Ups and Downs: Trends in the Development and Reception of Qualitative Methods
In this essay, we provide a historical context though which to understand the origins and implications of these developments. We focus on variation within the field of qualitative organizational research over time, highlighting distinct value systems (e.g., positivist vs. constructivist), preferred data collection and analysis methods (e.g., ethnographies vs. interviews, inductive description vs. deductive coding), and modes of presentation (e.g., narrative vs. tables). While these dualities represent an obvious but necessary simplification of questions facing qualitative researchers, we argue that they reflect fundamental elements in the norms of qualitative research practice and influence the relative position of qualitative research in organization and management studies more broadly. We conclude by discussing the implications of the increased diversity of qualitative methods on contemporary research practice and their potential costs and benefits for the future.