The Possibilities of Phenomenology for Organizational Research

Michael Gill

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Qualitative researchers have developed and employed a variety of phenomenological methodologies to examine individuals’ experiences. However, there is little guidance to help researchers choose between these variations to meet the specific needs of their studies. The purpose of this article is to illuminate the scope and value of phenomenology by developing a typology that classifies and contrasts five popular phenomenological methodologies. By explicating each methodology’s differing assumptions, aims, and analytical steps, the article generates a series of guidelines to inform researchers’ selections. Subsequent sections distinguish the family of phenomenological methodologies from other qualitative methodologies, such as narrative analysis and autoethnography. The article then identifies institutional work and organizational identity as topical bodies of research with particular research needs that phenomenology could address.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-137
Number of pages19
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number2
Early online date22 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2014


  • phenomenology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Methodology
  • hermeneutics


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