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The Business Case for Diversity in Public Organizations: A Study Using Mixed Methods

Case
By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This multi-year research adopts a mixed-methods approach. The research lasted for 6 years and comprised four sub-studies, which together answer the central research question. The researcher decided to divide the central research question into four partial studies for several reasons: first, due to the complexity of the subject; second, the research time and capacity available; and third, because of the use of different methodologies, research designs, and analytical approaches. Although answering the central question with separate sub-studies had the advantage of making the process manageable over time, it did present the researcher with the challenge of ensuring the coherence of the various studies vis-à-vis the overall research. While her prior research planning and a thoughtful research approach helped, it was above all her flexibility in research execution that was of greatest value in completing this dissertation successfully and, more interestingly, as a part-time researcher within the scheduled time. The research was conducted in the Dutch public sector, the Netherlands’s largest employer, with more than 1 million employees spread over 14 government sector segments. To conduct high-quality research that was realistic in scope, she worked in phases and did not involve all areas of the public sector in her research. Practically, it was not feasible to incorporate all 14 segments as cases into each sub-study, so the researcher opted for a realistic approach that included the specific public sector segments that were most suitable for each sub-study. This SAGE research method case discusses these experiences of the researcher and other points of interest, such as conducting research in the same organization for which the researcher worked.

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