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Problematising qualitative research in organisations: Three voices, three subjectivities, three struggles

Taylor, Alan Gordon; Hayes, Liz; Hopkinson, Clare; Taylor, Alan


Alan Gordon Taylor

Liz Hayes

Alan Taylor


© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the authors’ multiple subjectivities, in research and in practice which are ever shifting in context with each other. The authors present richness of understanding which can be revealed when researchers eschew consensus, certainty and easy solutions. The authors aim to show that plurality of ontological and epistemological approaches combined with diversity in understanding and subjective experience is necessary in qualitative research in organisations. Design/methodology/approach – The authors take a playful and incomplete narrative approach in their critical reflection on the subjectivities being silenced or ignored in organisations and in academia. The authors present an unsettling and ambiguous read but the aim is to question the formulaic, linear, simplistic solutions and structures evident in organisations and academia that silence uncertainty, emotions, voice and creativity through standardisation and the rhetoric of collaboration for performance enhancement. This process the authors have termed philosophical violence. Findings – The authors identify philosophical violence as a dominant theme in qualitative research, in organisational practice and within academia. In contrast, the authors’ embodied subjectivities preclude the reaching agreement or consensus too quickly, or indeed, at all. The authors’ embodied struggles add to the understanding of ambiguity, difference, critical reflexivity and understanding, providing richness and accommodating diversity and paradox in the inquiries in the organisations. Originality/value – The authors show the struggles as hopeful and the non-collaborative collaboration as a resource from which the authors can individually and jointly develop new understandings of working and thus survive the philosophical violence found in organisations and in research. Honouring subjectivities is essential for rich qualitative research in organisations.


Taylor, A. G., Hayes, L., Hopkinson, C., & Taylor, A. (2016). Problematising qualitative research in organisations: Three voices, three subjectivities, three struggles. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 11(2), 127-146.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 1, 2016
Publication Date Jun 13, 2016
Journal Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal
Print ISSN 1746-5648
Electronic ISSN 1746-5656
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages 127-146
Keywords intersectionality, post-structuralism, feminism, power, queer theory, critical reflexivity
Public URL
Publisher URL


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