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And We're Back! This Time with Qualitative Research: The "Who"

Welcome back to “What The Heck Does Amanda Have Cooking For Us This Week,” with your host, Amanda!

Welcome back to our Leadership Chronicles! This week we are looking into Qualitative Reasearch! “OOOOOOOOOO” After diving into the numbers last week, it’s time to switch gears and feel our audience and researchers.

We will continue tackling a specific item and concentrate on the “who” this week. “Who” refers to the individual/individuals the authors chose to study for research. I wanted to pay close attention to the authors research topic then find out who they chose to answer their research questions.

The three articles examined today:

  1. Management Accounting Change as an amplifier of a leadership dispute: an ethnography of convergent and divergent leader–follower relations.

  2. Enhancing Team Learning Through Leader Inclusiveness: A One-Year Ethnographic Case Study of an Interdisciplinary Teacher Team

  3. Reimagining Leadership Through the Everyday Resistance of Faculty of Color.

I promise this post won’t be long!!! Just follow and nod your head***

Article 1

Our First article Management Accounting Change as an amplifier of a leadership dispute: an ethnography of convergent and divergent leader–follower relations, explored the role of leadership in management accounting change process (Bassani et al., 2021). The researchers assumed that leadership is a more complex and multilayered process that requires more perspective (oh, don’t we know). The author's primary objective was to argue that leaders and followers both shape reality. The article took place in an accounting company (more numbers, yay...... just kidding).

The Who

The authors chose to conduct an ethnographic study based on interviews and observations, but they only chose to focus on one individual (which is indeed interesting). The participant worked part-time in the company and was introduced first as a student then eventually taking on the role of a supporter in the accounting department (Bassani et al., 2021). The author’s chose this participant based on her knowledge about the company and the varying layers she portrays within the organization. The participant was the definition of started from the bottom.

The authors concluded that leading and following behaviors can occur in different directions and from diverse people (Bassani et al., 2021). The leader follower relations dynamics can affect the management accounting change process (Bassani et al., 2021).

Article 2

The authors of Enhancing Team Learning Through Leader Inclusiveness: A One-Year Ethnographic Case Study of an Interdisciplinary Teacher Team, focused on leader inclusiveness. The authors wanted to understand how leader inclusiveness manifest itself in a successful interdisciplinary team (Meeuwissen et al., 2021). Simply put, they wanted to see if a successful leader could be inclusive of everyone with a diverse team of people.

The Who

The study was conducted through an ethnography study which included observations, interviews and analysis of email communication between the participants (Meeuwissen et al., 2021). The author’s chose to pick an existing interdisciplinary teacher team who was already known to be successful (give them a leg up I see). The team consisted of individuals from varying medical backgrounds including biomedical and social sciences.

The authors concluded if you create an environment who is engaging, inviting, or connecting, the behaviors of the team were found to promote learning. That will inspire the leader to exhibit more inclusiveness (Meeuwissen et al., 2021).

Article 3

Our last article (told you it wouldn’t be long), Reimagining Leadership Through the Everyday Resistance of Faculty of Color focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) studying faculty of color (FOC). The authors wanted to observe the FOC and how they navigate and engage in everyday resistance strategies (what issues arise bring FOC and how do each navigate them).

The Who

All 16 participants were FOC chosen primarily through a listserv. Once selected, the FOC had to fill out a pre-screening survey asking certain identity questions. 10 participants were selected this way, the other 6 were selected through snowballing sampling (members were asked if they knew anyone who might identify in the FOC category). In total, 9 Latinx, 3 Asian, 3 Multiracial, 1 Black, 1 Indigenous. 10 women, 5 men, 1 nonbinary.

The article concluded by noting that FOC disproportionately engage in invisible forms of labor to “serve the institution” (Quinteros, & Covarrubias, 2023). Along with this, there was a lack of institutional support for DEI leadership.

Let’s Discuss!

We analyzed 3 articles all of which used some form of ethnographic methodology but went about it differently. Each article had a unique way of gathering participants.

The first two articles were very selective in their process. Article 1 chose one participant and chose her because of her direct connection to the company, but also because of their varying titles within the company. Article 2 had a preselected team to answer their research question.

Article 3 was the only article to have a prescreening before deciding on its participants.

So What?

What does any of this mean?

Just like quantitative research, qualitative research gathers data to tell the audience a story; but this time through narratives.

We are gathering information to make a generalized assumption about a topic. It’s important to choose participants who meet the standards, but what happens if we are too biased and only choose participants who will agree directly with our research arguments? Is that really making a good, generalized assumption?

With qualitative research I do believe we need parameters, but must keep in mind not to select our participants based on biased needs. We need the research questioned answered, but should we first create a non-biased prescreening (that way it is totally random, but still selects the individuals that fit the scope)?

Something for me to keep in mind as well.

If you need a visual representation of this please click here! Otherwise, see you next time)

Thank you for reading!


Bassani, G., Pfister, J. A., & Cattaneo, C. (2021). Management accounting change as an

amplifier of a leadership dispute: an ethnography of convergent and divergent leader–

follower relations. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 34(9), 104-134.

Meeuwissen, S. N., Gijselaers, W. H., van Oorschot, T. D., Wolfhagen, I. H., & oude Egbrink,

M.G. (2021). Enhancing team learning through leader inclusiveness: A one-year

ethnographic case study of an interdisciplinary teacher team. Teaching and Learning in

Medicine, 33(5), 498-508.

Quinteros, K. N., & Covarrubias, R. (2023). Reimagining leadership through the everyday

resistance of faculty of color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

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