In this paper we explore crystallization in terms of its contribution to qualitative management research. This exploration of crystallization is based on a postmodern view where we utilize triangulation as a point of departure. Currently, the use of crystallization is underdeveloped in the management discipline. Qualitative literature and metaphors are utilized to develop a focus on moving qualitative management research away from positivist terms. To do this we crystalize crystallization with an emphasis on the embodiment of the qualitative researcher as the primary tool in addition to the development of rigor through credibility and trustworthiness. This conceptual approach can benefit qualitative management researchers by drawing upon development and advancement of other disciplines. It is the practice of theory rather than the presentation of theory. The alignment of qualitative management research through a multi-genre approach follows the evolution of qualitative research methods. We aim to stimulate the conversation and position crystallization within the field of qualitative management research as a method for obtaining deeper and richer understanding of phenomena whilst building rigor, allowing creativity and developing intuition for the interpretivist qualitative management researcher.


Crystallization, Triangulation, Qualitative Management Research, Embodying, Interpretevist

Author Bio(s)

Heather Stewart is a lecturer in management from Griffith University, Australia. After more than 15 years of management experience in both corporate and small business her research is focused on qualitative management research with her doctorate exploring the collaboration and continual learning of sustainable management practices in the SME context. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: h.stewart@griffith.edu.au.

Rod Gapp, PhD, is a senior lecturer at Griffith University’s Business School, Australia. He has over 20 years of experience in organizational development focused on enhancing outcomes through individual and group development in areas of innovation, change, quality and sustainable management practices. Current research interests include health and SME management aimed at building intrapreneurial teams. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: r.gapp@griffith.edu.au.

Ian Harwood, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Management. Following fifteen years of managing strategic change programs and process improvements in industry, his doctoral thesis explored the role of risk in post-merger and acquisition integration. Ian’s continuing research interests are in project management, corporate responsibility and qualitative research methods. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ah@soton.ac.uk.


The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the insights and encouragement received from the reviewers, many qualitative management researchers and others outside of management, specifically Laura Ellingson.

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