Navigating political minefields: partnerships in organizational case study research.
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to examine key challenges associated with conducting politically sensitive research within a workplace setting, and to highlight strategic partnerships that can be developed to address these challenges. METHOD: The author's research on employee mental health issues within a large healthcare facility serves as the foundation for identification and description of "political minefields" that investigators may encounter when conducting organizational case study research. Key methodological principles from the literature on qualitative case study research will frame discussion of how to understand and address political sensitivities in the research process. RESULTS: The benefits of conducting organizational case study research will be outlined, followed by discussion of methodological challenges that can emerge in negotiating entry, collecting data (gatekeepers, researcher reflexivity, participant authenticity and non-maleficence), and communicating research findings. CONCLUSION: Courage, collaboration and clear communication with stakeholders at all levels of the organization are critical to the success of workplace based case study research.
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