Evaluative practices in qualitative management research: a critical review

Gillian Symon, Catherine Cassell, Phil Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper critically reviews commentaries on the evaluation and promotion of qualitative management research. The review identifies two disjunctures: between methodological prescriptions for epistemologically diverse criteria and management journal prescriptions for standardized criteria; and between the culturally dependent production of criteria and their positioning in editorials and commentaries as normative and objective. The authors’ critical social constructionist analysis surfaces underlying positivist assumptions and institutional processes in these commentaries, which they argue are producing (inappropriate) homogeneous evaluation criteria for qualitative research, marginalizing alternative perspectives, and disciplining individual qualitative researchers into particular normative practices. The authors argue that interventions to encourage more qualitative research need to focus as much on editorial, disciplinary and institutional practices as the practices of individual researchers, and they make recommendations for changes that may allow qualitative management research to develop in a more supportive context by recognizing philosophical diversity as legitimate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-154
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date13 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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