Andrew M. Pettigrew, 1990

hardtofindcurtainUrban and Civil

Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Andrew M. Pettigrew, 1990

Purpose


Reveal the author's theory of method for conducting
longitudinal field research on change



In 1990, organizational research did not include much
processual

research on the what, why and how of
organizations in action



Social sciences: some charting of longitudinal
strategies




Context and challenge


Lessons learned at Centre for Corporate Strategy and
Change (University of Warwick)


major study on NHS
using comparative case study method



CHALLENGE
: link the content, contexts and
processes of change over time to explain the
differential achievement of change objectives


Contextualism

(S. Pepper, 1942)


Include both multilevel or vertical analysis and
processual

or
horizontal analysis



Why? Current research on organization change:


Lacks temporal and contextual dimensions


Focuses on intricacies of narrow changes rather than holistic and
dynamic analysis



Contextualist

theory emphasizes:


Studying change in the context of changes at other levels of analysis


Importance of revealing temporal interconnectedness
-

a search to
catch reality in flight


Considering context and action together



Five major research strategy issues

1) What is time?



What is the meaning of time?


What does change mean?


When should you stop and start collecting data?


How can you judge outcomes in a change process?


Time is both a chronology and a social construct


Choice of research sites

What to look for:



Extreme situations and social dramas


Polar types and new patterns


High experience levels of the phenomena under study



Be informed. Increase the chance of gaining access. Do
a low cost study of the key players in the sector first.


Observation and Verification


The
ideal fieldworker
has the following skills:


Good listener


Adaptive


Unbiased


Socially and politically skilled


Writing and presentation



Observation and Verification


Collect data which is
processual

(an emphasis on
action as well as structure over time), comparative,
pluralist, historical and contextual


Vary observation approach with interviews,
documents, observation


Don’t go native!


Remember: research is reciprocal

Research outputs, audience and
presentation


Certain things must be crystal clear:


Achievable research outputs and their sequence


Intended audiences



This clarity is a
crucial part
of motivating research
staff and respondents through extended periods of
data collection and analysis



AKA


longitudinal research can be exhausting for
both researchers and the host organization!


Four levels of output


1.
The case as analytical chronology
(early days)


Case history characterized by temporal presentation

2.
The diagnostic case


Add analysis of organization's current strategy concerns

3.
The interpretative/theoretical case
(years 2 & 3)


Link emerging conceptual ideas to stronger analytical themes


Link empirical findings to other published empirical data

4.
Meta level analysis across cases
(years 2 & 3)


Cross case analysis and link findings to wider body of literature



1 and 2 keep motivation high for 3 and 4!

Routes to reality


Big challenge: capturing the complexities of the real
world and making sense of it


Death by data asphyxiation



“[N]o release from the overwhelming weight of
information … the slow and inexorable sinking into the
swimming pool which started so cool, clear and inviting
and now has become a clinging mass of maple syrup.”

Avoiding data asphyxiation


Be clear about research objectives


Be clear about the unit of analysis and study questions


Make explicit your theory of method and analytical
framework


Identify analytic themes which cut across the data


Use techniques of data reduction


Make explicit the varieties and sequencing of research
output







Lessons for future researchers


Gathering and using highly sensitive information
about long
-
term processes of strategic choice


Research is a craft, but researchers are also in the
perspective

business


Pseudonyms


Reciprocity


Free choice of participation


Tape recording with consent


The host organization



Great demands placed on the host organization


Offer to run a "research in action” workshop


Forward all publications to the host prior to
publication


Respect sensitive information


Major disagreements over interpretation are always a
risk


Managing researchers


Leadership and
metalevel

framework are critical


A policy
-
relevant research idea and a champion


Span disciplines to avoid myopia


Ideal group size 10
-
12


Director: create a culture of high performance


Give attention to personal development of staff


Remember: publications can be delivered during and
not just at the end of longitudinal work