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Organization Studies as Applied Science

Organization Studies as Applied Science:The Generation and Use of Academic Knowledge about Organization Use Matters and Matters of Use: Building Theory for Reflective Practice

WP No. 066- June- 2008

Chris Huxham and Paul Hibbert

Debate about validity and rigour in qualitative management research has ranged widely in recent years (Gergen and Gergen 2000). Many validity concepts have been proposed and terminology such as trustworthiness, transferability, credibility, dependability, plausibility, authenticity of various sorts, interpretive validity and so on has entered the academic discourse alongside the more traditional notions of internal, external and measurement validity, and reliability (summarized, for example, in Lincoln and Guba (2000) and Miles and Huberman (1994)). Such concepts highlight alternative criteria for considering the validity of the link between raw data and theoretical or other output of the research. In this article, however, we aim to extend the discussion of validity and rigour beyond this single link, through holistic consideration of the wider research process. We present the discussion through an analysis of a particular approach to organizational research, which is explicitly concerned with developing theory to support reflective practice. This is the Interpretive Clustering Approach (ICA) (Author 1 2003; Author 1 and Co-author 2000) to theory building in a Research Oriented Action Research (RO-AR) (Eden and Huxham 2006) context. We have related the specific issues that we raise to this approach, to provide an illustrative case; the broad issues, however, relate to a wide range of organizational research methods.

For Further information about the authors please check the profile page of Chris Huxham and Paul Hibbert or contact the AIM office.

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