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An iceberg metaphor for CR ontology and epistemology

An iceberg metaphor for CR ontology and epistemology

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ABSTRACT Critical realism (CR) is a useful philosophical framework for social science; however, little guidance is available on which precise methods – including methods of data collection, coding, and analysis – are best suited to applied CR research. This article provides a concrete example of applied qualitative research using CR as a philosophi...

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... are the inherent properties in an object or structure that act as causal forces to produce events (i.e., those appearing at the empirical level). It is the primary goal of CR to explain social events through reference to these causal mechanisms and the effects they can have throughout the three-layered 'iceberg' of reality (see Figure 1). ...
Context 2
... iceberg metaphor (Figure 1) is not meant to suggest that any one level is more or less 'real,' or that the levels do not interact. Indeed, all levels of the iceberg are part of the same entity or, here, the same reality. ...
Context 3
... are the inherent properties in an object or structure that act as causal forces to produce events (i.e., those appearing at the empirical level). It is the primary goal of CR to explain social events through reference to these causal mechanisms and the effects they can have throughout the three-layered 'iceberg' of reality (see Figure 1). ...
Context 4
... iceberg metaphor (Figure 1) is not meant to suggest that any one level is more or less 'real,' or that the levels do not interact. Indeed, all levels of the iceberg are 6 part of the same entity or, here, the same reality. ...

Citations

... An abductive investigation was necessary (Ackroyd & Karlsson, 2014) because critical realism rejects "…the naïve assumption that reality is easily observable" (Delanty & Strydom, 2003, p. 376) and suggests that all theories are fallible (Fletcher, 2017). Thus, we utilized an abductive case study approach and performed systematic combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). ...
... The first stage of data analysis was performed by mapping empirical observations against the theoretical framework ( Fig. 1) as suggested by Fletcher (2017). We first classified data into themes by applying holistic coding (a code applies to a larger unit of data rather than "line-by-line coding") (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014, p. 77) to observe demiregularities (regularities that are contingent on context) as well as anomalies (Fletcher, 2017). ...
... The first stage of data analysis was performed by mapping empirical observations against the theoretical framework ( Fig. 1) as suggested by Fletcher (2017). We first classified data into themes by applying holistic coding (a code applies to a larger unit of data rather than "line-by-line coding") (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014, p. 77) to observe demiregularities (regularities that are contingent on context) as well as anomalies (Fletcher, 2017). In this process, we observed different SI patterns within the same group (i.e., within the same MNC unit) and different identities ascribed to the same country, i.e., India. ...
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Inter-unit collaboration in transnational multinational corporations (MNCs) is central to unlocking MNCs' competitive advantage. We find that managing multilevel interaction of macro-level (social structures within and outside the MNC) and micro-level (individual interpretations and behaviors) factors ensures the implementation of strategic goals regarding inter-unit collaboration. In a case study of Finnish, Russian, and Indian unit collaboration in one European-origin transnational MNC, we observe that individual ascriptions of social identity to Indian colleagues (micro-level factor) affect the MNC's strategy implementation (SI) process and outcomes (macro-level factors). Building on the latter observations, critical realist theory of identity, and the idiosyncratic Indian context, we develop the currently inadequate multilevel theorization on the SI process in the MNC and expand perspectives on social identity in International Business literature. For MNC managers from Western countries, the paper offers insights into factors that should be considered to succeed in strategic and operational inter-unit collaboration with India.
... This multi-levelled view of reality distinguishes the empirical, the actual and the real domain ( Figure 1) (Bhaskar, 1979;Danermark et al., 2002;Fletcher, 2017). The empirical domain concerns observable happenings, such as actions or events. ...
... Empirical engagement is constructed using multiple methods, such as semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observations and action research, from a wide variety of cases and along different timeframes (Marshall and Rossman, 2006). To provide space for deeper analysis and more accurate theory development, critical realism uses theories at the start of empirical inquiry as 'initial theories', which can be developed as the research proceeds (Fletcher, 2017). Along these lines, this research is theory-oriented rather than theory-based, using the framework of 'boundary work' that is adapted for the study of SBMI. ...
