Behind the numbers: Questioning questionnaires

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Einola , K & Alvesson , M 2020 , ' Behind the numbers: Questioning questionnaires ' , Journal of Management Inquiry .

Title: Behind the numbers: Questioning questionnaires
Author: Einola, Katja; Alvesson, Mats
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Management and Organisation, Helsinki
Belongs to series: Journal of Management Inquiry
ISSN: 1056-4926
Abstract: Is complex, ambiguous, and fluctuating social reality measurable? Sometimes yes, perhaps, but often not. At least not in the fairly straightforward way assumed by many researchers. This study is an ethnographic inquiry into data collection during a survey research project. Based on our observations of participants’ spontaneous thoughts and confusions as they filled in questionnaires on “leadership” and “teamwork”, we draw attention to hidden problems in much organizational research. Many respondents found measures ambiguous, irrelevant, or misleading. We (a) underline the inherently interpretative nature of research into complex organizational phenomena, (b) warn against lack of reflexivity and overreliance on existing survey instruments when we study complex social aspects of organizations, (c) identify five categories of possible problems, and (d) suggest paths towards better informed research that take context seriously.
Date: 2020-07-18
Subject: 512 Business and Management
survey studies
critical study
quality of research
qualitative study
quantitative study
research methods
2 - Hybrid open access publication channel
1 - Self archived
1- Minst en av författarna har en utländsk affiliation
1- Publicerad utomlands
0- Ingen affiliation med ett företag
AoS: Leading for growth and well-being

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