Realist analysis

Realist analysis
Document type
Conference Paper
Herepath, Andrea Jane; Kitchener, Martin
British Academy of Management
Date of publication
9 September 2014
British Academy of Management Conference Proceedings 2014
Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Business and management
Material type

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[Authors' original abstract]

This paper defines an innovative approach to the interplay of intervention, context and mechanism in Pawsonian realist inquiry. Combining realist inquiry with Archerian critical realism and sociological institutionalism, it offers four elaborations of the traditional approach. First, intervention is positioned as a separate analytical category. Second, context is conceptualised as situated—stratified, conditioned, relational and temporally dynamic—and the dominant structural and cultural emergent properties defined. Third, mediation and reflexive theorisation are assigned to mechanism, thereby distinguishing the conceptual elements of mechanism from its ensuing outcome: agential emergent properties, expressed through the unfolding strategic negotiation of change and the mode of institutional work enacted to deliver sustainable outcomes be they elaborative, reproductive, or focally invariant. Finally, outcome is expressed through structural and ideational differentiation. This realist analysis therefore explicates the role of beliefs and values—institutional logics—upon the propensity to act to reveal the contested nature of institutional change.

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