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36.1 - Management Research

Special Issue
Mixed Issue
HSR Vol. 36 (2011) No. 1: Special Issue: Methods for Qualitative Management Research

Patricia Wolf, Jens O. Meissner, Terry Nolan, Mark Lemon, René John, Evangelia Baralou & Silke Seemann (Eds.): Methods for Qualitative Management Research in the Context of Social Systems Thinking

This HSR-Issue offers a Print Version of the FQS Online Edition (FQS 2010, 11/3). The papers follow three thematic threads that seem to be of particular importance to qualitative ma-nagement research from the stance of systems theory. The first of these themes relates to observation, i.e. the observable in management research. The second stream discusses up to date methods and the design of system theoretic studies for application in empirical research. And the third thread highlights the implications of those studies on what was studied, i.e. management in organizations. The presented papers offer a variety of ap-proaches for designing and conducting system theoretic research projects as well as how to present the findings within the respective research field. The term “social systems” is derived chiefly from the theoretical starting point propounded by Niklas LUHMANN. A key underlying assumption for this special is-sue is our belief that the reluctance of the scientific com-munity to apply LUHMANN’s social system theory in management research boils down to first the relative difficulty readers face when trying to follow his writing and the complexity of the theoretical approach, and, second and more significantly, a missing methodological basis for conducting research grounded in LUHMANN’s social system theory and related theoretical approaches. A very strong motivation for the composition of the special issue was the – from the perspective of qualitative management studies – under researched field of methods using a social systems approach. The most important driver for reprinting the special issue in Historical Social Research is the insight that social systems research can not be conducted without the knowledge about the historical development of a specific situation and the evolutionary dynamics of social systems. Socially constructed presence is only interpretable and understandable by knowing and reflecting on the development path of an organization, taking its stories and narrations into account. Thus, this issue contributes to extend the methodological understanding of historic social research with relation to organization and management studies.