Methodology-as-Technique and the Meaning of Rigour in Globalized Management Research

Bell, Emma; Kothiyal, Nivedita and Willmott, Hugh (2017). Methodology-as-Technique and the Meaning of Rigour in Globalized Management Research. British Journal of Management, 28(3) pp. 534–550.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12205

Abstract

This paper analyses the genre of ‘methodology-as-technique’, which we suggest provides the underpinning logic for a particular conception of scientific rigour that is increasingly regarded as normal in globalized management research. Based on a qualitative interview study of management researchers in the peripheral context of India, we associate the methodology-as-technique genre with social scientific methods of organizing, conducting and disseminating knowledge founded on Western neo-imperialism and colonialism. Our analysis draws attention to the consequences of the genre of methodology-as-technique which relate to a narrowing and displacement of research goals, erasure of context, and devaluation and marginalization of alternatives.By providing insight into how methodology-as-technique comes to dominate in peripheral locations such as India, we suggest that these normative constraints also present an opportunity for denaturalization, by making what is increasingly seen as normal appear alien or strange. We conclude by arguing that countering restrictive definitions of rigour in management research relies on development of a more expansive and inclusive conception of the global that fosters indigenous ways of knowing and promotes decolonizing methodologies.

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