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Title: The role of narrative in developing management control knowledge from fieldwork: a pragmatic constructivist perspective
Authors: Seal, William B.
Mattimoe, Ruth
Keywords: Pragmatic constructivism
Narrative
Antenarrative
Management control
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © Emerald
Citation: SEAL, W. and MATTIMOE, R., 2017. The role of narrative in developing management control knowledge from fieldwork: a pragmatic constructivist perspective. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 13(3), pp. 330-349.
Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to develop a methodology of business knowledge creation based on a synthesis between the perspective of reality informed by pragmatic constructionism (PC) and critical approaches to narrative analysis informed by antenarrative concepts. Design/methodology/approach – The paper identifies commonalities and contrasts between narrative and PC. Interpreting an original case study of a hotel by deploying both methodologies, the paper shows how a synthesis of the two approaches can help to construct management control knowledge. Findings – PC and narrative have many overlaps and complementarities. Practitioners like stories both to make sense of their own roles and to develop personal strategic agendas. Antenarrative concepts demonstrate the potentially generative properties of organizational storytelling. The PC approach also constructs corporate narratives but, additionally, provides a set of criteria against which we can evaluate the stories of practitioners on the basis of “does it work?”. Research limitations/implications – More interpretive field study processes are called for as a way of testing the robustness of the research design developed in the paper. Practical implications – A successful management control topos has to be business-specific and co-authored with contributions from participants both inside and outside the organization. Narrative and PC research methodologies both encourage reflexivity, in which the researchers explicitly explore not just the positions of their interviewees, but also their own position and reactions. The creation of business knowledge is seen as a co-production between the researchers and the researched, as they share concepts and reflections during the fieldwork process. Originality/value – The paper compares and contrasts two interpretive research methodologies, narrative and a pragmatic constructivist perspective. Especially when the concept of antenarrative is deployed, the two methodologies offer fruitful possibilities for dialogical conversation, as they espouse slightly different views on the nature of actor reality.
Description: This paper is in closed access.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1108/QRAM-06-2015-0055
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/23518
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/QRAM-06-2015-0055
ISSN: 1176-6093
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Business School)

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