Thesis
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This PhD thesis investigates the role of businesses in addressing grand societal challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality. Businesses can address such challenges through innovating new, sustainable business models, but in practice, their contribution has been extremely modest regarding the challenges at hand. To provide a sharper view on the potential of sustainable business models, this thesis explores the processes that businesses and their stakeholders go through in pursuit of sustainable business model innovation (SBMI). Through empirical and theoretical research, this thesis shows that SBMI requires the crossing, redesign and re-alignment of multiple types of organizational boundaries between the business and its multiple stakeholders that affect the desirability, feasibility and sustainability of the innovation. Such a process of stakeholder engagement and alignment can be better understood through boundary work, which involves a journey of exploring, negotiating, disrupting and realigning organizational boundaries based on multiple value creation, and requires brokering to re-align critical boundary dissonances in multi-stakeholder networks. This thesis develops a framework and actionable tool to illustrate how boundary work helps researchers to understand complex stakeholder interactions in SBMI, how businesses can engage in the first steps of collaborative SBMI, and how intermediaries can better support businesses in their boundary work for SBMI.
... This post-positivist position on the one hand seeks an objective truth and reality but at the same time acknowledges the fact that reality can only be known imperfectly. This position includes the assumption that all observations are theory-laden, biases are undesirable but inevitable and inherent to each researcher, resulting from one's world views or cultural experiences [33,34]. ...
Article
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Due to improvements in medicine, the figures of patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC) are increasing. Diagnostics of DoC and prognostication of rehabilitation outcome is challenging but necessary to evaluate recovery potential and to decide on treatment options. Such decisions should be made by doctors and patients' surrogates based on medico-ethical principles. Meeting information needs and communicating effectively with caregivers as the patients´ most common surrogate-decision makers is crucial, and challenging when novel tech-nologies are introduced. This qualitative study aims to explore information needs of informal DoC caregivers, how they manage the obtained information and their perceptions and experiences with caregiver-physician communication in facilities that implemented innovative neurodiagnostics studies. In 2021, we conducted semi-structured interviews with nine caregivers of clinically stable DoC patients in two rehabilitation centers in Italy and Germany. Participants were selected based on consecutive purposeful sampling. Caregivers were recruited at the facilities after written informed consent. All interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and translated. For analysis, we used reflexive thematic analysis according to Braun & Clarke (2006). Caregivers experienced the conversations emotionally, generally based on the value of the information provided. They reported to seek positive information, comfort and empathy with-in the communication of results of examinations. They needed detailed information to gain a deep understanding and a clear picture of their loved-one's condition. The results suggest a mismatch between the perspectives of caregivers and the perspectives of medical profession-als, and stress the need for more elaborate approaches to the communication of results of neu-rodiagnostics studies. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12152-022-09503-0.
... This study was grounded in a critical realism (CR) approach [57]. This approach aligns with CR's ontological realism, meaning, reality exists independent of our knowledge of it, and epistemological constructivism, which argues that the means through which we acquire the truth are limited [58]. ...
... Credibility and rigour were pursued throughout this study, based on the principles of CR in qualitative research [58]. Firstly, all participants were senior support staff with considerable knowledge and experience of the phenomenon under investigation. ...
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The intense, physical contact nature of rugby union often encourages the normalization of risk-taking behaviour resulting in a relatively high acceptance of risk. This study aims to explore safety culture in rugby union from an OSH perspective, with the purpose of assisting coaches and management in their decision-making processes to improve players’ health, welfare, and long-term well-being. In terms of data collection, this study involved semi-structured interviews with senior support staff (n = 15) in elite rugby union. Interview transcripts underwent inductive analysis prior to an abductive analysis that was guided by an established occupational-safety-and-health (OSH) framework. Rugby union players’ safety can be considered from two dimensions: management’s commitment to safety (i.e., safety prioritization, safety empowerment, and safety justice), players’ involvement in safety (i.e., safety prioritization, and trust in other players’ safety competence, and players’ safety concern for the opposition players). Within the themes identified, players’ attitude towards their opponents’ safety which has been rarely considered as a factor for injury prevention is also discussed in this study. If sport support staff (i.e., managers/coaches/medical) can become more involved in players’ performance-orientated training using OSH management processes to aid in their decision-making, their exists the capacity to benefit players’ safe return to play after injury rehabilitation. Meanwhile, directing the development of appropriate behavioural educational interventions to raise safety-awareness amongst players can improve their long-term health and well-being and provide them with the necessary safety and health information to support their own decision-making processes. As a multidisciplinary design, this study contributes new multidisciplinary insights that have the potential to advance managerial practices utilizing an OSH perspective, including decision-making supporting risk alleviation for safety and long-term health and wellbeing initiatives in competitive team sports.
