Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Access to cases in public organisations

"getting acquiescence to interviewees is perhaps the easiest task in case study research" {Stake, 2005:65}
Such acquiescence is not easy for researching consultant-client relationships. Both parties are shy - skittish. Getting into central government is even more difficult because of the sensitivity and secrecy - hardly surprising given the criticism central government departments can face, like "x department spent so much on consultants or £m wasted on failed government IT. It's about politics here on the BBC. And selling papers here.

Such criticism may not be deserved - government servants face so much accountability and their top people do not want to be hauled up in front of a select committee to explain a public failure. Neither do their suppliers. Is it only the specialist IT media that report the less political good news here?

Maybe they suspect the motives of researchers looking for bad news, and don't believe they are looking to see how they do what they do together. On top of that, they are busy, just plain working with little spare time to explain what they do to outsiders - wouldn't they have to account for their time anyhow?

As a researcher I'm a guest. Despite the research area being a matter of public interest, I have no scholarly right to know {Stake, 2005}, but am a guest in their spaces. My manners must be good and I have no intention of exploiting or embarrassing anybody.

STAKE, R. E. (2005) Qualitative case studies. IN DENZIN, N. K. & LINCOLN, Y. S. (Eds.) The sage handbook of qualitative research. London, Sage Publications.

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