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Iiris AALTIO, Jyväskylä University and Lappeenranta University of Technology, Department of Business Administration
Tarja RÖMER-PAAKKANEN, Jyväskylä University


Anne KOVALAINEN, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration


In this workshop we welcome papers that deal with entrepreneurship and small-business management and use qualitative research methodology. Especially papers with some methodological pondering are in focus.

Over the past 15-20 years business economics research has experienced a rise in approaches labeled qualitative. This is the case at least in the Nordic countries and elsewhere in Europe. Many of these studies share similar challenges and opportunities: the position of the researcher in the research process, the special features of data gathering and, even more importantly, the analysis and interpretations of the data in the search for new understanding and contributions to the field. Positioning oneself as a researcher in the study, sometimes being part of field one studies himself/herself, as well as various ethical considerations are everyday life questions are faced by researchers during the process of research.

The production of knowledge and scientific “facts” has lately gained growing attention in scientific discussions and also in the study of enterprising and small business. From one point of angle, studying business and enterprises this even more apt to this pondering, because enterprises cannot be perceived directly, experienced as such, but only through theory and conceptualizations. The many lenses of seeing organizations are evident and have a profound impact on how we approach them, how we form the study design and not at least, which kind of study results we gain.

The whole field of organizations study is therefore highly determined by earlier knowledge, metaphors and concepts. Moreover, the position of the researcher in the study process is focused, and the whole process where the studies get done are seen in the vain of complex interactional relations where the subject of the research in fact gets done, and is not there ‘as such’. These tendencies open up room for researchers, who use qualitative approach, especially in-depth studies and cases as an empirical basis of their investigations.

Because qualitative studies do not usually start from a strict theory or model, reflexivity on the researcher’s part is required from the very beginning. The qualitative approach has sometimes been criticized for not being able to add to the knowledge in the studied field and ending up with isolated bits of knowledge and pieces of understanding. Formost it is easy to reply to these doubts. For instance we can say that the aim of this research usually is to outline contextual knowledge and overrid the requirements of generalizations, and that the subjectivity of the researcher is not a threat but a necessary starting point for a good social science based analysis. However, self-reflection is needed also in using qualitative research methodology and some of the critics should be taken seriously. For instance, without any methodological knowledge the researcher might be attracted to use qualitative research and do its data analysis in naïve ways. Questioning one’s own knowledge creation basics is part of good research.

In many US journals of management the majority of work is done using the quantitative approach, but more and more take in also qualitative good research papers. As well there is a growing number of journals that are based on qualitative research. Moreover, the polarity of quantitative and qualitative does not exist in a pure form but many ways is a simplification. This has always been the tradition in business case studies, which use several kinds of data and its analysis, qualitative as well as quantitative. The main aim is to understand the ‘case’ however it is restricted, and it is not just the use or non-use of numbers that differentiates research. The whole research process is important, starting from covering data collection, and ending to analysis and interpretation using also earlier theory.


We invite papers in the broad field of in-depth studies on entrepreneurship and small-business management. Themes include:

*Findings of studies on entrepreneurship and small—business management using qualitative research methodology
* How to study dynamics and change using in-depth study approach and case-study?
* How to gain good theory out of qualitative in-depth studies? The challenge of theory building
* Position of the researcher in the research process
* Reflexivity and the production of the research subject
* Subjectivity, rich data and analysis
* The research community and the legitimization process of the study
* Companies as partners: challenge and ethical questions
* Using in-depth interviews
* Researcher as a learner in the study process
* Methodological questions beyond the study process
* Studying diversity: ethical questions and reflexivity
*  Diversity aspects: gender, ethnicity, age, culture as a basis of diversity
*  Female managers as leaders in small business
*  Cultures of companies as a in-depth study object
* Triangulation and other sources for reliability
* Study process: Thoughts on data collection, analysis, interpretation, and conclusions
* Combined use of qualitative and quantitative data in the study


Author notification will be sent by 3rd November, 2010
Deadline for full papers is 24th November, 2010


Please click HERE to download the workshop preliminary programme. 



The conference will take place in the premises of the "Fondation Universitaire" , rue d'Egmont 11 in 1000 Brussels.

For joining instructions, please have a look on :http://www.fondationuniversitaire.be/plan.html
(Additional details will be posted in due course)


In case you need a hotel reservation, here are 2 hotels suggested (located in the workshop surroundings) You are requested to contact the hotel directly to make your booking.

Hotel LEOPOLD ****: Rue du Luxembourg 35 - 1050 Brussels
Tel. 32 2 5111828 Fax : 32 2 5141939 -

Hotel ARGUS ***: Rue Capitaine Crespel 6 - 1050 Brussels
Tel : 32 2 5140770 fax : 5141222 - email : reception@hotel-argus.be - http://www.hotel-argus.be

RESOTEL can also help you to find a room : Fax 32 2 7793900 or by email : info@resotel.be

There is a limited number of rooms available in the Fondation Universitaire.  In case you are interested, please contact michelante@eiasm.be


The fee below are VAT excluded.

For participants affiliated with an institution that is member or associate member of the EIASM's
Academic Council
309,66 € (including 9,66 € VAT)
For participants coming from another academic institution 399,66 € (including 9,66 € VAT)

Cancellations made before November 17, 2010 will be reimbursed minus 20% of the total fee. No reimbursement will be possible after that date.

Payments should be made by :

  • The following credit cards: Visa or Eurocard/Mastercard/Access




Ms. Graziella Michelante - EIASM Conference Manager
Tel: +32 2 226 66 62 - Fax:
Email: michelante@eiasm.be