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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2019

Jessica L. Darby, Brian S. Fugate and Jeff B. Murray

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest…

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4274

Abstract

Purpose

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest the use of multiple methods within the positivism paradigm, which dominates the discipline and may constrain the ability to develop middle-range theory and propose workable solutions to today’s supply chain challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods.

Design/methodology/approach

This research conceptually illustrates how positivist and interpretive philosophies translate into different research approaches by reviewing an extant positivist qualitative study that uses grounded theory and then detailing how an interpretive researcher would approach the same phenomenon using the hermeneutic method.

Findings

This research expands the boundaries and impact of the field by broadening the set of questions research can address. It contributes a detailed illustration of the interpretive research process, as well as applications for the interpretive approach in future research, particularly theory elaboration, middle-range theorizing, and emerging domains such as the farm-to-fork supply chain and the consumer-based supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The development of alternative ways of seeking knowledge enhances the potential for creativity, expansion, and progress in the field.

Practical implications

Practical implications of this research include enabling researchers to elaborate theory and develop middle-range theories through an alternative philosophical paradigm. This paradigm facilitates practical insights that are directly relevant to particular domains and move beyond general theories seeking generalizability.

Social implications

Social implications of this research are much more indirect in nature. This research encourages supply chain management (SCM) scholars to look at phenomena (including those with social implications) from a different philosophical perspective, which can reveal new insights.

Originality/value

This research contributes a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods and also contributes a methodological operationalization of the interpretive approach. By reflecting on the nature of science and method in SCM, the study opens the door for creativity and progress to expand the boundaries and impact of the field.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2011

Jane Broadbent and Jeffrey Unerman

One of the most important considerations in any research project is a compelling research question, the addressing of which will produce socially and/or economically…

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1016

Abstract

Purpose

One of the most important considerations in any research project is a compelling research question, the addressing of which will produce socially and/or economically relevant and beneficial insights based on high‐quality evidence. The purpose of this paper is to explain that each possible research question requires use of the particular research methods that will produce the high‐quality evidence relevant to that question, with the nature of the evidence and the methods required varying from research question to research question.

Design/methodology/approach

This discussion paper explores and explains the role and function of interpretive accounting research advocates its adoption.

Findings

As the research method needs to be suited to the research question, any restriction imposed on the credible research methods that are considered acceptable severely limits the ability of the accounting academy to serve the needs of society and the economy by addressing the broadest possible range of research questions. From this perspective it is vital for academics to recognize that both positivist/quantitative and interpretive/qualitative methods produce high‐quality credible research evidence.

Research limitations/implications

Any preconceptions within a nation's accounting academy over the unacceptability of either positivist or interpretive research will damage the health and relevance of that academy in the longer term.

Originality/value

The paper argues that both positivist and interpretivist research are needed, drawing on notions of subjectivity, objectivity and inter‐subjectivity in the context of the social construction of both accounting information and research data, and in the context of the socially constructing nature of research evidence.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 19 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1022-2529

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2011

Elizabeth Ben-Ishai

I explore Bevir’s approach to interpretive social science and its implications for his study of governance. I make two arguments: one methodological and one substantive…

Abstract

I explore Bevir’s approach to interpretive social science and its implications for his study of governance. I make two arguments: one methodological and one substantive. First, I argue that we should think of the philosophy of interpretive social science as necessarily tied to some chosen method of recovering knowledge, be it local or expert knowledge. Without such a recovery of knowledge, interpretive analysis of local reasoning is impossible. Second, I argue that the recovery of not only expert knowledge - Bevir's primary focus - but also the local knowledge of citizens who are affected by these reforms, ought to play a central role in our understanding of governance.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Ivo de Loo and Alan Lowe

The starting point for this paper is that the researcher is intimately bound up in all aspects of the research process. This idea of what is a critical aspect of much…

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1582

Abstract

Purpose

The starting point for this paper is that the researcher is intimately bound up in all aspects of the research process. This idea of what is a critical aspect of much interpretive methodology has been challenged by some proponents of the interpretive accounting research (IAR) project. The authors suggest that adopting some of the views expounded in the IAR project may lead to the accounting research community becoming isolated from other interpretive methodology inspired disciplines. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Currently popular views on IAR are informed by selective theoretical insights from interpretive sociology. The authors argue that these insights cannot provide a general frame with which to encapsulate accounting research that may be reasonably termed “interpretive.”

Findings

The authors’ reading of the literature suggests that the some of the IAR literature exhibits: a tendency to routinely make overly specific claims for what it is possible for interpretive research to achieve; the promotion of a somewhat reductionist view of what the bounds of interpretive research are. The authors suggest that these tendencies detract from the strengths of (adopting a broad view of) IAR.

