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Overcoming barriers: Qualitative interviews with German elites

Drew, Hilary


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Dr Hilary Lowe
School Director (Partnerships & International)


Despite the fact that qualitative interviews are reputed to be an effective method of obtaining data from organizational elites, studies are concurrent on a number of obstacles which surround the interviewing of senior management. Problem areas flagged by the literature include issues of access and suspicion towards the interviewer as an outsider. This paper presents experiences with interviewing senior-level HR managers in German organizations. The author attempted to overcome some of the established barriers to interviewing internationals and organizational elites. However, as the paper argues, unique working experience collected in Germany gave the researcher insights into how to interact with senior German managers. In particular, the researcher drew on a previous role as a language trainer to create a method of engaging managers. The semi-structured interviews that followed were free from barriers and resulted in the gathering of rich data which enabled the researcher to better understand processes, networks and relationships


Drew, H. (2014). Overcoming barriers: Qualitative interviews with German elites. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 12(2), 77-86

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2014
Journal Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods
Publisher Academic Conferences and Publishing International
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 77-86
Keywords qualitative interviewing, qualitative interviews, organizational elites, cross-cultural research, business management research
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