Courses Reflexive Methodology: Follow up Course

62355 Reflexive Methodology: Follow up Course , 3 sp

Doctoral studies
Teaching language
Course description

This doctoral course is a continuation and follow up on courses given previous years at the Kataja program on reflexive methodology. The course is primarily offered for PhD students and postdocs that have participated in the first course. It is a two-day course, given in Period 1, but the exact dates are still open.
Scholars have increasingly expressed concerns and frustrations about the lack of more novel, influential and relevant ideas published in organizational journals. Gap-spotting, formulaic, pedantic, parochial and boring are frequent pejorative characterizations of current management and marketing research. Many ask for more imaginative and influential work, acknowledging that is not what academics do these days. Instead, according to critics, isomorphism and parochialism rule. The course addresses these problems and suggest ways forward.
The course includes four parts:
1. The idea of reflexivity as a methodological ideal.
Here various views and understandings of reflexivity is addressed and there will be discussions of possibilities and limitations based on participants’ experiences and current projects.
2. Specific methodologies for generating interesting research.
This includes Davis’ ideas on what characterizes interesting research and Alvesson & Sandberg’s methodology bringing Davis’ ideas further. It also includes ideas on creating mysteries in empirical work, i.e. working with empirics challenging established theory .
3. Re-imagining the research process. Dominant and alternative metaphors.
A possible way forward is to metaphorize the entire research process (RP). The WS aims to make a case for the value of a systematic, self-critical and reflexive metaphorization of a number of key elements of the RP. We contend that such a broad and comprehensive metaphorization of RP has the potential of increasing the chances for researchers to generate more interesting and influential ideas and engaging research texts by (a) stimulating provocations and insights, and (b) encouraging the reader to think differently and more actively about several issues that normally are taken for granted or normalized in research.
4. The workshop addresses a framework for novel theorizing, primarily the generation of ideas. In contrast to most conventional theorizing, we argue that phenomena are not simply out there waiting to be investigated and theorized. Instead, truly ‘new’ phenomena – the specification of what is to be theorized – need to be creatively constructed. We elaborate a platform of three interrelated input ingredients from which the phenomenon of theorizing is generated, namely pre-understanding, empirics, and theory. A central argument here is that researcher’s pre-understanding has been largely ignored as an input ingredient in theorizing. We don’t have to rely only on formal theory and data, but can also use the full range of our experiences, observations and general thinking of the phenomena we are trying to develop knowledge of. We then suggest three interrelated strategies for ‘theorizing up’ new phenomena from the three input ingredients. Finally, we elaborate the spiral of theorizing, consisting of a circular movement of five interrelated passage points through which novel theorizing takes place: creating a phenomenon, specifying, clarifying, elaborating and linking the emergent phenomenon to other phenomena.

Learning Goal

You have the skills to follow up, deepen and develop frameworks and ideas within reflexive methodology, i.e. ways of working in research in which researchers widen your horizons, challenge your own frameworks and inclinations and thus develop less predictable, more creative and novel interpretations, ideas and research results.

After completing the course, you will be able to
  • critically reflect on and re-imagine your own research
  • generate interesting research
Limited Number of Participants

A maximum of 20 students in order of registration due to in-class discussions and presentations that require a limited group.


Completed the course 62350 Reflexive Methodology (KATAJA).


In-class discussions based on the literature.

Total Student Workload

80h divided into
Scheduled contact hours: 16 h
Non-scheduled work: 64 h


The course is gradeded Pass or Fail. Active participation in both days of the course is necessary to pass the course.

The seminar discussions are based on the literature and participants are required to have read the literature before coming to class.

  • Alvesson, M. (2003). Beyond neopositivists, romantics, and localists: A reflexive approach to interviews in organizational research. Academy of management review, 28(1), 13-33.
  • Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J. (2011). Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research (First Edition). SAGE Publications Ltd. (Ebook from 2013).
  • Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J. (2018). Metaphorizing the research process. In: The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods. London: Sage. (forthcoming).
  • Davis, M. S. (1971). That's interesting! Towards a phenomenology of sociology and a sociology of phenomenology. Philosophy of the social sciences, 1(2), 309-344.
  • Plus max 100 pp of text.
  • Reference text: (Alvesson, M. & Sköldberg, K. (2018). Reflexive methodology: New vistas for qualitative research (Third edition.). Los Angeles: Sage.)