Peter Busch
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-501-6.ch008
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There is more than reasonable support for the idea that the conduct of tacit knowledge related research is best commenced from a qualitative perspective (Stenmark, 2000/2001; 2000). The atypical nature of tacit knowledge does not lend itself easily to controlled experiments, whilst the knowledge itself is very much grounded within the organisation and the interactions personnel have with one another. To begin with a set of hypotheses and then seek to disprove these would arguably limit the researcher from the outset. Although both interpretivistic and positivistic research approaches have their advantages, it was felt that a positivistic approach would be more desirable because this would enable the author to broadly follow in the footsteps, though not necessarily precisely replicate, the work conducted by Sternberg’s group at Yale University. As psychologists utilising questionnaires with a statistical interpretation to their results, Sternberg’s group is firmly grounded in a positivistic epistemology. Nevertheless, as Chapter 4 has revealed and as other authors (Cutcliffe, 2000; Partington, 2000) have noted, there is strength in combining both epistemological approaches to a greater or lesser degree. Finally, the methodology adopted did not in any way intend at the start to adopt a critical social science perspective. That is to say, the initial intent of the researcher was not necessarily to force change in the organisation (Neuman, 1997), although recommendations in the concluding chapters of the book may lead to action being taken.

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