Elite interviewing in qualitative business research: Challenges and solution

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The elite interview method allows the researcher to collect valuable and rare data through proximity to unique research subjects (e.g., board members), which can help in developing insights into the world of elites. Certain business research subjects (e.g., the experiences of board members, internal dynamics in boardrooms, and board processes) can be effectively explored through elite interviewing because those subjects require knowledge derived from the first-hand experiences of the participants. This methodology is uniquely helpful in examining numerous business topics and processes (e.g., board deliberations and decision-making) and even contentious issues, such as board members’ perspectives on gender-based quotas and gender-based discrimination. The interview method is conducted in an authentic manner, revealing information that is often richer than data collected without proximity to the research subjects.

Gaining access to corporate elites for academic research is challenging because they only interact with those they intimately know and trust. This case offers practical strategies for approaching, recruiting, and interviewing corporate elites. The case study shares several effective strategies for preparing for the interview, creating a reflective and reflexive interview format, and maintaining the integrity of the interview process. The case will also provide valuable practice-based knowledge on demonstrating rigor, validity, and trustworthiness in qualitative research. Finally, the case study will help the reader understand how those strategies can be applied to their elite interview-based business research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Method
Subtitle of host publicationDiversifying and Decolonizing Research
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISBN (Electronic)9781529691511
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2024

Publication series

NameSAGE Research Methods Cases: Diversifying and Decolonizing Research
PublisherSAGE Publications


  • Elite interviews
  • Qualitative methods
  • board composition
  • Discrimination


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