Frozen in time : unfolding experiences in archival process data

Miralles, Megane and Stierand, Marc Benjamin and Dörfler, Viktor (2019) Frozen in time : unfolding experiences in archival process data. In: BAM 2019: 33rd Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, 2019-09-03 - 2019-09-05, Aston University.

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    This paper is a first step towards gaining a better understanding of how to methodologically work out the unfolding of experiences through using archival process data. In recent years, management and organization scholars have used archival data to identify temporal phases (Bingham and Kahl, 2013), reveal the unfolding of these temporal observations in the data (Jay, 2013), and compare them in terms of time series (Lok and De Rond, 2013). We focus on eight qualitative research papers using archival process data that appeared in the seminal Special Research Forum on Process Studies of Change in Organization and Management published in 2013 in the Academy of Management Journal. We fully acknowledge that this is a narrow focus on the already existing and much larger literature on archival process data, but we argue that it is a legitimate starting point to address some of the pertinent questions still prevailing in this stream of research. Furthermore, we look at the eight selected papers through the lens of a qualitative research project on strategists working for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and their archived experiences amid extraordinarily complex and uncertain contexts such as the Genocide of Rwandan Tutsi in 1994. In doing so, we discuss our methodological struggle of unearthing the temporal changing of experiences in archival data. That is, how can we work out the processual unfolding of experiences in archival data?