Positivism versus Interpretivism: Fire-war on the Methodological Approach in the Study of Organisational Culture

Oluwafemi Emmanuel Idowu


Scholars interested in organisational culture research have kept a fire-war going for years discussing the pros and cons of quantitative versus qualitative ways of examining the concept. The qualitative camp points out that the richness of perceptions and experiences inside an organisation are vital to the deep understanding of cultural dynamics, and they sniff that organisational culture cannot be constrained to a two by two matrix or a list of dimensions. On the other camp, quantitative scholars argue that leaders need to have some hard data, and that the drawbacks of getting slow, expensive, possibly unreliable (unique to the interpretation of the researcher) qualitative information make the usefulness iffy at best. The limitations of the existing studies on organisational culture, serve as the main crux of this article. The author is of the view that existing studies on the concept of organisational culture, may have failed to present a comprehensive picture of the dynamics of culture in the organisation. This article, therefore, argues for the use of mixed methodologies in the study and analysis of organisational culture.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v6i4.10403

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