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Subjective personal introspection in action‐oriented research

Michel Rod (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 10 May 2011




The purpose of this paper is to describe the rationale and use of subjective personal introspection (SPI) as a methodological approach.


SPI was utilised to develop a “narrative” of the author's own “action‐oriented” research experience within a multisector collaborative venture established by 13 partner organisations representing the academic, pharmaceutical industry and government sectors. The “confessional” stance that the study assumes describes some of the perceived tensions enacted during field work. The SPI approach is theoretical and reflective, as well as descriptive and analytical, in reporting the antecedents, actions, and outcomes in action‐oriented research.


Because the focus of the paper is subjective, personal, and introspective, it does not illustrate “findings” about multisector collaboration, but rather reflections and insights about the way the research was conducted.

Practical implications

The paper widens the forum for incorporating SPI beyond the consumer behaviour context to the context in which action‐oriented researchers incorporate introspection in their study of organisations.


The paper goes some way to bridging the gap between SPI and reflexivity (if there is indeed a gap) and it causes qualitative, action‐oriented organisational researchers to contemplate a number of questions: what is the role of the researcher; what is the source of their authority to narrate and what are they authorised to recount; and what are the consequences of this?



Rod, M. (2011), "Subjective personal introspection in action‐oriented research", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 6-25.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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