Finding Theory-Method Fit: A Comparison of Three Qualitative Approaches to Theory Building

Today, our forthcoming Journal of Management Inquiry article — Finding Theory–Method Fit: A Comparison of Three Qualitative Approaches to Theory Building — was published online. Co-authored by Joel Gehman (University of Alberta), Vern L. Glaser (University of Alberta), Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (Stanford University), Denny Gioia (Pennsylvania State University, Ann Langley (HEC Montreal), and Kevin G. Corley (Arizona State University), the article provides a synthesized summary of a Showcase Symposium held at the 2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

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2016 Academy of Management Showcase Symposium

Today, we delivered a standing room only Showcase Symposium on qualitative theory building. Scholars often use qualitative research to develop new theory, but there are different ways of understanding and using qualitative research. In this symposium, we brought together four scholars who have been of particular importance in shaping the ways qualitative research is conducted in our field: Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Dennis A. Gioia, Ann Langley, and Kevin G. Corley. The goal for this symposium was to facilitate a conversation between these scholars, so as to foreground similarities and differences in their respective approaches.

Panelists discussed themes such as: 1) What is your method / approach? 2) What counts as theory from within your method / approach? 3) How does your method / approach connect with theory building? 4) How does your method / approach compare and contrast with other familiar methods? 5) When and for what kind of theory is your method / approach especially appropriate? We ended the symposium with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions to the panel of distinguished scholars. The event was organized by Joel Gehman and Vern L. Glaser.