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Enhancing the Trustworthiness of Qualitative Research in International Business

Abstract and Key Results

  • Reliability, validity, generalisability and objectivity are fundamental concerns for quantitative researchers. For qualitative research, however, the role of these dimensions is blurred. Some researchers argue that these dimensions are not applicable to qualitative research and a qualitative researcher’s tool chest should be geared towards trustworthiness and encompass issues such as credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability.

  • This paper advocates the use of formalised and software-based procedures for the analysis and interpretation of qualitative interview data. It is argued that International Business research, with a focus on international datasets, equivalence issues, multiple research environments and multiple researchers, will benefit from formalisation. The use of software programmes is deemed to help to substantiate the analysis and interpretation of textual interview data.

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Notes

  1. We concur with Earley and Singh (1995) that the empirical literature in cross-cultural research is plagued with “confusion concerning the role of culture and national context” (Earley/Singh 1995, p. 337). (Yin2003)

  2. Also referred to as ‘differential item functioning’ (DIF). For our context of qualitative research this will be more appropriately labelled ‘stimulus’ bias.

  3. Different response patterns and physical conditions in qualitative interview settings were taken into consideration to establish equivalence of research. While, for example, German managers invited the interviewees into their offices, Austrians usually used more informal settings, such as the cantina or informal meeting spots. Italian managers wanted to meet outside the company premises such as coffee shops.

  4. Countries: Austria, Germany and Italy. The rationale for this was to learn about management idiosyncrasies in geographically close yet psychographically heterogeneous environments.

  5. These big nodes included: “companies’ goals”, “role of management”, “company culture”, “concept of knowledge management”, “origin of the knowledge management system”, “implementation of the knowledge management system”, “measures of knowledge management”, and “ideal knowledge management”.

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Sinkovics, R., Penz, E. & Ghauri, P. Enhancing the Trustworthiness of Qualitative Research in International Business. MANAGE. INT. REV. 48, 689–714 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11575-008-0103-z

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Keywords

  • Qualitative Research
  • Interviews
  • Trustworthiness
  • Reliability
  • Equivalence
  • Emic and Etic Approaches