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Challenges and practices of interviewing business elites


Ma, Shenghui; Seidl, David; McNulty, Terry (2021). Challenges and practices of interviewing business elites. Strategic Organization, 19(1):81-96.

Abstract

Interviews are an important method for studying a wide range of phenomena, especially those that directly
involve members of the so-called business elite, which typically includes CEOs, top managers, and boards of
directors. While it is necessary to get close to these actors and their settings for gaining valuable research
insights, interviews are challenging interactions to accomplish. Even when one has negotiated access,
members of the business elite are typically time-constrained, knowledgeable, used to being in a dominant
position, and visible in the public domain and involved in impression management. These particularities pose distinctive challenges for collecting rich and authentic empirical material about important organizational,
managerial, and societal matters. Drawing on our own experience, as well as the literature on qualitativeinterviewing and elites research, we discuss how different research designs and interview practices can help
deal with these challenges.

Abstract

Interviews are an important method for studying a wide range of phenomena, especially those that directly
involve members of the so-called business elite, which typically includes CEOs, top managers, and boards of
directors. While it is necessary to get close to these actors and their settings for gaining valuable research
insights, interviews are challenging interactions to accomplish. Even when one has negotiated access,
members of the business elite are typically time-constrained, knowledgeable, used to being in a dominant
position, and visible in the public domain and involved in impression management. These particularities pose distinctive challenges for collecting rich and authentic empirical material about important organizational,
managerial, and societal matters. Drawing on our own experience, as well as the literature on qualitativeinterviewing and elites research, we discuss how different research designs and interview practices can help
deal with these challenges.

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33 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Business and International Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Social Sciences & Humanities > Industrial Relations
Social Sciences & Humanities > Strategy and Management
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:1 February 2021
Deposited On:26 Jan 2021 09:10
Last Modified:24 Jun 2024 01:44
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1741-315X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1476127020980969
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:20546
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English