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Special Issue: New Qualitative Research Methodologies in Management

Special issue call for papers from Management Decision

Management Decision

is inviting contributions of 6,000 words by March 31, 2012 for consideration in a special issue on New qualitative research methodologies in management.

Guest Editor: Simone Guercini, University of Florence, Italy


This special issue of Management Decision focuses on new methods of qualitative research in management. The traditional qualitative methods in management are the focus of a vast literature. The importance of qualitative research in management comes from links with other social sciences, as sociology and anthropology, strongly connected to use of case study research and ethnography. The method of collecting and interpreting data in qualitative research are linked to the historical method, as evidenced by a number of historical case studies in strategic management.

The problem of research methodology has been formulated as a problem of language where qualitative methods give different answers than the specific quantitative methods. In management the language used in the research is relevant for the ability of communication between researchers and business policy makers, both in collecting data and diffusing the results. In this sense, the adoption of new qualitative research methodologies can contribute to the reduction of the gap between theory and practice.

The case research method has been widely employed in industrial marketing, where empirical research was based on this method and methodological issues has been more recently developed. In marketing, the potential importance of qualitative research in general and case study research in particular was also confirmed by a recent literature, as well as being highlighted previously.
New methods of qualitative research in management may emerge as a result of recent trends that include: (1) the change of the investigated environment; (2) the emergence of new research technologies (tools, software); (3) the creativity in the research design proposed by researchers.

With regard to the environment under investigation, the development of the Internet environment has spawned a new and unique source of information for management. Since a lot of information available on the Internet consists of text, and in part by images, qualitative research methods can provide an important basis for developing research and interpreting the results. Another trend that concerns the environment is the study of cultures of emerging economies and cross-cultural management and the importance of the use of anthropological approaches more than in the past. New research methods can be related to study internet communities, as net-ethnography. The qualitative research is often placed on an interdisciplinary field across management, anthropology, psychology, and linguistics.

The special issue will consider both new methodology and new way to use old methods (like case study and ethnographical research), and both conceptual papers and through emblematic applications. More precisely are welcome papers that consider new qualitative methods and new variations of traditional qualitative methods in management with reference to:

  • new perspectives in case study research
  • new forms of ethnography and participant observation applied to new settings and topic
  • new techniques in content analysis, text analysis software and applications and new software to analyzing text and websites contents
  • new forms and applications of historical method in management research
  • new forms of hybridization between qualitative and quantitative techniques in management research
  • others new methods due to the category of qualitative research techniques and new ways to applying traditional qualitative methods in management research

They are both welcome papers that develop theoretical issues, papers based on literature reviews, examples and applications of the new methodology described and proposed, or examples that highlight new fields of application for traditional qualitative methods of research in management.

Although the list is not exhaustive, references for contributions within this framework include:

  • Bowler, G.M. Jr. (2010), Netnography: a method specifically designed to study cultures and communities online, The Qualitative Report, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp. 1270-1275.
  • Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.) (1994), Handbook of qualitative research, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CAL.
  • Dubois, A. and Gadde, L-E. (2002), “Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 55, No. 7, pp. 553-560.
  • Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (1991), Research methods for managers, Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
  • Guercini, S. (2004), “Developing the researcher-manager interface in the case analysis process”, Management Decision, Vol. 42, No. 3/4, pp. 464-472.
  • Gummesson, E. (2000), Qualitative methods in management research, Sage, Newbury Park.
  • Kozinets, R.V. (2010), Netnography: doing ethnographic research online, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Lewins, A. and Silver, C. (2007), Using software in qualitative research, Sage Publications, London.
  • Pihlanto, P. (1994), “The action-oriented approach and case study method in management studies”, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 369-382
  • Woodside, A.G. (2010), Case study research: theory, methods and practice, Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, UK.

The special issue is also open to interesting and imaginative ideas that do not fit neatly within any of the above topics but that do fit within the spirit and intent of this call for papers.


The goal of this special issue is to offer the opportunity for emerge and discuss new qualitative research methodologies emerged in management as effect of the environmental environment, technologies, and creativity of the researchers.

To achieve this objective, we encourage different researchers to carry out a critical review of some of the research object that appear in the topics described above, among other notions. These critiques, in their most constructive form, may refer to as yet unexploited developments and possibilities concerning the thoughts of a particular author and their methods in management research.

To be considered for publication in this special issue, manuscripts must be received by March 31, 2012.

Papers submitted will be subject to a minimum double-blind peer review process to ensure that this special issue maintains the excellent reputation and record of Management Decision. The journal website is located at: Please read through the author guidelines on this site before submitting your paper. Submissions to Management Decision are made using ScholarOne's Manuscript Central, full instructions are on the author guidelines site. As a guide, articles should be 6,000 words in length. A title of not more than twelve words should be provided.

Queries should be submitted directly to the Guest Editor, Simone Guercini ([email protected]).