Gill and johnson 1991 believe that such statements

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Unformatted text preview: gests that the management research process can be viewed as a coherent series of logically directed steps. Gill and Johnson (1991) believe that such statements and the neat, tidy accounts of the conduct of the research process produced by seasoned researchers (Burgess, 1984a), are misleading. In particular, the authors argue that they simplify concepts which are frighteningly out of step with those researchers who have given a “warts and all” account of their methodologies (O’Mahoney, 1998; Barley, 1995; Bryman and Burgess, 1994; Ferner, 1989). Discussions by such researchers have revealed that social research is not a set of neat procedures. Rather, it is a social process whereby interaction between researchers and researched will directly influence the course of action which a research project takes (O’Mahoney, 1998; Okley, 1994; Burgess, 1984b; Shaffir et al., 1980; Shipman, 1976; Bell and Newby, 1977; Bell and Encell, 1978; Hammond, 1964). The research process, and hence the methodology employed, is not a clear cut sequence of procedures following a neat pattern, but a messy interaction between the conceptual and empirical world, with deduction and induction occurring at the same time (Bechofer, 1974 p73). Laing (1997) argues that the methodological framework cannot be seen as a rigid, purely objective construct. Rather, it should be perceived as a framework, the final version of which is determined by environmental pressures. It is within such a context that the methodological framework employed in this research has evolved. There is widespread recognition that there can be a significant gap between the methodological approach and intentions articulated at the commencement of the research project and that ultimately implemented (for example, O’Mahoney, 1998; Laing, 1997). Consequently, in seeking to demonstrate the validity and reliability of the data gathered and the results presented, it is necessary to examine and evaluate critically the actual research process undertaken (Laing, 1997) and this is the aim of this chapter. 57 In describing the core elements of management research, Gill and Johnson (1991 p154) stress the centrality of a comprehensive review of the existing literature to the research process. They describe the literature review phase of research as constituting: “…a critical review which demonstrates some awareness of the current state of knowledge on the subject, its limitations and how the proposed research aims to add to what is known.” A comprehensive review and critical appraisal of the relevant literature is thus crucial to formulating the underlying research questions to be examined by the study and in the subsequent development of the specific research instruments to be utilised in the data gathering process. Following the approach used by Laing (1997), at the outset of this research, the literature review involved the systematic searching of a number of major databases against a list of key words and phrases. This allowed the re...
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