IMCA Research Seminar with Kevin Corley (Arizona State University): Inductively Examining Organizational Processes: The Empirical Pursuit of the Intangible

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 30 September 2020 / 17:30 - 19:00

This is an on-line event, via Teams.


Our examination of organizational phenomena is, by necessity, becoming more and more complex as the phenomena we are interested in become more and more complex. This is especially true for examinations that seek to provide novel theoretical insights on new or under-theorized phenomena. One example of that complexity is an increasing interest in building theory on the processual nature of organizations. Langley (1999: 692) describes organizational processes as unique phenomena to study because of four factors:

· “ mainly with sequences of 'events'"

· “...often involve multiple levels and units of analysis whose boundaries are ambiguous."

· “...their temporal embeddedness often varies in terms of precision, duration, and relevance."

· “...tend to be eclectic, drawing in phenomena such as changing relationships, thoughts, feelings, and interpretations."


These factors help explain why pursuing theoretical insights into organizational processes can be so challenging methodologically: in essence, we are trying to empirically capture the intangible. Which raises the question, how do we inductively gain insights into organizational processes in such a way that we can effectively present tangible evidence of the phenomenon while also advancing theory on it? Using the example of organizational identity as process, my talk will explore the methodological issues surrounding the inductive examination of organizational processes.


About the speaker

Prof. Corley is chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University. He serves on the editorial review boards for the Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Management Inquiry. He recently served as an associate editor at the Academy of Management Journal focused on qualitative methods, helped co-edit a special issue on mixed-methods research at Organizational Research Methods, and currently serves as an expert of qualitative methods on the Journal of Management’s new Methods Task Force.