Historical Social Research

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Victoria von Groddeck, The Case of Value Based Communication – Epistemological and Methodological Reflections from a System Theoretical Perspective [Abstract]

The aim of this paper is to reflect the epistemological and methodological aspects of an empirical research study which analyzes the phenomenon of increased value communication within business organizations from a system theoretical perspective in the tradition of Niklas Luhmann. Drawing on the theoretical term of observation it shows how a research perspective can be developed which opens up the scope for an empirical analysis of communication practices. This analysis focuses on the reconstruction of these practices by first understanding how these practices stabilize themselves and second by contrasting different practices to educe an understanding of different forms of observation of the relevant phenomenon and of the functions of these forms. Thus, this approach combines system theoretical epistemology, analytical research strategies, such as form and functional analysis, and qualitative research methods, such as narrative interviews, participant observation and document analysis.