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How to Interview Managers? Methodical and Methodological Aspects of Expert Interviews as a Qualitative Method in Empirical Social Research

  • Rainer Trinczek
Part of the Research Methods Series book series (REMES)

Abstract

In discussions on methodology, purists frequently raise objections to the expert interview1 on grounds of it being a “dirty” method. Expert interviews, they claim, operate in a “no-man’s-land” somewhere between the qualitative and quantitative paradigm2 devoid of much profound methodological reflection. Flexibly applied in empirical research, relying more or less on an interview schedule depending on the research interests and the specific research question involved, conducted in a more or less open fashion, the data prepared, analysed, and interpreted in some obscure fashion according to homemade recipes, expert interviews, in the eyes of methodology gurus from the ranks of qualitative as well as quantitative methodology, fail to meet the standards of either one of the paradigms. The social researchers M. Meuser and U. Nagel have experienced this with the qualitative research community: “Whenever the word “guided interview” falls, relentless scepticism from hard-line advocates of “soft” methods is guaranteed. Resort to concepts such as semi-structured or focused interview does little to remedy this — quite to the contrary” (Meuser and Nagel, 1989, p. 8, translated from German).

Keywords

Private Life Expert Interview Interview Situation International Business Research Focus Interview 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Further readings

  1. Bloom, N., Krabbenhöft, K. and Lamba, N. (2006) LSE — University of Cambridge — Stanford University — Management Interview Guide, http://www.stanford.edu/~nbloom/ManagementInterviewGuide.pdf.
  2. Welch, C., Marschan-Piekkari, R., Penttinen, H. and Tahvanainen, M. (2002) “Corporate elites as informants in qualitative international business research” in International Business Research Review 11, 611–28.Google Scholar
  3. Thomas Th. R. J. (1993) “Interviewing important people in big companies” in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 22, 80–96.Google Scholar

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© Rainer Trinczek 2009

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  • Rainer Trinczek

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