“Practice Research: An Alternative Methodology for Qualitative Research”
Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research
University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Friday, February 20
**SSPA 2112** (note location other than for previous COR events)
Light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 15.
This workshop offers an interactive introduction into practice research as an alternative methodology for qualitative research. A practice perspective has become increasingly influential and applied to the study of phenomena as different as knowledge, culture, technology, routines or policy-making. The practice turn not just offers a conceptual alternative to existing social and cultural theories (practice theory). It has also developed into an innovative and inspiring re-search strategy (practice methodology) that differs from and complements more established approaches, such as grounded theory, case study or discourse analysis. The workshop provides a users perspective on common principles and practices of a practice methodology. A major focus will be on how a practice lens opens up a unique way to study and re-conceptualize axiomatic categories of social life, taking the weathered concept of power as exemplar. The workshop reports on a late-stage empirical project that attempts to do just that and engages participants in a practice-based analysis of data from this study.
Short bio: Torsten Schmid is an Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research and Strategic Man-agement at University of St. Gallen (a leading European business school, located in Switzerland). In my research, I aim at understanding and informing the fundamental transformation and re-structuring of large, complex corporations. My current research interests center around the ques-tion of how these organizations enact and cope with related power dynamics. For this, I combine various practice theories with extended, ethnographically informed, longitudinal and collaborative, field studies of strategic change programs at leading European firms. My work is motivated by the potential of practice theory to develop alternative relational conceptualizations of power that integrate the functionalist concern for effective strategic leadership with the critical agenda of human emancipation. Following a pragmatist tradition, I aim for research that has a human orientation and is practically useful. My interest in power dynamics in the context of large-scale strategic change is, therefore, also motivated by a concern for learning from and educating employees and executives on how to maintain a collective capacity to act in current conflictual set-tings.
This practice orientation also informs my teaching that comprises innovative practice-based formats in strategic management and qualitative methods, including graduate and PhD courses at various universities. I am also in charge of consulting qualitative research projects at my university. A collaborative research project with Prof. Martha S. Feldman brings me to UCI where I look very much forward to writing, teaching and engaging with fellow scholars.