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Insights From the Application of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in Management Research

aUniversity of Otago, New Zealand

Methods to Improve Our Field

ISBN: 978-1-80455-365-7, eISBN: 978-1-80455-364-0

Publication date: 18 January 2023


Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) offers management researchers an approach which allows deep examination of the relationship between individuals and their environments, particularly in complex social situations. Phenomenology studies phenomena, or things and events, as they are perceived by people's consciousness. Interpretivism allows researchers to access such internal awareness of research participants by attempting to understand the words used by subjects to describe their experiences and perceptions. Inherently subjective, this approach requires self-awareness by the researcher and the willingness to abandon preconceived notions in favor of interactive listening and exploration, relying on terms and concepts volunteered by participants rather than nominated by theory or preceding literature. Qualitative text analysis software can be utilized to facilitate aggregation and distillation of the voluminous narratives that result from the open-ended semi-structured interviews typically employed to collect data for IPA. However, impartiality and discernment on the part of the researcher remain essential in interpreting any automated analytical results. The researcher becomes in essence a second-hand observer, peering through windows voluntarily opened by participants, attempting to understand their understanding of their world.

This chapter introduces IPA, providing an overview of its rationale and approach, and illustrates its application in a management-related setting, focusing on cultural adaptation of immigrant professionals.



Taylor, Y., Edgar, F. and Everett, A.M. (2023), "Insights From the Application of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in Management Research", Hill, A.D., McKenny, A.F., O'Kane, P. and Paroutis, S. (Ed.) Methods to Improve Our Field (Research Methodology in Strategy and Management, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 23-42.



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