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Definition of “management research paradigm”
According to Krishnaswamy, Sivakumar, and Mathirajan (2009) a research paradigm is “a framework within which all thinking and theories of science are ordered” (p. 561). Neergaard and Ulhøi (2007) consider entrepreneurship and management, the best examples of “a pre-paradigmatic research field” (p.8).
It is obvious that properly chosen management research paradigm may be a good strategy for conducting a research (Gill & Johnson, 2002).
Management research paradigms are considered to be the research methods with different views on the nature of the reality of the research, on the knowledge acceptable in the research, on the role of values, and on the techniques which should be used while data collection (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). Moreover, using different paradigms while the research, managers want to pursue different goals and achieve various results.
The explanation of the four management research paradigms
There are four main management research paradigms: positivist paradigm, realism paradigm, interpretivist paradigm and pragmatism paradigm (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2009). Here is a brief description of each of these paradigms.
Positivist paradigm is defined as the research method aimed at the search for the information from the unique point of view, without referencing to other issues (Somekh & Lewin, 2005). In other words, only the primary information which may be observed is used, without referencing to other scholars. The data is collected by means of mostly quantitative method and highly structured with numerous samples.
Realism paradigm is defined as the research method aimed at searching for the truth by all means and keeping the sense of humility to the made conclusions (Owen, 2006). The researcher pays much attention to the information collected by other scholars, as well as the cultural and world views.
Interpretivist paradigm is the way of quantitative research used in social science where the focus is the human being and the methods he/she uses for interpreting the reality (Immy, 1997). The main purpose of such research is to investigate and explore something new, without using many examples. This kind of the research is usually bound with the previous research, but the conclusion are always different.
Pragmatism paradigm is defined as the social constructivism with the ideographic primary mode of the research, observation primary source of knowledge, with high need for complex, quantitative management in the information system (Fishman, 1999). Practice is the main method for this paradigm of the research which helps with data interpretation.
Positivist research paradigm and interpretivist paradigm
The motivation is extremely important in the research as it makes people conduct the research in the way they have decided to undertake it (Kothari, 2008). While using either a positivist research paradigm or an interpretivist paradigm, the researcher is usually motivated in a different way due to the differences in the main idea of the research.
Thus, using positivist research paradigm for looking for “work motivation”, a researcher will want to explain and understand what he/she has considered from the world and share the results.
Interpretivist paradigm, otherwise, will use the method of understanding of the world, but by the desire to interpret the phenomena from the personal point of view and share this understanding with others (Pollard, 2002). Thus, looking for a “work motivation” with the help of different research paradigms, different results are going to be achieved.
Fishman, D. B. (1999). The case for pragmatic psychology. New York: NYU Press.
Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2002). Research methods for managers. New York: SAGE.
Immy, H. (1997). Basic concepts for qualitative research. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
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Kothari, C. R. (2008). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques. Delphi: New Age International.
Krishnaswamy, K. N., Sivakumar, A. I., & Mathirajan, M. (2009). Management Research Methodology: Integration of Methods and Techniques. Delphi: Pearson Education India.
Neergaard, H. & Ulhøi, J. P. (2007). Handbook of qualitative research methods in entrepreneurship. Camberley: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Owen, J. M. (2006). Program evaluation: forms and approaches. London: Guilford Press.
Pollard, A. (2002). Readings for reflective teaching. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. London: Pearson Education.
Somekh, B. & Lewin, C. (2005). Research methods in the social sciences. SAGE.