When investigating management issues, researchers use various inquiry methods depending on the research goals and the type of data that best fits the study. In the majority of cases, the research in the management field is preferred to be structured and organized due to the specifics of the field, where organization and procedure are essential (Van den Berg & Struwig, 2017). However, not all the topics related to management are particularly reliant on quantitative inquiry, which is commonly assumed to provide accuracy and structure. Indeed, the modern approaches to organizational management involve an abundance of issues based on psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and other predominantly subjective elements that necessitate a qualitative method. In particular, when investigating organizational stress management and its importance, qualitative research methodology best fits the study goals since it allows for collecting valuable qualitative data. In this regard, the opinions of experts and the variety of managerial approaches constitute the basis of the research study since the phenomenon and its impact on an organization are most effectively studied using qualitative methods.
Academics have argued in favor of using qualitative research in the management field. In particular, Van den Berg and Struwig (2017) have proposed conducting structured and semi-structured qualitative interviews to elicit answers to open-ended questions concerning a research topic. The researchers provide a theoretical justification for using qualitative inquiry, stating that “qualitative research can add value through rigorous, structured research designs” (Van den Berg & Struwig, 2017, p. 109). Their primary interest is in consensual qualitative research using semi-structured interviews since this approach allows for collecting data by several researchers for thematic categorization and reaching a consensus between the researchers (Van den Berg & Struwig, 2017). Moreover, the authors of the summarized article differentiate several steps of such an inquiry, documentation analysis, interview conducting, and data categorization being the most important ones.
Therefore, for the purposes of the current research study investigating organizational stress management and its importance, structured qualitative interviews might be the most applicable data collecting method. As for the data analysis approach, a thematic analysis might be most effective since it allows for categorizing the themes identified in participants’ responses for further pattern allocation and phenomenon explanation. Indeed, a structured interview will provide a solid structure and procedural accuracy to the qualitative research, which is essential for the management field. Questions for the interviews will be generated based on relevant literature and organizational issues related to stress management. The questions will be the same for all participants, which will allow for consistency in data analysis and rigor in thematic analysis conducting. Open-ended questions will elicit lengthy responses with commentaries and justification provided by the interviewed experts. The researcher will then process the interview answers categorizing them by themes and domains separately, identifying “consistencies in the core ideas” (Van den Berg & Struwig, 2017). It will help unveil the reasons, manifestations, and coping approaches for stress in organizations from various angles.
Another significant advantage of a qualitative method in the context of this study is that it allows for identifying a variety of aspects of the investigated problem, which might not be available otherwise. In other words, since quantitative research necessitates formulating hypotheses, it implies a researcher-induced limitation of the scope of issues. In qualitative research, on the other hand, there is no limitation to the scope of problems since open-ended questions provide participants with opportunities to share their own opinions.
Having justified the applicability of the qualitative structured interview method for the proposed research topic, one should design questions for the interviews concerning the importance of organizational stress management. These questions are listed below:
- What is your position in the company, and how long have you been working at this position?
- How would you define stress in the context of an organization?
- What are the most common manifestations of organizational stress as perceived at an individual level?
- Have you ever experienced or witnessed organizational stress on an individual level in your career? Describe your experience.
- What are the manifestations of organizational stress at a company level? Share your experience.
- What are the outcomes of stress in an organization? How would you estimate the scope of impact of stress on organizational performance and employee accomplishment in particular?
- What are the stress management strategies and policies in effect at your organization? How effective are they, in your opinion? Why?
- What are some of the most effective stress management approaches that you know of, have witnessed, or experienced? What results are they producing? Why?
- What risks do companies face with no stress management policy or with a poor one in place?
- What would you recommend to do for a company with stress management-related problems?
Conclusively, these ten questions will be helpful in exploring the research topic because they target the different manifestations of the problem at both macro and micro levels. Moreover, they are designed to elicit comprehensive and justifiable answers from the participants for a more in-depth identification of the reasons why stress management is essential for organizations. The designed questions will allow the researcher to collect credible, authoritative, and informative qualitative data for a reliable and rigorous analysis and interpretation of results.
Van den Berg, A., & Struwig, M. (2017). Guidelines for researchers using an adapted consensual qualitative research approach in management research. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 15(2), 109-119.