making practices can count on an interest group called “Strategy Practice” that holds the same status as other strong groups of strategy scholars at the Strategic Management Society”, such as Strategy Process, Behavioral Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, etc.

At this year’s SMS, which will take place from September 22 to 25 in Paris, the Strategy Practice IG will provide an exciting program.

Continue reading

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Panel on Open Strategy at SMS 2018 in Paris

040AA390-7F42-47C1-B3B1-3937C5B3DB73Open strategy has become a key topic for scholars interested in strategy process and practice. Accordingly, Julia Hautz will host a panel on “Open Strategy: Current Status and Future Prospects for Research and Practice” at this year’s SMS Annual International Conference in Paris (read more here). Specifically,

this panel session provides collective insights from a diverse panel of distinguished scholars and experienced practitioners operating at the forefront of these fields. Leading senior researchers will highlight current papers, discuss the state-of-the-field and propose new research directions, opportunities and challenges related to Open Strategy research. A practitioner will share his expertise and experience in cutting edge Open Strategy design from sessions held around the world. The panel will propose key research questions and opportunities for practice in the field of Open Strategy with time allocated for Q&A.

The following panelists will share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences during the session:

  • Loizos Heracleous (University of Warwick)
  • Kurt Matzler (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
  • Luciano Oviedo (Intel)
  • Christian Stadler (University of Warwick)
  • Richard Whittington (University of Oxford)

The panel session will take place on Sunday, September 23, from 8 am to 9.15 am — no pre-registration required.

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EGOS 2019 CfP: »Open Organizing for an Open Society?«

For the third time after Athens 2015 and Copenhagen 2017, Leonhard Dobusch, Georg von Krogh and Richard Whittington call for submissions to an EGOS sub-theme on organizational openness. After a focus on “open strategy” in 2017, the call for short papers of the 2019 sub-theme wants to connect research on open organizing across domains:

While there is growing reference to notions of openness across domains, these are largely disconnected from each other, show few signs of convergence and lack theoretical reference between domains. This fragmentation is even more marked when considering related notions such as organizational fluidity (Dobusch & Schoenborn, 2015), liquidity (Kociatkiewicz & Kostera, 2014), boundlessness (Ashkenas et al., 2002) and partiality (Ahrne & Brunsson, 2011). Alongside these notions, advanced societies appear also to be seeing the emergence of more open organizational forms such as crowds (Felin et al., 2014), communities (Faraj et al., 2016), ecosystems (Baldwin, 2012) or meta-organizations (Gulati et al., 2012). A central objective of the proposed sub-theme will be to bring together discussions of various forms of open organizing in order to explore possible commonalities and significant distinctions, and to develop means for more connected theorizing across domains and dimensions.

Check out the full call for papers at the EGOS website. Deadline for submissions is January 14, 2019.

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Workshop on Multi-level Theorizing of Institutions and Organizations at UQ Business School, 5-6 November, 2018

Bildschirmfoto 2017-06-30 um 13.15.59Scholars interested in institutional theory and/or multi-level studies organization research may be inclined to participate in a workshop on “Reinvigorating Multi-level Theorizing of Institutions and Organizations”, which is convened by Paul Spee and April Wright. This two-day workshop will take place on November 5-6, 2018, at the University of Queensland Business School. Participants can count on valuable feedback on their work by the convenors, but also the keynote speakers: Charlene Zietsma (Penn State Smeal College of Business & UTS) and Paula Jarzabkowski (CASS Business School & UQ Business School).

Participation is free of charge. For more information on the content of the workshop and the registration procedure, click here.

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SAP at AOM 2018: An Overview of the Program

2018 Theme

Thanks to a host of excellent submissions, the program committee of the SAP Interest Group was able to compose an exciting program at this year’s AOM in Chicago. The SAP program can be found here. We hope to see you around in some of the IG’s sessions!

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SAP Distinguished Keynote: Professor Ted Schatzki (on Mon,1.15 pm, at Swissôtel Chicago in Zurich E,F)

Dear SAP friends and colleagues,

please join this year’s distinguished keynote, which will be given by Ted Schatzki and discussed by Paula Jarzabkowski. The distinguished keynote will take place on Monday, Aug 13 2018 1:15PM – 2:45PM at Swissôtel Chicago in Zurich E,F. We hope to see many of you there!



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