Evaluative Practices in Qualitative Management Research: A Critical Review

Gillian Symon, Catherine Cassell, Phil Johnson

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This paper critically reviews commentaries on the evaluation and promotion of qualitative management research. From the review we identify two disjunctures: between methodological prescriptions for epistemologically diverse criteria and management journal prescriptions for standardised criteria; and between the culturally-dependent production of criteria and their positioning in editorials and commentaries as normative and objective. Our critical social constructionist analysis surfaces underlying positivist assumptions and institutional processes in these commentaries which we argue are producing (inappropriate) homogeneous evaluation criteria for qualitative research, marginalising alternative perspectives and disciplining individual qualitative researchers into particular normative practices. We argue that interventions to encourage more qualitative research need to focus as much on editorial, disciplinary and institutional practices as those of individual researchers, and we make recommendations for changes that may allow qualitative management research to develop in a more supportive context by recognizing philosophical diversity as legitimate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-154
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date13 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Criteriology; Evaluation; Institutional processes; Qualitative research; Knowledge production

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