(2014) Human Studies 37 (4).

In search of collective experience and meaning

a transcendental phenomenological methodology for organizational research

Gabriel Henriques

pp. 451-468

The Husserlian phenomenological approach to organisational research as a way to understand how collectives experience and mean their work context, is rarely used although, when it is, it often functions as a negative criticism of objectivist methods. The sociological potential of phenomenological concepts to enable understanding of subjective experience of social contexts, and the characterisation of those social contexts through ideal type construction, deserves to be used more extensively in a positive proposal of organisational research methodologies. However, a consistent phenomenological approach—with its inherent qualities that enable the transcendental understanding of subjective phenomena and social objectivity—can be sociologically fruitful only if it benefits from accumulated sociological knowledge, realised by various approaches that discuss macro and micro aspects of organisations. The proposed phenomenological methodology considers both aspects. It takes account of social theories that consider the influences of both the macro environment and institutionalisation on structure and culture through their relationship with collective and individual action. Also, it performs collaboration between two close perspectives which recognise the importance of the subjective meanings of the individuals constituting the collective: Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and Weber's ideal type construction. It also discusses context, participant selection, the concepts of saturation and generalisation, and the applicability of the methodology.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-014-9332-2

Full citation:

Henriques, G. (2014). In search of collective experience and meaning: a transcendental phenomenological methodology for organizational research. Human Studies 37 (4), pp. 451-468.

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