Management and Transcendental Phenomenology: Strange Bedfellows?
Although there is a growing trend towards using qualitative research methodologies in the context of management research, the idea of scientific management is quite resilient. It still encourages a positivist perspective and quantitative research in the investigation of management and organisational issues. In this paper, the author describes a radical departure from the conventional approach. He describes the use of transcendental phenomenology in the investigation of the learning organisation. In the course of the investigation, it became apparent that there were important aspects of congruence between the chosen methodology and the subject of study. The parallels between the Senge (1990) model of the learning organisation and the transcendental phenomenological methodology are explored in the paper. The findings of the research provide new perspectives of the learning organisation that were unlikely to be discovered using conventional management research. The extent to which the term “learning organisation” is an accurate description of the phenomena under investigation is just one of the questions raised by the research. The opening up of new perspectives such as this provides a strong case for using the methodology as a component of other management research.
Keywords: Management Research, Transcendental Phenomenology, Learning Organisation
Dr. Patrick Bradbery
Director, Professional Development Unit