In both projects, pragmatism necessitated a reflexive stance at all stages of data collection as respondent perspectives were being shaped by the inquiry processes itself. NY, USA: Cosimo. This dissemination strategy involves roundtable workshopping events and practice-based publications (e.g. As indicated above, the choice of pragmatism as an overarching philosophical orientation was strongly influenced by our desire to contribute useful and actionable knowledge anchored in respondent experience and, hence, of practical relevance to the case study organizations. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Dewey tended to differentiate between everyday experience of the world and intelligent action. By encouraging organizational stakeholders to trace out the likely consequences of different lines of action, researchers are able to gain a more detailed understanding of the phenomena under investigation. By emphasizing this principle of actionable knowledge as a starting point for research, researchers can develop research agendas anchored in respondent experiences and, hence, ensure the research is of practical relevance. The remainder of this article utilizes our experiences conducting doctoral studies underpinned by a pragmatist approach, to discuss the appropriateness of using pragmatism for qualitative research on organizational processes. By seeking a better understanding of the organizational processes under investigation, and documenting actions and experiences of staff, whether well-planned or haphazard, pragmatist researchers are able to surface complex themes and issues hidden in formal documentation or rhetoric. This was undertaken through the circulation of plain language questions prior to interviews in Project example 2 and by allowing respondents in both project examples to feedback and refine views before, during and after interviews. View or download all the content the society has access to. In Dewey’s approach, there is no distinct boundary between everyday life and research (Morgan, 2014b). This produced a distinctive epistemological outlook: a fallibilist, anti-Cartesian explication of the norms that govern inquiry. Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology. This feature is particularly relevant to NGOs as, often, organizational processes are not properly documented and, to a large extent, rely on the knowledge and interpretations of implementing staff. However the logical stance of a Pragmatic inquiry is to be action oriented – there is close link between pragmatism and action research for example (Hammond, 2015). Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. For Peirce and James, a key application of the Maxim was clarifying the concept of truth. The following section examines how pragmatism can be incorporated throughout the research process in relation to these three principles using our doctoral research as worked examples. Although pragmatist researchers are sometimes criticized for over emphasizing the practical, in fact, pragmatism enables researchers to overcome the dichotomy between theory and action and give voice to those impacted by organizational process (McKenna et al., 2011). Pragmatism carries an everyday meaning as being practical, paying attention to the particular context in which you find yourself and not being weighed down by doctrine or ideology. Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 3800 evaluation and the findings it generates’ (p. 66). Pragmatism is not a methodology and pragmatic principles can inform many kinds of research. New login is not successful because the max limit of logins for this user account has been reached. Both projects required methodologies that looked beyond organizational documentation to capture the lived experiences of practitioners. For instance, both projects found that many organizational practices had limited internal relevance although resources were being invested in these. Some theorists have discredited pragmatism arguing that popular versions of pragmatism that focus exclusively on ‘what works’ can delink pragmatism from its important philosophical roots (Hesse-Biber, 2015). This tenet was central to both projects as we embarked on these research projects with the aim of finding respondent-driven solutions to real-world problems. This has reverberations for the relevance and utility of our research findings, not only for NGOs but also for the wider organizational research discourse. Hence, it was important for the researchers to develop a relationship of openness to surface new perspectives rather than prompt or direct respondents. This is strengthened through presentation and analysis of three methodological principles of pragmatism, used as a framework to detail the project examples. Pragmatists who work in these fields share a common inspiration, but their work is diverse and there are no received views. Moreover, rather than questioning the validity and intrinsic value of certain methods and methodologies, pragmatism encourages researchers to base choices on the relevance of these methods and methodologies ‘in terms of carrying us from the world of practice to the world of theory and vice-versa’ (Kelemen and Rumens, 2012: 1). By continuing to browse The following section unpacks this notion by demonstrating how applying three principles of pragmatism enriched key decisions at every stage of the research process for each of our doctoral theses. Lean Library can solve it. The use of these techniques in both the research projects meant that analytical processes were flexible and adaptive to capture the actual experiences of NGOs as they implemented and amended organizational practices. These two doctoral projects offer complementary and practical examples of how pragmatism can be used to strengthen research processes. Examples included detailed description of internal evaluation practices, which had not been documented by the case study organizations, and evaluative data or evidence that had been collected but not used in improving NGO projects. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. Pragmatism was instrumental in directing us towards making appropriate methodological choices by unpacking different aspects of the research problem at the design stage. The principles are drawn from existing literature and similar categorizations of pragmatist methodology developed by theorists such as Friedrichs and Kratochwil (2009) and Morgan (2014b). For instance, early in the data collection process in Project example 2, it became obvious that the link between performance measurement and the decision-making process had not been reflected upon by implementation staff. Methodologically, the implication is that researchers are better equipped to deal with complex, dynamic organizational processes where action, even if carefully planned, can have varied spatial or temporal qualities. In other words, by emphasizing the principle of actionable knowledge right through the research process, researchers can holistically address the knowing, acting and experience occurring in NGOs. The intention is to provide other researchers with a clear outline of pragmatism’s utility in research, including as a useful paradigm to navigate qualitative applied social research on NGO processes. Thus in terms(Dewey, 1922 / 2007, 1931 / 1982; James, 1904 / 2007; Rorty, 1982) of philosophy of social research pragmatism has been associated with mixed methods inquiry, and, for example, the flexibility to see the merits of both quantitative and qualitative methods and adaptive to whatever one is researching. Within the scope of business studies in particular there are four main research philosophies: Pragmatism Positivism Realism Interpretivism (Interpretivist) In regard to research on organizations, an iterative focus on actionable knowledge maintains the connectivity of the inquiry process to evolving organizational practice and emergent problems. View our location on Central Campus By analysing the data across the sample NGOs, it was found that many of the established and documented practices were rarely mentioned in the context of discussions on usefulness. Understanding this interconnectedness was enriched in Project example 1 through the cultivation of ongoing relationships with respondents. Educational Action Research, 21(4), 603-618.


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