The Open UniversitySkip to content

Beyond the Single Organization: Inside Insights From Gaining Access for Large Multiorganization Survey HRD Research

Saunders, Mark N. K.; Gray, David E. and Bristow, Alexandra (2017). Beyond the Single Organization: Inside Insights From Gaining Access for Large Multiorganization Survey HRD Research. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 28(3) pp. 401–425.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (255kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Gaining physical access to potential respondents is crucial to human resource development (HRD) survey research. Yet a review of the HRD, human resource management, and best‐selling business and management research methods texts in the United States, and United Kingdom reveals that, even where the process of gaining access is discussed and its cruciality stressed, inside accounts and insights regarding the daunting and problematic nature and its impact on data collected are rarely emphasized. More specialist methods literature, although outlining some potential issues, again offers few insights into the actual realities likely to be faced in the real world. Consideration of recent articles in HRD journals highlights also that, despite the widespread use of surveys, often via the Internet, such issues of physical access are rarely mentioned, reporting at best merely summarizing from whom and how data were obtained. We speak to this problem by offering two inside accounts of multiorganization research studies utilizing a survey strategy and Internet questionnaire, where gaining access to people across a large number of organizations threw up many challenges. These accounts offer clear insights into the issues and implications for rigor associated with gaining access when undertaking Internet surveys using both purchased lists (databases) and volunteer panels. In particular, they highlight the importance of recognizing that gaining access is often problematic, and provide a context for our recommendations for research practice, thereby assisting the mitigation of potential problems.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
ISSN: 1532-1096
Keywords: access; cognitive access; gaining access; inside account; Internet survey; online survey; physical access; questionnaire; response rate; survey; Web survey
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for People and Organisations
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 58749
Depositing User: Alexandra Bristow
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 11:24
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:27
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU