In the early days of this blog, I had prepared an initial list of scholars who I wanted to interview, and as many can well imagine, Kathleen Eisenhardt was high on that list. However, our paths never crossed, and I never dared write to her directly, held back by a fear of rejection or by unexpected shyness – can’t say which for sure – and so this interview stayed where it was: on my wish list. It took the pandemic, and my own need to “walk the talk” with students to make it happen. Indeed, to maintain community among our local PhD students during the pandemic, I had begun a series of student-led, online talks with well-known scholars on various aspects of qualitative research. To those who offered to help me with organizing, I had said: “Invite whomever you like.” They answered: “Anyone?” And I said, “Yes, anyone”. In my qualitative methods class, I encourage students never to be shy about reaching out to potential informants, regardless of whether they know them or not, whether they are famous or not, whether they are the CEO, a VP or someone working on an assembly line. It doesn’t matter. I tell them, “Try reaching out. What is the worse than can happen?” So, when the students said they wanted to invite Kathleen Eisenhardt, what could I say? We wrote to her, and she wrote back almost immediately! How amazing was that? We had a brilliant and wonderfully informal group discussion about case study method, and some time after that, Kathleen graciously took time to let me interview her for this blog. And here you have it: an informal discussion with Kathleen about the ups, downs and practicalities of conducting, writing and publishing case study research. Enjoy!
Beth A. Bechky, Jacob B. Melnick Term Professor, Professor of Management and Organizations and Professor of Sociology; NYU Stern
Apologies for this long silence! It has been an eventful year, time was tight and sadly, try as I may, I was not able to post new interviews on the site for a long while. But I’m thrilled to be back with this great interview with Beth Bechky. I first met Beth back in 2009 at an AOM annual meeting. At the time, I was a freshly minted PhD graduate, attending the very popular “Being There/Being Them” ethnography PDW (Professional Development Workshop) at the meeting and it happened that I was assigned to Beth’s table. I was experimenting with video-ethnography at the time and was fishing for ideas. Beth could not have been more helpful and encouraging. In fact, to this date, Beth stands out as one of the friendliest and most genuine persons I came across as a graduate student, a time where most of us are very much under the radar. She’s generously gave time for this no-nonsense interview – read it, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot!
Tim Pollock Farrell Professor of Entrepreneurship Smeal College of Business Penn State University
Last year, Otilia Obodaru and Erik Dane from Rice University contacted me to ask whether I’d be willing to present at a PDW (Professional Development Workshop) they were organizing for AOM (Academy of Management Annual Conference) on the topic of “What constitutes high-quality writing in our field?” Otilia had read our blog, and thought it would be great if I could talk about it at the PDW. I was so excited that someone from outside our network had actually read our blog that I didn’t think to ask who the other speakers were going to be and I immediately said yes. Oh no! It turned out that they had rounded up a pretty impressive panel of people who were or had been associate editors in top journals, and who all had first-hand and extensive (rather than second-hand and fleeting, like me!) experience on the topic at hand. So here I was presenting side by side with the likes of Belle Rose Ragins, Joyce Bono, Kevin Corley and Tim Pollock. The word “intimidating” seems understated under such circumstances. It turns out that everyone was more than gracious. Kevin, of course, I knew (you can read his interview on this blog) and Tim turned out to be this super friendly guy with whom I was able to chat a bit longer after the workshop. He loved the premise of the blog, which prompted me to ask (it’s practically automatic now!), “So, would you like to be interviewed for it?” And so here you have it. This is one of two interviews I’ve done with primarily quantitative researchers (the other is Danny Miller). Differences anyone? Do you see any?