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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Family Business

Edited by Alfredo De Massis, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy and Lancaster University Management School, UK and Nadine Kammerlander, Professor of Family Business, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
This timely Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the methodological challenges of qualitative research in family business. Written by an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in the field, the Handbook provides practical guidance based on the experiences of senior researchers, and features reflective discussion on how to craft insightful, rigorous studies.
Extent: c 480 pp
Hardback Price: $270.00 Web: $243.00
Publication Date: March 2020
ISBN: 978 1 78811 644 2
Availability: Not yet published

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  • eISBN: 978 1 78811 645 9

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  • Business and Management
  • Family Business
  • Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Research Methods in Business and Management
  • Research Methods
This indispensable Handbook provides a timely and comprehensive guide to the methodological challenges of qualitative research in family business. Written by an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in the field, the Handbook takes a hands-on approach, offering valuable insights into a range of methods and related questions.

Providing practical guidance based on the experiences of senior researchers, as well as expanding conceptual understanding of qualitative methods, chapters explore existing practices and issues common to many research projects, such as getting access to informants and technical or publication hurdles. Featuring reflective discussion on how to craft insightful, rigorous studies, the Handbook will increase scholars’ confidence in using qualitative methods in their own research, from traditional case studies to more recent methods such as QCA.

This Handbook will prove invaluable to instructors of qualitative research methods, as well as scholars and students of family business and entrepreneurship. Researchers using qualitative methods in other social sciences will also find its recommendations relevant and useful.
‘One of the reasons for the shortage of qualitative studies published in top academic journals has been the lack of rigorous methodological directions. Alfredo De Massis and Nadine Kammerlander’s Handbook fills this gap by offering an encompassing set of guidelines and clever suggestions to perform rich investigations of the most salient phenomena in family business, and to publish the results. These thoughtful and immediately applicable methods tremendously enhance scholars' ability to understand and explain these complex and fascinating organizations.’
– Carlo Salvato, Bocconi University, Italy

‘Globally, interest in researching phenomena surrounding family businesses and business families is growing. Simultaneously, expectations regarding rigor and quality of research methods are also being elevated. This edited book serves as an invaluable resource for scholars seeking to produce meaningful and impactful qualitative research, not just in family business but in related fields as well.’
– Tyge Payne, Texas Tech University, US

‘This Handbook provides much needed insight into specific challenges and opportunities of doing qualitative research in family business. It offers young (and young-at-heart) scholars excellent guidance, from experienced family business researchers, about available methods and how to best apply them to examine the unique dynamics that characterize family firms.’
– Davide Ravasi, University College London, UK

‘Professors De Massis and Kammerlander have produced a magnificent volume that bridges two timely topics: qualitative methods and family business. I look forward to the many theoretical advancements that will result from the application of the approaches and techniques described herein.’
– Herman Aguinis, The George Washington University School of Business, US

‘This is a superb book on a critical and much-neglected approach to family business research. It offers a set of inspiring chapters by leading authors that do a wonderful job of addressing the core techniques and challenges of qualitative methods as they apply to family firm research. I most highly recommend this book to all family business researchers wishing to plumb more deeply the dynamics, problems and opportunities of family enterprise.’
– Danny Miller, HEC Montréal, Canada
Contributors include: R. Adiguna, N. Bhatnagar, M. Brumana, A. Calabrò, A. Colli, A. Dawson, A. De Massis, C. Dessì, A. Dettori, G. Dorian, K.D. Elsbach, P. Fernandez Perez, D. Fletcher, M. Floris, I. Ghai, W. Gibb Dyer, V.L. Glaser, F. Hoy, A.E. James, J.E. Jennings, N. Kammerlander, K. Kampouri, R. Labaki, G. Laffranchini, G. Lauto, T. Leppäaho, L. Melin, E. Micelotta, L.M. Nor, M. Nordqvist, E. Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, M.J. Parada Balderrama, D. Pittino, E. Plakoyiannaki, C. Pongelli, K. Ramachandran, A. Ruzzene, A.G. Sandig, P. Sharma, E.A. Tetzlaff, J. van Helvert-Beugels, K. Vasilevska, F. Visintin, M. Waldkirch, M. Yusof


1. Frequently Asked Questions in Qualitative Family Business Research and Some Guidelines to Avoid Risky Paths
Nadine Kammerlander and Alfredo De Massis

2. Qualitative Research in Family Business: Methodological Insights to Leverage Inspiration, Avoid Data Asphyxiation, and Develop Robust Theory
Evelyn Micelotta, Vern Glaser and Gabrielle Dorian

3. Full-Cycle Research in Family Business Contexts: Combining Qualitative Case Studies and Quantitative Methods
Kimberly Elsbach and Ishita Ghai

4. Ethnography: A Much-Advocated but Under-Used Qualitative Methodology in Published Accounts of Family Business Research
Denise Fletcher and Rocky Adiguna

5. Historical Methods in Family Business Studies
Andrea Colli and Paloma Fernandez Perez

6. The Evolution of Case Study Methodology in the Study of Family Enterprises
Giacomo Laffranchini and Frank Hoy

7. The Case Study in Family Business: Current Approaches and Suggestions for the Future
Tanja Leppäaho, Emmanuella Plakoyiannaki, Kateriuna Kampouri and Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki

8. Religion and Business Families’ Philanthropic Practices
Navneet Bhatnagar, Pramodita Sharma and Kavil Ramachandran

9. How can Qualitative Research Advance the Understanding of Family Firms’ Internationalization? A Multiple Case Study of Family Firms Internationalizing into China and India
Claudia Pongelli and Andrea Calabro

10. Mapping Narratives in Family Business Studies: A Guideline for Researchers
Michela Floris, Cinzia Dessì and Angela Dettori

11. Growth through Innovation and Internationalization: Exploring the Role of Family Business Identity through Narrative Analysis
Alexandra Dawson, Maria José Parada Balderrama and Alberto Gimeno Sandig

12. Illuminating the Space Between: Investigating Interpersonal Relationships in Family Firms through Qualitative Inquiry
Matthias Waldkirch

13. Reasons, Opportunities, and Methods for a Visual Analysis of Organizational Tensions in Family Business
Mara Brumana, Attilia Ruzzene and Katerina Vasilevska

14. The fsQCA Method in Family Business Research
Daniel Pittino, Francesca Visintin and Giancarlo Lauto

15. Treating Nonfamily Managers like Family: New Insights from a Re-Analysis of Pre-Existing Qualitative Interview Data
Jennifer Jennings, Albert James and Elizabeth Tetzlaff

16. Research methods on emotions in family business
Rania Labaki

17. Why do so Many Qualitative Studies of Family Businesses Get Rejected? Confessions of a recovering Associate Editor of the Family Business Review
Gibb Dyer

18. Engaging Practitioners in Qualitative Family Business Research: An Engaged Scholarship Approach
Judith van Helvert-Beugels, Leif Melin and Mattias Nordqvist

19. Bridging Communication, Building Trust: The Art and Science of Getting Access to Informants and Preparing them for In-Depth Qualitative Inquiry
Leilanie Mohd Nor and Mohar Yusof