... Three phases of coding and theme development were undertaken in NVivo (version 1.5.2). Seventy-one codes developed through several rounds, which involved a retroductive analytical strategy that moved beyond the constellations of practices and experiences at the empirical level to identify mechanisms that are activated or inhibited at the domain of the real [55,67]. The survey data consisted of nominal and ordinal scale data. ...
... All data were considered and integrated, and are presented in the following section as one coherent piece to capture the interrelationship between contextual structures, the agency of small artisan food producers, the enactment of generative mechanisms and the resulting emergent social phenomena of operating at FMs. The different sources of data represent the complex, contextual and relational world from a CR perspective [17,25,67]. Figure 1 summarises the study's design and shows the relationship between the main aim, theoretical framework, research questions, data collection, levels of analysis, and study outcomes. ...
Article
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A sustainable food system is a key target of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The current global food system operates on market mechanisms that prioritise profit maximisation. This paper examines how small food businesses grow and develop within grassroot economies that operate on different market mechanisms. Focusing on artisan food producers and farmers’ markets, this research highlights the potential of resilient, small-scale, diverse markets as pathways to sustainable food systems. An applied critical realist, mixed-methods study was conducted at a macro (Irish food industry), meso (farmers’ markets in the region of Munster, Ireland) and micro (artisan food producers and their businesses) level. The resulting framework provides a post-growth perspective to sustainability, proposing that farmers’ markets represent an alternative market structure to the dominant industrial market, organised on mechanisms where producers ‘Mind what they make’ and ‘Make peace with enough’. In their resilience, these markets can provide pathways for structural change. This implies a call to action to reorientate policies targeting small food businesses to move beyond the concept of firms as profit-maximizing enterprises and to instead focus on a local food policy framework that reinforces the regional ‘interstices’ within which small food businesses operate to promote diversity, resilience and sustainability in the food system. Keywords: short food supply chains; sustainable food system; post-growth; firm growth; critical realism
... The next steps were the inference of the best explanation and the retrodiction of the most relevant causal mechanisms that could have been responsible for the successful (or unsuccessful) implementation of the local mobility project. This included a visualisation through conceptual maps informed by critical realism and selective coding as suggested by Fletcher [59]. The goal was to graphically show the interdependency between project phases and the related mechanisms. ...
Article
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There is growing interest in the role of integrated mobility services in successfully transforming mobility systems by improving alternatives to individual motorised transport and thus contributing to a reduction in negative impacts on nature and society. This paper analyses the conditions for the successful implementation of local mobility services in Austria by adopting a mixed-methods approach combining grounded theory and critical realism. In total, 15 narrative, semi-structured interviews were conducted, sampled by applying thematic, practical, and criterion sampling and using an analytical procedure of open, axial, and selective coding. Particular attention was paid to the influence of governance structures and related processes, the integration of user needs, and the topic of technology and its role in local mobility services. The results showed that for the success of local mobility services, in addition to the availability of and long-term commitment to funding, the initial phase of a project (e.g., the selection of project partners) and the deployment of collaborative and local participatory target-setting processes are extremely important. Further, the findings showed that the motivation and interest of all stakeholders involved in the projects can be regarded as driving forces for enhanced cooperation, dedication, and resilience throughout the project. In addition, developing and communicating needs-oriented mobility services should be emphasised. Although the analysis showed the importance of the deployment and hence the selection of certain types of technological solutions, it also highlighted the difficulties of governance processes related to choosing and implementing adequate technological solutions regarding cooperation and networking between key stakeholders in the projects.
... Førsteforfatter har i forbindelse med kodearbejdet fundet tematikker og mønstre, som ikke passer ind i de teoretiske deduktive koder, og vaelger induktivt at tilføje nye koder til kodetraeet. Implikationerne herved er, at der anvendes en abduktiv kodestrategi for at få mest mulig ny viden ud af data (Elo & Kyngäs, 2008;Fletcher, 2017 "Så den er solgt på den her måde, at det her, det giver mening, og det vil kunne gavne… man har kunnet se, at noget vil kunne gavne vores patienter i vores afdeling…. man skal gøre det, hvor det giver mening. ...