Research limitations/implications

In expressing the authors’ concerns, the authors do not wish to make an exclusive argument for what IAR is and is not. This would not be in line with writing an interpretive paper. While the authors do not eschew the possibility of a limited building of knowledge by applying interpretive methodological stances neither do the authors see such activity as a central plank of interpretive research.

Practical implications

The authors believe that positivistic commentaries on qualitative enquiry should not be taken as exemplary of interpretive research (in accounting – or elsewhere). The authors feel that IAR needs to be more open to an array of subjectivist motivations, if it is to provide useful critique of the nature of day-to-day accounting practice.

Originality/value

The authors seek to go beyond the rather unhelpful debate about whether IAR should be seen to possess both objective and subjective elements. The authors argue that IAR suffers more from a lack of engagement and debate than it faces dangers from areas of interpretive methodology that adopt positions considered to be too subjectivist.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Ali M. Elharidy, Brian Nicholson and Robert W. Scapens

The aim of this paper is to assess and explain the role of grounded theory (GT) in interpretive management accounting research (IMAR) and seeks to answer the question: can…

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3689

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to assess and explain the role of grounded theory (GT) in interpretive management accounting research (IMAR) and seeks to answer the question: can interpretive researchers use GT? And if so, how?

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper that attempts to investigate how researchers can use GT in relation to their ontological stance, methodological position and research methods.

Findings

The paper suggests that GT offers a balance between the expediency of the research findings, thereby allowing researchers freedom to interpret management accounting practices, and the development of rigorous theory from IMAR.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides an analysis of GT from an interpretive perspective and, clearly, there are other research perspectives which could have been discussed.

Practical implications

GT can be a powerful tool that researchers could use to collect and analyse empirical data. However, researchers need to align GT with the broader paradigm they adopt when researching social phenomena. The paper provides some general guidelines for IMARs who want to use GT in their research.

Originality/value

This paper shows that GT can offer interpretive researchers a way of balancing the need to develop theory, which is grounded in everyday practices, and the recognition that the research process is inherently subjective. However, it is argued that in interpretive research GT cannot provide a simple “recipe book” which, if followed rigorously, will result in a high‐quality research (i.e. valid, reliable and unbiased). Nevertheless, the guidelines provide a way for IMARs, who use GT to improve the quality of their research findings.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Isabelle Szmigin and Gordon Foxall

Considers the history and current position of interpretive consumer research within the marketing paradigm. It focuses on the conflict that has developed between the…

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5826

Abstract

Considers the history and current position of interpretive consumer research within the marketing paradigm. It focuses on the conflict that has developed between the positivist tradition and the relatively new interpretive approach. In doing so it considers the merits of interpretive research in consumer behaviour and criticisms made against it. Methodological issues centring on the trustworthiness of this type of research are explored, as well as the friction that traditionally has existed between art and science. An argument is made for an inclusive rather than exclusive approach, allowing the existence of differing approaches and assuming each has a contribution to make to the furtherance of consumer behaviour research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2008

Bernard Cova and Richard Elliott

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the contents of the special issue and to clarify and extend conceptual and managerial debates concerning interpretive consumer…

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5190

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the contents of the special issue and to clarify and extend conceptual and managerial debates concerning interpretive consumer research (ICR).

Design/methodology/approach

A discursive approach is adopted. The arguments are supported by quotes from authoritative publications in the field.

Findings

Researching the consumer has progressed far beyond the research for managerial implications and has become a major focus for the social sciences. In the field of qualitative market research, interpretive approaches to studying consumer behaviour are playing an increasing role. However, the economic and psychological heritage of consumer behaviour impedes appreciation of their aims, analytic logics, and methodological contributions. Ten issues about ICR are detailed in order to provide an integrative overview of what ICR is or is not.

Originality/value

Provides an insider's view and serves as a useful overview of debates and developments in the field.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2019

Nizar Mohammad Alsharari and Mohammed Al-Shboul

The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge claim of management accounting research using qualitative research methods, in particular, the interpretive case…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge claim of management accounting research using qualitative research methods, in particular, the interpretive case study, and its evaluation using “convincingness” criteria demonstrating the textual authenticity, plausibility and criticality of case study findings.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative research in the management accounting field considers both context and function (Burchell et al., 1980). This study sets out the rationale for adopting qualitative methodologies such as interpretive case studies in which rich, contextual and detailed data were collected and analyzed (Miles and Huberman, 1994; Mason, 2002). Methodological issues related to research design, analysis and evaluation are discussed by drawing on frameworks of social science research design. The paper sets out the procedures of an interpretive case study essential to ensuring the procedural validity of research which can be evaluated more accurately using the criteria of “convincingness” rather than positivist measures of the reliability, validity of data and the generalization of results. Textual authenticity, plausibility and critical interpretation, and how these hallmarks of “convincingness” can reflect the procedural validity of accounting research are described.

