The Use of Grounded Theory Methodology in Theory Building

The Use of Grounded Theory Methodology in Theory Building

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4252-1.ch002


The chapter discusses the qualitative analysis method of the grounded theory (GT) and its application in the generation or building theory. The emphasis in the GT approach is on building theory rather than validating the existing theories. The GT methodology has been a topic of interest to management researchers and is intellectually challenging. In order to enhance understanding and skills for continuous professional development and to improve conditions, theory building should be considered a vital activity. In new circumstances where social systems cannot provide a certain predictive power, the need for new theories is felt. The topics discussed in this chapter revolve around theory and theory building; inductive, deductive, and abductive approaches to constructing theory; levels, functions, components, and evaluation of theories; research methods used in theory development; and in particular, the GT method and its application in theoretical coding and the reliability of this approach in serving these purposes.
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Theory Building

An insight into the paradigm discussion is presented in Milliken's (2001) research, which accordingly, there is a longstanding debate about the most appropriate philosophical position in the social sciences from which research methods need to be extracted. When the attendees in conferences, seminars and workshops share the same thinking, attending and providing papers and therefore, discussing the theory can be reassuring, but it seems unlikely that it will lead to a discussion of theory building. As an intellectual skill, having the ability to think “out of the box”, sometimes is an indicative of the individual’s knowledge gap.

Of course, a gap in our knowledge is inevitable, and this proves that there are deficiencies and shortcomings in our knowledge that lead researchers to find new solutions to fix them. This implies that there is a need to create new insights into management theory while at the same time, expanding the parameters of management development. By accepting such challenges, management academics prove to be eager to develop new knowledge and impart their findings to a wider audience (Trim and Lee, 2004).

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