Strategic Conversations: Methods for Data Collection and Analysis
Conversations-verbal interactions between two or more people-are fundamental to the study of both language and human action, and they represent an important source of data in social sciences such as anthropology and sociology. Anthropologists have observed real-time conversations to understand a group’s social, cultural, and institutional practices (e.g., Bosk, 1979; Malinowski, 1922; Mead, 1928), and sociologists have examined conversations to reveal the linguistic processes underlying power relations (e.g., Fishman, 1978). Management scholars have also examined conversations, typically focusing on mundane, day-to-day interactions, to understand individual and group-level cognitive and interpretive processes in organizational settings. For example, scholars have used conversation data to explore how employees acquire job skills (O’Mahony & Bechky, 2006), how team members’ shared beliefs influence team learning outcomes (Edmondson, 1999), how individuals’ actions during brainstorming sessions increase team effectiveness (Sutton & Hargadon, 1996), and how evolution in individuals’ interpretive schemas impacts organizational change (Bartunek, 1984).