Research Methods and Organization Studies

Research Methods and Organization Studies

Research Methods and Organization Studies

Research Methods and Organization Studies

Synopsis

Designed for those who study organizations and the people within them, this valuable source book of research contains analysis and discussion of research methods (both quantitative and qualitative), in terms of their uses and limitations.

Excerpt

The field that is variously called ‘organization studies’, ‘organizational behaviour’ and even ‘organizational science’ has grown enormously since the late 1950s from a field comprising a small number of scholars, working on topics deriving from their particular disciplinary backgrounds (mostly psychology and sociology), to a major interdisciplinary subject in its own right with its own journals and professional associations. In spite of this massive growth and the strong emphasis among the field’s practitioners on empirical knowledge about organizations, with one or two exceptions, textbooks concerned specifically with organizational research have been conspicuous by their absence. The student has been forced, by and large, to rely on textbooks concerned with research methods in the fields of psychology and sociology and to translate these discussions to the organizational context. This tendency is particularly surprising since management and business students, many of whom choose topics deriving from organization studies, invariably have to carry out projects for their degrees. This book has grown out of a belief that a research methods textbook tailored to the particular needs of students of organizations is needed. It has been written with a view to providing a critical approach to the various research strategies discussed in the book. This approach is necessary in order both to provide students with a critical understanding of the research that they read in their courses, so that findings are not treated simply as ‘facts’, and to instil a critical approach to the research strategies that they might employ in their own investigations, so that informed choices can be made. Also, there has been a burgeoning in recent years of discussions of various methodological issues within the specific context of doing research in organizations, so that an aim of this book is to synthesize some of this work.

I have been particularly concerned to meet the needs of students doing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in management and business. Accordingly, I have tended to emphasize examples of research deriving from industrial, commercial settings. It has not always been possible to provide this slant, but this is not a handicap, since it should be recognized that organizational research is undertaken in a host of milieux. Moreover, I feel that the book will be relevant for many courses on research methods in psychology and sociology degrees . . .

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