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A critical exploration of ‘access’ in qualitative International Business field research: towards a concept of socio-cultural and multidimensional research practice
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
University of Exeter Business School.
2016 (English)In: Qualitative research in organization and management, ISSN 1746-5648, E-ISSN 1746-5656, Vol. 11, no 2, 110-126 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - Researchers often face challenges in locating and obtaining relevant and meaningful information during qualitative international business (IB) field research in other countries. This process constitutes an immensely critical phase, which determines the success or failure of the research endeavour. The purpose of this paper is to discuss "access" as a multidimensional and contestable concept that poses particular challenges in international and multicultural research contexts.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper builds on the experience as field researchers in China/Hong Kong (120 in-depth interviews) and the need to disseminate acquired field experiences, in particular concerning "access". The multifaceted issue of "access" is rarely featured on the IB methodological agenda, and has become a silent feature of qualitative IB research.

Findings - This paper is devoted to this nexus: the lack of focus on "access" issues, and the rich sources of acquired, but mostly veiled, field experiences that feature in both IB and management research programmes. A plausible explanation for this circumstance relates to the influence of mainstream positivist and objectivist paradigms in which researchers are not recognised as having an impact on research processes, hence taking this silent feature for granted.

Originality/value - By viewing the multiple dimensions of "access", we move beyond the mainstream understanding that merely relates it to the question of gaining access to a physical site and/or the time of an individual, and in which "access" is only an enterprise of securing pre-existing, tangible information. Drawing upon specific international field research experiences, this paper contributes to the methodological debate concerning "access" - beyond "technicality" and towards a concept of socio-cultural and multidimensional research practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 2, 110-126 p.
Keyword [en]
Access, Fieldwork, Qualitative research
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263380DOI: 10.1108/QROM-05-2014-1225ISI: 000376425800003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-263380DiVA: diva2:857882
Available from: 2015-09-30 Created: 2015-09-30 Last updated: 2016-07-07Bibliographically approved

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