Doctoral education in business schools is focused on a functional approach to research training. While this approach is necessary, it rarely encompasses reflexivity in qualitative research, despite its importance. This paper provides the groundwork for educators in business schools to reconsider the conventional approach to teaching qualitative methods. It draws on my personal and professional experience as a key resource to shape its examination of doctoral education in conducting qualitative research. The paper offers points of reflection on the struggle students may face in conducting rigorous qualitative research without appropriately understanding the influence of self with previous experience, preconceived ideas, feelings, and even appearance. By emphasizing reflexivity, this paper urges business schools to move away from functional training on research conventions to instead improve students’ process of discovery by emphasizing interactive and transformational components of qualitative research.


doctoral education, qualitative research, research methodology, research training

Author Bio(s)

Eun Su Lee, PhD, is a Lecturer in Management at the Newcastle Business School, the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research interests are in the fields of international human resource management and global mobility, focusing on migrants’ integration journeys in foreign countries and the role of multiple stakeholders, such as governmental organizations, businesses, and support organizations, in facilitating such integrative efforts. Her recent research appears in top-tier international journals, including Academy of Management Perspectives, Human Resource Management Journal, International Business Review, and International Journal of Management Reviews. Please direct correspondence to jeannie.lee@newcastle.edu.au


The author reports no funding was received in support of this research, and there are no competing interests to declare.

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