Conducting a Grounded Theory Study

Lecturer: Lakshmi Balachandran Nair

Week 1: 14-18 August 2023


Workshop Contents and Objectives

Grounded theory is a methodology used by social scientists to explore, describe, and understand social phenomena from the perspectives of those being studied. This workshop is an introduction to grounded theory methodology with a ‘how-to’ practical focus. The main goal of this workshop is thus to equip students to critically read, design, conduct, and report grounded theory projects.

The students will be introduced to:

  • Different types of grounded theory methodology with a predominant focus on Straussian grounded theory
  • Common features and terminologies of grounded theory methodology
  • Research process involved in a basic grounded theory study
  • Ethical considerations involved in a basic grounded theory study
  • Collection of semi-structured interview data for a grounded theory study
  • Data triangulation (e.g., using observation data) in the context of a grounded theory study
  • Data analysis using grounded theory-based coding techniques
  • Rigour and reflexivity in the context of grounded theory methodology
  • Basics of reporting grounded theory studies

The structure of the workshop reflects the grounded theorizing process starting with the generation of a research question, research design, ethical considerations, sampling, data collection, data analysis, and the writing of a good-quality research report.

Qualitative methodologies, such as grounded theory, have different ontological and epistemological foundations when compared to quantitative methodologies. Hence, the students attending this course should have at least a basic level of familiarity with qualitative research methodologies and their underlying philosophies.

Recommended Reading
The list below includes some preliminary reading materials for the workshop. More materials will be provided during the workshop.

1. Browning, L. D., Beyer, J. M., & Shetler, J. C. (1995). Building cooperation in a competitive industry: SEMATECH and the semiconductor industry. Academy of Management Journal, 38 (1), 113-151.
2. 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), 15-31.
3. Kaufmann, L. & Denk, N. (2011). How to demonstrate rigor when presenting grounded theory research in the supply chain management literature. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 47 (4), 64-72.2
4. Nair, L. B. (2021). From ‘whodunit’to ‘how’: Detective stories and auditability in qualitative business ethics research. Journal of Business Ethics, 172 (2), 195-209.
5. Nair, L. B. (2021). To discard or to ado (a) pt? Looking at qualitative research templates through the lens of organizational routines. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 16 (2), 409-423.
6. Suddaby, R. (2006). "From the editors: What grounded theory is not." Academy of Management Journal, 49 (4), 633-642.