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Interview-based research in management and organisation studies: making sense of the plurality of methodological practices and presentational styles

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stefanie ReissnerORCiD, Professor Andrea Whittle



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing Limited, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Purpose – The aim of this review paper is to identify the methodological practices and presentational styles used to report interview-based research in ‘leading’ management and organisation journals. Design/methodology/approach – This paper reviews a sample of 225 articles using qualitative interviews that were published in management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, and international business journals listed in the Financial Times 50 list between 2009 and 2019. Findings – The review found diversity and plurality in the methodological practices used in these studies and the presentational styles used to report interview research. Originality – To make sense of this plurality, we map these practices and styles against the onto-epistemological paradigms identified by Alvesson (2003; 2011). The paper contributes to calls for philosophical diversity in the evaluation of qualitative research. We specifically articulate concerns about the use of practices in interview-based studies that derive from the positivistic logic associated with quantitative research. Practical implications – The findings are expected to help doctoral students, early career scholars, and those new to using qualitative interviews to make decisions about the appropriateness of different methodological practices and presentational styles. The findings are also expected to support editors, reviewers, doctoral examiners, and conference organisers in making sense of the dissensus that exists amongst qualitative interview researchers (Johnson et al., 2007). These insights will also enable greater ‘paradigmatic awareness’ (Plakoyiannaki and Budhwar, 2021, p. 5) in the evaluation of the quality of interview-based research that are not restricted to standardised criteria derived from positivism (Cassell and Symon, 2015).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reissner SC, Whittle A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

Year: 2022

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 61-83

Print publication date: 03/03/2022

Online publication date: 07/09/2021

Acceptance date: 11/08/2021

Date deposited: 12/08/2021

ISSN (print): 1746-5648

ISSN (electronic): 1746-5656

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/QROM-03-2021-2118


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