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Interest‐Talk as Access‐Talk: How Interests are Displayed, Made and Down‐played in Management Research

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrea Whittle, Professor Frank Mueller



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper addresses the methodological issue of how researchers gain access and build trust in order to conduct research in organisations. We focus in particular on the role of interests (what an actor wants, or what they stand to gain or lose) in the research relationship. Our analysis shows how notions of interests, stake and motive were managed during an ethnographic action research study in a UK subsidiary of a multi-national corporation. We use an approach to discourse analysis inspired by the field of Discursive Psychology to identify four discursive devices: stake inoculation, stake confession, stake attribution and stake construction. We contribute to the understanding of research methodology by identifying the importance of interest-talk in the process of doing management research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Whittle A, Mueller F, Lenney P, Gilchrist A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 25

Issue: 3

Pages: 607-628

Print publication date: 09/07/2014

Online publication date: 10/05/2013

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Date deposited: 23/10/2014

ISSN (print): 1045-3172

ISSN (electronic): 1467-8551

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12021


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