On the Rhetoric of Qualitative Methods: Toward Historically Informed Argumentation in Management Inquiry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Qualitative research is becoming increasingly prominent in management. Such research is commonly contrasted with so-called positivist research, which is described as not only (a) being the same thing as quantitative methods but also (b) being deterministic, (c) involving the search for real causes, (d) adopting a realist ontology, (e) engaging in reification, (f) being functionalist, or (g) being objectivist. This article uses a qualitative method (i.e., historical method) to show that, qualitative research rhetoric notwithstanding, all seven of the characteristics that supposedly identify research in management as positivist are actually mischaracterizations (or caricatures) of any research in management that would be properly described as postivist. Because the rhetoric justifying qualitative methods is, therefore, intellectually impoverished, management scholars are urged to recognize the complementarity of qualitative and quantitative methods, recognize our responsibility for producing trustworthy knowledge, declare a truce or rhetorical “ceasefire” and move on to a more historically informed discourse on methodology in management inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1994

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'On the Rhetoric of Qualitative Methods: Toward Historically Informed Argumentation in Management Inquiry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this