Practicing care in qualitative organizational research: Moral responsibility and legitimacy in a study of immigration management

Okkonen, Ida; Takala, Tuomo and Bell, Emma (2021). Practicing care in qualitative organizational research: Moral responsibility and legitimacy in a study of immigration management. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-08-2020-2014

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the reciprocal relations between the caregiving done by immigration centre managers and the role of the researcher in responding to the care that is given by managerial caregivers. To enable this, we draw on a feminist theory of care ethics that considers individuals as relationally interdependent.

Design/methodology/approach
The analysis draws on a semi-structured interview study involving twenty Finnish immigration reception centre managers.

Findings
Insight is generated by reflecting on moments of care that arise between research participants and the researcher in a study of immigration centre management. We emphasise the importance of mature care, receptivity and engrossment in building caring relationships with research participants by acknowledging the care they give to others. Our findings draw attention to the moral and epistemological responsibility to practice care in organizational research.

Originality/value
The paper highlights the relationality between practicing care in immigration centre management and doing qualitative organizational research, both of which rely on mature care, receptivity and engrossment in order to meet the other morally. We draw attention to the moral responsibility to care which characterises researcher-researched relationships and emphasise the importance of challenging methodological discourses that problematise or dismiss care in qualitative organizational research.

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