This paper presents a structured approach to grounded theory‐building. It is aimed at ‘mode 2’ (Gibbons et al., 1994) management researchers, in particular those who analyse recollections of past events, often recorded in interview data, to develop explanations of management action. Two characteristics of mode 2 enquiry ‐ transdisciplinarity and an emphasis on tacit knowledge ‐ make grounded theory potentially attractive to mode 2 researchers. However, the approach offered here differs in two important ways from the much‐cited universal grounded theory model originated by Glaser and Strauss (1967) and later proceduralized by Strauss and Corbin (1990). First, it acknowledges that the form of theories of management action which will satisfy the contemporary demands of mode 2 research is different from the form of integrated sociological theory for which the original grounded theory approach was developed. Second, it takes account of differences between the ontological assumptions underlying the use of retrospective data for analysing management action, and those associated with participant observation, the pivotal strategy of grounded theory's symbolic interactionist roots. The result is a simplified, more direct approach which works for the specific purpose of generating useful, consensually valid theory.
British Journal of Management – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2000
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