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Evaluating qualitative management research: towards a contingent criteriology

Johnson, Phil and Buehring, Anna and Cassell, Catherine and Symon, Gillian (2006) Evaluating qualitative management research: towards a contingent criteriology. International journal of management reviews, 8 (3). pp. 131-156. ISSN 1460-8545

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Abstract

The term qualitative management research embraces an array of non-statistical research practices. Here it is argued that this diversity is an outcome of competing philosophical assumptions which produce distinctive research perspectives and legitimate the appropriation of different sets of evaluation criteria. Some confusion can arise when evaluation criteria constituted by particular philosophical conventions are universally applied to this heterogeneous management field. In order to avoid such misappropriation, this paper presents a first step towards a contingent criteriology located in a metatheoretical analysis of three modes of qualitative management research which are compared with the positivist mainstream to elaborate different forms of evaluation. It is argued that once armed with criteria that vary accordingly, evaluation can reflexively focus upon the extent to which any management research consistently embraces the particular methodological principles that are sanctioned by its a priori philosophical commitments.

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