Advancing Qualitative Meta-Analyses: A Realist and a Constructivist Approach

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Qualitative meta-analyses have gained increasing attention among scholars in management and organization theory. However, existing approaches reveal some inconsistencies that need to be overcome in order to unfold the full potential of the method. First, while previous approaches refer to a version of realism that is problematic as it either overlaps with notions of interpretivism or positivism, a purely constructivist perspective of knowledge synthesis is entirely absent in the literature. Second, most previous qualitative meta-studies have drawn primarily on variance instead of process approaches to synthesize existing findings which is surprising as understanding processes is a key focus in qualitative research. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to present two very different approaches for conducting a qualitative meta-analysis that are informed by two opposing philosophical positions. These are, as we suggest, a realist and a constructivist research design of a qualitative meta-analysis. We illustrate these two approaches in the context of process theorizing. As a result, we show how both approaches differ in synthesizing qualitative evidence, show what kind of outcomes they generate, and finally discuss different quality criteria to evaluate both types of meta-analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationChicagpo
PublisherAcademy of Management (Briarcliff Manor, NY)
Publication date02.07.2018
Publication statusPublished - 02.07.2018
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management - ACM 2018 - Chicago, Illinois, United States
Duration: 10.08.201814.08.2018
Conference number: 78

    Research areas

  • Management studies - AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2018, AOM Chicago 2018, Best Paper