Reflecting and Integrating the Contextual Influences of Ambiguities and Institutional Power in Organisational Research Design: A Case of Myanmar

Sandar Win, Alexander Kofinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Our understanding of how an organisation operates is elucidated by the host country's political system. Myanmar has remained abstruse to researchers for many decades, as do most emerging markets prior to their transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy such as China. We establish how the problematising and contextualisation of the methodologies adopted during longitudinal fieldwork in Myanmar (2008 to 2016) has influenced our research focus and question. By reflecting on our experience of conducting organisational research in a highly institutionalised environment, we have identified limitations in the prevalent research methodologies used by the extant literature. Such methodologies tend to be incompatible with the Asian context. This process of problematisation required us to remain flexible and adaptive during the process of the generation of the research questions. We adopted a context-informed theory-building process and reflect on the interplay between interviewer, interviewees, and local institutional contexts. An important insight from this process was the need to nullify the asymmetry of power between the interviewer and interviewees to obtain honest responses rather than superficial data that aimed to satisfy and please the interviewer/institutional context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-370
Number of pages30
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • emerging markets
  • institutional theory
  • interview methods
  • qualitative research
  • research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

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