Kathyrn Haynes slides - British Academy of Management

The British Academy
of Management
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Methodology Special Interest
Group’s 9th Annual Teaching Research Methods
to Business and
Management Students Workshop 25th March 2014
Voice, representation and reflexivity
in qualitative research
Kathryn Haynes
Student research projects
• “What is your motivation for this research?” –
UG dissertation proposal.
– Do-able
– Interesting
– Availability of data
– Career aspirations
• PhD students
– Often related to experience
The to
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Methods and research question
SenseOral history
Visual methods
Voice and representation
• Voice of researcher?
• Voice of participants?
• How to represent the researcher’s self in the
• How to represent the participants in the
• How do these influence each other?
Experimentation with voice and
• How do you write yourself into research?
– Readings:
– Autoethnography (Haynes, 2011; Learmonth &
Humphreys 2012) – vignettes, ‘fictive’ accounts
– Watson (2000) ‘Ethnographic fiction science’ –
composites, characters, dialogues
– Visual images
– Poems (e.g. Spry 2001)
The nature of autoethnographical research
• Autoethnography - genre of reflexive autobiographical writing
which connects the personal to the cultural by analysing the
self within a social context (Reed-Danahay, 1997)
• Positioning the researcher as source of reflexive intellectual
• Encapsulates a personal, intuitive knowledge, deriving from a
knowing subject situated in a specific social context
• Allows dialogical inquiry of both the self as other and the self
in relation to theory
Spry, Tami. "Performing Autoethnography: An embodied
methodological praxis", Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 7, No. 6, 2001,
pp. 706 - 732.
Being here and being there:
“There is danger here in this world,
The Academy,
as it conferences in the gilded plastic of the luxury hotel;
And in spite of myself,
my shadow selves
can still be seduced
by its empty opulence,
even when it feels like
an unkind, disembodied, scriptocentric, technocratic
of knowledge”.
• Awareness of the researcher’s role in the practice of research,
process and outcomes of research.
• Awareness that the researcher and the object of study affect
each other mutually and continually in the research process
(Alvesson and Skoldburg, 2000)
• Researcher reflexivity involves thinking about how our
thinking came to be, how pre-existing understanding is
constantly revised in the light of new understandings, and
how this in turn affects our research.
Going beyond reflection
• Reflection suggests a mirror image which affords the
opportunity to engage in an observation or examination of
our ways of doing, or observing our own practice, whereas
reflexivity is more complex, involving thinking about our
experiences and questioning our ways of doing (Hibbert,
Coupland and MacIntosh,2010).
• Alvesson and Skoldburg (2000) suggest there are two key
elements embedded within reflexive research – interpretation
and reflection. The interpretive element recognises that
interpretation is not just based on a simple analysis of facts or
data, which reflects some kind of ‘reality’; instead it is aware
that interpretation is influenced by the assumptions of the
researcher doing the research, their values, political position,
use of language.
Reflexive interactions
Production of
Involvement and
impact of knowledge
producer (ontology)
Processes of
knowledge production
Doing reflexive research
• Interpretations and theoretical assumptions of
the researcher are not neutral but are part of
and help to construct perceptions of reality
• Critical reflection, concerning issues of a
researcher’s assumptions, interpretations and
interactions are essential for practical
• Reflexivity is an essential part of the research
Reflexivity in practice
• What is the motivation for undertaking this
• What underlying assumptions I am bringing to
• How am I connected to the research,
theoretically, experientially, emotionally?
• What effect will this have on my approach?
Strategies for reflexive awareness
• Write down theoretical assumptions and presuppositions
about the subject of the research and revisit these throughout
the research process, noting how they may have shifted
• Consider if or how this has revised the research question,
focus or findings
• Keep a research diary noting down thoughts and feelings
about the research process
• Keep fieldwork notes of observations, interactions, incidents,
conversations, emotions and responses
• Listen to tape recordings, or watch video clips, of your
qualitative data gathering noting how your presence or
interaction as the researcher affected the process
• Discuss and evaluate responses to the research subject,
Multiple levels of reflexivity theoretical
• Theoretical - our theoretical assumptions and
understandings will be revised by the new
understandings gained during the process of
research, which then go on to inform new
theoretical knowledge. This is what has been
termed a ‘double hermeneutic’ or the
interpretation of interpreting subjects
(Giddens, 1976 cited in Alvesson & Skoldburg,
2000, p. 247).
Methodological reflexivity
• Methodological position and detailed
methods may be revised as researchers
engage reflexively with the research process.
By considering the effectiveness, conduct and
process of data collection, researchers may
reinterpret and revise their methodological
position to take account of such issues as
ethics, power relations, or use of language.
