A critical exploration of ‘access’ in qualitative International Business field research: towards a concept of socio-cultural and multidimensional research practice
Guttormsen, David S.A.
Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal
Reason for embargo
Purpose: Researchers often face challenges in locating and obtaining relevant and meaningful information during qualitative International Business (IB) field research in other countries. This process constitutes an immensely critical phase, which determines the success or failure of the research endeavour. This article discusses ‘access’ as a multidimensional and contestable concept, that poses particular challenges in international and multicultural research contexts. Design/methodology/approach This article builds on our experience as field researchers in China/Hong Kong (120 in-depth interviews) and the need to disseminate acquired field experiences, in particular concerning ‘access’. The multifaceted issue of ‘access’ is rarely featured on the IB methodological agenda, and has become a silent feature of qualitative IB research. Findings This article is devoted to this nexus: the lack of focus on ‘access’ issues, and the rich sources of acquired, but mostly veiled, field experiences that feature in both international business and management research programmes. A plausible explanation for this circumstance relates to the influence of mainstream positivist and objectivist paradigms in which researchers are not recognised as having an impact on research processes, hence taking this silent feature for granted. Originality/value By viewing the multiple dimensions of ‘access’, we move beyond the mainstream understanding that merely relates it to the question of gaining access to a physical site and/or the time of an individual, and in which ‘access’ is only an enterprise of securing pre-existing, tangible information. Drawing upon specific international field-research experiences, this article contributes to the methodological debate concerning ‘access’ – beyond ‘technicality’ and towards a concept of socio-cultural and multidimensional research practice.
The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Guest Editor, Prof Karen Locke, for the very helpful and insightful recommendations. The authors are also very grateful to the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies (Hong Kong Baptist University) for bestowing upon both researchers a Resident Graduate Scholarship towards conducting field research in China/Hong Kong.
The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Guest Editor, Professor Karen Locke, for the very helpful and insightful recommendations. The authors are also very grateful to the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies (Hong Kong Baptist University) for bestowing upon both researchers a Resident Graduate Scholarship towards conducting field research in China/Hong Kong.
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Emerald
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 11 Iss: 2, pp.110 - 126
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