Findings

Qualitative research strategies such as the interpretive case study, which consider the complex settings of accounting change and practice, are found to offer deep understandings and convincing explanations of accounting change. Affirming that accounting is firmly established as a social science, the paper finds that the authenticity, plausibility and criticality of research in this field.

Research limitations/implications

The relevance of qualitative research to contemporary accounting research is considered as an effective method to explicate theory and inform practice, which suggests that new measures to evaluate related research are required to develop the potential of selected qualitative research methodologies in accounting domains.

Originality/value

Qualitative research in management accounting focuses on the interpretation of meanings found in people and organizations that are subject to the influence of contextual variables. Human attributes underpin accounting conventions and change resulting from continuous technological and regulatory advances. This paper’s comprehensive account of interpretive case study research emphasizes the significance of evaluative criteria that relate, beyond reliability, to the richness of the text. This, thus, encourages and supports new and emerging researchers to seek qualitatively coherent and critical interpretations in management accounting research.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2010

Larissa von Alberti‐Alhtaybat and Khaldoon Al‐Htaybat

The purpose of this paper is to provide a personal, reflective account of applying grounded theory, in particular Glaser's approach, in accounting research. It seeks to…

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13441

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a personal, reflective account of applying grounded theory, in particular Glaser's approach, in accounting research. It seeks to reduce barriers to adopting the grounded theory approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is providing an overview of Glaser's grounded theory and discussing the authors' application of it, thus discussing their personal experiences.

Findings

The paper seeks to provide a greater insight into using the grounded theory approach, through illustrating the authors' personal experiences with its application. It seeks to highlight the merits and pitfalls, including any attempts to overcome these, as these are perceived from a subjective viewpoint.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides an individual account of how a grounded theory study was undertaken. The subjectivity of such undertaking has to be taken into consideration.

Originality/value

The application of the grounded theory approach is discussed retrospectively, in a bid to provide an insight to interpretive research projects in general and grounded theory in particular. It is still rarely used in accounting research, but has potential to contribute at all levels of accounting research. The paper provides an individual account of using this approach.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2020

Mary Lynn Boscardin and Katharine G. Shepherd

The intent of this article is to broaden one’s understanding of program evaluation methods that are responsive to disability and take into account various approaches to…

Abstract

Purpose

The intent of this article is to broaden one’s understanding of program evaluation methods that are responsive to disability and take into account various approaches to leadership within a special education context. Program evaluations for special education have often been relegated to compliance reviews and results-driven accountability measures. By promoting approaches to leadership that embrace responsive evaluation approaches and are inclusive of stakeholders from often disenfranchised groups, findings may emerge that otherwise might not be visible with traditional approaches.

Design/methodology/approach

A synthesis of the evaluation literature from leading journals, books and edited volumes is used to capture salient concepts necessary for understanding the degree to which evaluation and approaches respond to disability and culture. Additionally, the literature on leadership approaches is summarized and presented for the purpose of demonstrating how situational and transitional approaches to leadership may enhance the selection and use of evaluation approaches that are inclusive of and responsive to disability and culture.

Findings

From this analysis emerged four over-arching approaches to evaluation, each varying in degree of responsiveness to disability and culture. Further, when examining how evaluation interfaces with leadership, some approaches were found to be better aligned with particular evaluation processes and differed in responsiveness to disability and culture.

Research limitations/implications

To date, little research has been conducted on the interface between leadership and evaluation approaches or on the degree to which leaders' implementation of responsive evaluation approaches results in improved outcomes for students with disabilities and those from underrepresented backgrounds. This article provides a conceptual framework for future research examining the degree to which one’s assumptions about the interface between leadership and responsive evaluation approaches can be demonstrated empirically.

Practical implications

Four recommendations are provided for leaders: the need to employ multiple evaluation methods that align their purposes, questions and methods; the need to recognize the possibilities and limits of evaluation approaches in light of their responsiveness to disability and culture; the utility of situational and transitional approaches to leadership in the evaluation process; and the critical importance of including stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in the evaluation process.

Originality/value

Varied approaches to evaluation in educational settings have been extensively studied and discussed. However, few articles have examined the responsiveness of evaluations to the unique conditions that disability and cultural differences represent. The contribution of this article offers a situated synthesis of approaches to evaluation, specifically contextualized within a leadership framework, to better understand how evaluation approaches impact those with disabilities and cultural differences and the inclusion of broad groups of stakeholders. As such, this article lays the foundation for a comparative international conversation exploring how evaluation and leadership approaches responsively interface with disability and culture through inclusion and enfranchisement of stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 58 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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