Ontological reflexivity
• All of us as researchers have our own ontological
position, comprising our perception of the nature of
reality, our sense of reality, or the way we see the
world. A reflexive research approach engages with
our ontological position, our values and choices. As
Calás & Smircich (1999, p. 664) argue:
“Whether we are involved in ethnography, or heavy statistics research,
whether we are writing about institutional theory, population ecology,
organizational justice corporate mergers – whatever, no matter what topic or
area or what methods we use – we are all… picking and choosing to pay
attention and ignore … excluding, including, concealing, favoring some
people, some topics, some questions, some forms of representation, some
values. Can we do our writing in a way that is ‘self-conscious’ of our
Emotional reflexivity
• Emotion is also a valuable source of reflexive insight
(researcher and participant)
• The emotionalization of reflexivity refers to the
process whereby individuals are increasingly drawing
on emotions in assessing themselves and their lives,
recognising that emotions are crucial to how the
social is reproduced and endured within a complex
social world
• Recognises the strong relationship between the
process of research and the resultant product
Cultural, social, political reflexivity
• Reflexivity is also about understanding the
relationship between individual practice and
social structure, recognising the part that
selves play in constructing social structures as
well as being mediated by them
• The very cultural, social and political discourse
of the subject being researched, could affect
the way that the researcher treats and
analyses the data derived on that subject
Subjective reflexivity
• Researcher may effectively be both subject and object of the
• We may experience the tension of working between the
dualities of public social knowledge and private lived
• How to maintain a reflexive awareness of our shifting sense of
self as both subject and object of the research, of belonging
to the research and being outside it?
• Is distinction between subject and object meaningful, given
that it can be argued reality is constructed inter-subjectively
through the process of research and does not represent some
pre-defined existing reality or ‘truth’.
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Some recent methodological work
• Haynes, K. (2006), "Linking Narrative and Identity Construction: Using
Autobiography in Accounting Research", Critical Perspectives on
Accounting, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 399 - 418.
• Haynes K (2010) Other Lives in Accounting: Critical Reflections on Oral
History Methodology in Action. Critical Perspectives on Accounting 21(3):
221 - 231.
• Haynes K (2011) Tensions in (re)presenting the self in reflexive
autoethnographical research. Qualitative Research in Organizations and
Management 6(2): 134 - 149.
• Haynes K (2012) Reflexivity. In: Cassell C and Symon G (eds) The Practice of
Qualitative Organizational Research: Core Methods and Current
Challenges. London: Sage.
• Haynes K (2013) Sexuality and sexual symbolism as processes of gendered
identity formation: An autoethnography of an accounting firm.
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 26(3): 374 - 398.
Further references 1
Alvesson M and Skoldburg K (2000) Reflexive Methodology. London: Sage.
Brown, A. D. (2006), "A Narrative Approach to Collective Identities", Journal of
Management Studies, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 731 - 753.
Calas M and Smircich L (1999) Past Postmodernism? Reflections and Tentative
Directions. Academy of Management Review 24(4): 649 - 671.
Cohen, L., Duberley, J. and Musson, G. (2009), "Work-Life Balance?: An
Autoethnographic Exploration of Everyday Home—Work Dynamics ", Journal of
Management Inquiry, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 229-241.
Cunliffe, A. and Coupland, C. (2012), "From hero to villain to hero: Making
experience sensible through embodied narrative sensemaking ", Human Relations,
Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 63 - 88.
Cunliffe, A. L. (2010) Why complicate a done deal? Bringing reflexivity into
management research. In C. Cassell & B. Lee (Eds.) Management Research:
Challenges and Controversies. London: Routledge (pp. 404-418).
Cunliffe A (2003) Reflexive Inquiry in Organizational Research: Questions and
Possibilities. Human Relations 56(8): 983
24 - 1003
Further references 2
Doloriert, C. and Sambrook, S. (2009), "Ethical confessions of the "I" of
autoethnography: the student's dilemma", Qualitative Research in Organizations
and Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 27 - 45.
Hibbert P, Coupland C and MacIntosh R (2010) Reflexivity: recursion and
relationality in organizational research processes. Qualitative Research in
Organizations and Management: An International Journal 5(1): 47 - 62.
Johnson P and Duberley J (2003) Reflexivity in Management Research. Journal of
Management Studies 40(5): 1279 - 1303.
Learmonth, M. and Humphreys, M. (2012), "Autoethnography and academic
identity: glimpsing business school doppelgangers", Organization, Vol. 19 No. 1,
pp. 99-117.
Spry T (2001) Performing Autoethnography: An embodied methodological praxis.
Qualitative Inquiry 7(6): 706 - 732.
Watson, T. J. (2000), "Ethnographic Fiction Science: Making Sense of Managerial
Work and Organizational Research Processes with Caroline and Terry",

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