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Three responses to the methodological challenges of studying strategising

Balogun, Julia and Huff, Anne Sigismund and Johnson, Phyl (2003) Three responses to the methodological challenges of studying strategising. Journal of Management Studies, 40 (1). pp. 197-223. ISSN 0022-2380

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Empirical studies of strategizing face contradictory pressures. Ethnographic approaches are attractive, and typically expected since we need to collect data on strategists and their practices within context. We argue, however, that today's large, multinational, and highly diversified organizational settings require complimentary methods providing more breadth and flexibility. This paper discusses three particularly promising approaches (interactive discussion groups, self-reports, and practitioner-led research) that fit the increasingly disparate research paradigms now being used to understand strategizing and other management issues. Each of these approaches is based on the idea that strategizing research cannot advance significantly without reconceptualizing frequently taken-for-granted assumptions about the way to do research and the way we engage with organizational participants. The paper focuses in particular on the importance of working with organizational members as research partners rather than passive informants.