Article
Artiklen præsenterer et bud på, hvordan ledelse af Capacity Building kan skabes i praksis i etablerede organisationer. Først udarbejdes en syntese af eksisterende litteratur om ledelse af Capacity Building. Herefter undersøges et casestudie af projekt ’Sikkert Patienflow’ i sundhedsvæsenet, hvor casen anvendes til at udfolde, nuancere og tilskrive ny viden til litteraturen. Undersøgelsesspørgsmålet der besvares er ’Hvilke ledelsesmæssige evner kan fremme skabelse af Capacity Building i organisationer?’. Som en del af besvarelsen på spørgsmålet udvikles en teoretisk model (Figur 2) som illustrerer sammenhænge mellem det organisatoriske lederskab og det selv-lederskab, der skal være til stede i styringskæden på forskellige niveauer for at skabe de forandringer, der ønskes.
... Based on this principle, the study pointed out that decentralized political entities could and should be the scientific objective of IR and environmental studies. Moreover it should be noted that in the last decade, plenty of articles focusing on developing the literature methodology and methods of critical realism have appeared (Fletcher, 2017;Hoody, 2019;Hasting, 2021;Dyer & Williams, 2021). In this regard, this brand-new way of taking social movements as actors contributes to this literature by challenging the rooted understandings concerning social ontologies. ...
... The overarching philosophy of the study was Critical Realism (CR). This is because it examined the influence of ambulance service structures, mechanisms, policies, and protocols on how services are delivered by staff and received by Eastern European patients in Lincolnshire (Fletcher, 2017;Walker, 2017). ...
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Background EU enlargement after 2004 was a major factor in increasing Eastern European migration to the UK. This population requires access to high quality public services generally, and ambulance services more specifically. To understand how Eastern European migrants use ambulance care, this study explored the perceptions and experiences of ambulance staff and the Eastern European patients themselves. Methods We undertook qualitative semi-structured interviews across Lincolnshire. Purposive and maximum variation sampling ensured that participants were knowledgeable about Eastern European patients’ use of ambulance care and were demographically diverse. Data were analysed using framework analysis. Results There were interviews with 15 ambulance staff and 12 Eastern European patients. A staff interviewee problematised “Health Tourism”, which suggests that migrants deliberately exploit state-funded healthcare. However, most disagreed. Patient interviewees often undertook medical travel to access healthcare in response to perceived healthcare problems in the UK. Medical travel increased the likelihood of ambulance staff encountering foreign medication. Variable quality of, and access to, professional interpreters prompted patients to rely instead on informal interpreters. Patients did not register with GPs perhaps due to limited understanding of how the NHS worked. This led to inappropriate use of ambulance services. Recommendations for service delivery improvements included: Eastern European language information on how and when to use ambulance care; improving GP registration; and greater engagement between the ambulance service and Eastern European communities. Conclusions Frequent medical travel can limit how Eastern Europeans acculturate to the NHS and anchor roots in the UK. Acculturation is about how migrant cultures adjust to the host country. This is not assimilation, where they dilute their cultural identity. Language and communication barriers, as well as inadequate availability and quality of interpreting services, can impede patient-staff dialogue in time-critical emergencies.
... The second round of coding grouped dominant codes and established trends. Finally, data was collected and analyzed to critique and expand existing theories (Fletcher, 2017). This process resulted in rich insights regarding LGBTQIA + spiritual identity development and the realities of queer religious trauma. ...
Article
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Christian communities teaching traditional theology and ethics, which treat diverse sexualities and gender expansive identities as sinful, can be places where faithful LGBTQIA + people are subject to spiritual abuse. This paper explores the complex dynamics and multilayered mechanisms of this abuse in Australian Evangelical Christianity. It is based on a qualitative research project using 24 semi-structured interviews with LGBTQIA + people who have spent two or more years in Evangelical church settings. The project found that participants were subject to mischaracterization and viewed as a moral threat, and consequently experienced erasure, social distancing, and suffered psychological trauma. The paper uses minority stress and micro-aggression theory to conceptualize these experiences and inform social work practice. It also shows the rich resilience and spiritual growth of participants who navigated trauma and sometimes emerged with a more nuanced and deeper faith. These findings will help queer people coming out in Evangelical churches to understand their experiences, and provide clinicians and others supporting people that have experienced spiritual trauma with conceptual tools and practical examples to aid in therapy and informal recovery settings.