Documenting the invisible – on the ‘how’ of process research: (Re)considering method from process philosophy

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Currently, there is a growing field in organization studies, reflecting a stream in social science more broadly, which seeks to encompass a process philosophical view of the world as multiple and in constant becoming. However, this raises new questions and challenges to the field of methodology: If movement and process are the basic forms of the universe, then the vagueness and multiplicity that come with the flux of the world are not to be ruled out by rigorous research designs; rather, relating to vagueness and multiplicity may be the very precondition of approaching the studied phenomena. For some scholars, this has been an occasion for deeming the discipline of methodology ‘dead’ or ‘emptied’. In contrast to such claims, this article argues that the scholar doing empirical research from approaches drawing on process philosophy to no less extent than other scholars must deal with problems of methodological character. However, he or she may need a renewed understanding of traditional methodological categories such as documentation, validity and variation. Rather than cancelling such concepts, this article experimentally reconsiders them in a process view, using a piece of observational material to think from. The article suggests that process philosophy may open up a methodological thinking that has room for a more connotative, playful way of relating to research material – which does not demand from a method to overcome the gap between what is there and what is captured but makes use of this gap as a space of invitation and play. Rather than adhering to the promise of ruling out vagueness and filling out a gap, the article, therefore, in itself aims at being such an invitation for a connotative, playful methodology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMethodological Innovations Online
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017


  • methodology
  • organization theory
  • innovation


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