“Pushed beyond my comfort zone”: MBA student experiences of conducting qualitative research

Catherine Cassell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the extensive use of qualitative research methods in the management field, there has been little empirical attention paid to how business and management students learn qualitative research skills. This research focuses upon the experiences of MBA students who are conducting qualitative research for an assignment, many of them using qualitative research methods for the first time. Through an inductive analysis of students’ reflective accounts of the process, the challenges encountered in conducting qualitative research as a novice are highlighted and the links between the skills required for competent practice in this area and those required for more general managerial
effectiveness demonstrated. It is argued that learning to conduct qualitative research offers a number of additional benefits beyond the substantive content of the domain. These are enabling the development of skills similar to those required for effective managerial practice; opportunities to learn to manage complexity as associated with the current managerial climate; an understanding of the performative nature of management; and the opportunity to challenge existing mindsets in a creative manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119–136
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Issue number2
Early online date27 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018


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