Corina Buzoianu, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania
Marta Najda-Janoszka, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

The continuous growth of interest in qualitative research in management studies that has been observed (Lee, Mitchell & Sablynski, 1999; Bluhm, Harman, Lee & Mitchell, 2010), confirms the increased recognition of the strengths of qualitative inquiry with regard to issues of context and timing in organizational affairs (Langley, Smallman, Tsoukas & Van de Ven, 2013).  A growing number of management scholars reach for qualitative methods, as they are better suited to enhancing the understanding of the meaning of actions in real-life contexts (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000) and the temporal flow of organizational life (Langley et al., 2013). Qualitative research tools are invaluable for opening the “black box” of abstractly defined contextual variables (e.g. power position) and addressing uncharted knowledge territories (Eisenhardt, 1989; Eisenhardt & Graebner, 2007; Edmondson & McManus, 2007). Moreover, as pointed out by Kociatkiewicz and Kostera (2014), the contribution of psychology and sociology has been present from the very emergence of management studies, thus reaching for methods used in those disciplines appears as a natural and logical consequence when understanding management studies in terms of “an engagement undertaken with the aim of increasing the wellbeing of organizational participants” (p. 9).

Critical reviews of extant management literature confirm that qualitative research works contribute significantly to theory advancement by generating new theories, or expanding existing ones, in a reflexive manner (Bluhm et al., 2010). Nevertheless, despite the advances in qualitative research in management studies, there are still important challenges to overcome when it comes to the publication of conducted qualitative inquiry (see editorials for AMJ, SMJ, Pratt, 2009). The key problems relate to the fact that there are no algorithms for producing the fieldwork in qualitative research, the research is often designed at the same time that it is being done (van Maanen, 1998), and “qualitative methods need to be elaborated or modified for each new application” (Gephart, 2004, p. 458). There is an apparent and continuous need for works providing best practices that contribute to the strengthening of the methodological fit of qualitative research in management and organization studies (Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007; Corley & Gioia, 2011; Gioia, Corley & Hamilton, 2013). Developing guidelines that ensure theoretical and methodological consistency is of particular importance in the face of a growing trend towards plurality in perspectives, multi-paradigm approaches and mixed methods usage observed in management studies (Molina Azorin, 2011; Molina, Azorin & Cameron, 2015; Bazeley, 2010).

We invite both conceptual and empirical papers that discuss the broad issue of qualitative research in management fields, namely:

  • Searching for comprehensive answers to management research questions using qualitative research – common practices in the fields of management, e.g. marketing, international business, entrepreneurship, strategic management, and organizational behavior.
  • Conducting field research in foreign countries – the patterns and challenges pertaining to information access and contextuality.
  • Application of diverse qualitative research methods in the fields of management – can we use more than the case study and the guidance form grounded theory?
  • Research design paths for matching methodological rigor with relevance in qualitative research.
  • Location of qualitative research in management within contemporary trends in methodology.
  • Opportunities and challenges of methodological pluralism and the mixed method approach.

The authors of proposals that fit into the theme of this special issue are invited to submit a full paper by June 30, 2018. The papers will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions must be in English, should be 8000 words or more, and follow the submission requirements posted on the JEMI website at


  • Bazeley, P. (2015). Mixed methods in management research: Implications for the field. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 13(1), 27-35.
  • Bluhm, D. J., Harman, W., Lee, T. W., & Mitchell, T. R. (2010). Qualitative research in management: A decade of progress. Journal of Management Studies, 48(8), 1866-1891.
  • Corley, K. G., & Gioia, D. A. (2011). Building theory about theory building: What constitutes a theoretical contribution? Academy of Management Review, 36(1), 12-32.
  • Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (Eds.) (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publication Inc.
  • Edmondson, A.C., & McManus, S.E. (2007). Methodological fit in management field research”. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1155-1179.
  • Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research”. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532-550.
  • Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25-32.
  • Gephart, R. (2004). From the editors. Qualitative research and the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of Management Journal, 47(4), 454-462.
  • Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology. Organizational Research Methods, 16(1), 15-131.
  • Golden-Biddle, K., & Locke, K. (2007). Composing Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Kociatkiewicz, J., & Kostera, M. (2014). Zaangażowane badania jakościowe (Commited qualitative research in management studies). Problemy Zarządzania (Management Issues), 12(1), 9-17.
  • Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A.H. (2013). Process studies of change in organization and management: unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 1-13.
  • Lee, T. W., Mitchell, T. R., & Sablynski, C. J. (1999). Qualitative research in organizational and vocational psychology, 1979-1999. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 55, 161-187.
  • Molina Azorίn, J.F. (2011). The use and added value of mixed methods in management research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(1), 7-24.
  • Molina Azorín, J.F., & Cameron, R. (2015). History and emergent practices of multimethod and mixed methods in business research. In S. Hesse-Biber & R.B. Johnson (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Multimethod and mixed methods research inquiry (pp. 466-485). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Pratt, M. G. (2009). For the lack of a boilerplate: tips on writing up (and reviewing) qualitative research. Academy of Management Journal, 52(5), 856–62.
  • Van Maanen, J. (1998). Different strokes: Qualitative research in the Administrative Science Quarterly from 1956 to 1996. In J. Van Maanen (Ed.) Qualitative studies of organizations (pp. ix-xxxii). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.