BJM friends paper methodology corner IRIS version June 14.pdf (284.91 kB)
The ethics of researching friends : on convenience sampling in qualitative management and organization studies
journal contributionposted on 2014-06-13, 14:13 authored by Jo P. Brewis
Scholarship on the ethical complexities resulting from friendships which develop with respondents during qualitative data collection is well established. There has also been consideration of the ethics of researching existing friends across various disciplines. But, although management and organization scholars use convenience samples of the latter kind in qualitative research, there is virtually no discussion in our field of the ethical implications. In seeking to rectify this, I draw on my experiences of a project (Brewis, 2011) where I gathered data from six friends on their experiences of and attitudes towards sexual relationships, motherhood and life-work ‘balance’. I discuss the reportage of what sometimes felt like confidences, the use of ‘ex ante’ data, the objectification of participants and difficulties relating to respondent validation, in order to highlight some of the ethical challenges in qualitative management and organizational research with friends.