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From Positivist to Interpretivist: Putting an Innovative Spin on Traditional Grounded Theory

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By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Business and Management
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Abstract

This case study describes the research carried out for fulfillment of the degree of doctor of philosophy. The study was qualitative in nature, utilizing a grounded theory methodology with an interpretative stance, whereas all my prior research experience utilized quantitative data collection methods and a positivist stance. As such, I approached this research from a non-traditional grounded theorist approach and due to this conducted the research in a slightly different way than would be expected for traditional grounded theory research. My objective for undertaking the research was to investigate how small firms achieve high growth, what factors are crucial in this development, how these factors develop over time, and to what level they need to be developed to in order for growth to occur. Therefore, my research involved analyzing firm development and from this I created a growth platform model and theory. This case study depicts the journey I took from developing the initial research questions through to conducting data collection and analysis to creating the resultant growth platform model and theory. The findings generated through this research have the potential to aid small firm practitioners and policy makers in their achievement of high growth. Therefore, the research is also quite unusual for grounded theory work in its practical ambitions, as grounded theory tends to be used to generate new theory intended for academic use, not to generate models and theory aimed to be used by practitioners. The case study also provides insight into the challenges that I faced utilizing this methodology, especially when approaching it from a positivist grounding.

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