Conceptions of value as family resemblances: a theoretical model and methodology
Qualitative Research Conference
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This paper discusses actors’ conceptions of the nature of value. Value is an important facet in contemporary management paradigms and an integral part of business and education. Yet research over many years has failed to discover an essence or necessary condition of value. Consequently, the nature of value remains unclear. Recent research suggests that value is individual and experiential, and is more appropriately conceptualised in terms of family resemblances. Conceptualising value as a family supports a proposition that the nature of value may differ between people, time and place, though some aspects of it may be the same. In the context of a UK university we combine a new theoretical approach to understanding value with an adapted phenomenographic methodology and method. Thus, we are able to discover different conceptions of value while retaining the ability to build common understanding in a given context. Data are collected by means of interviews and narrative reports from actors at strategic and operational levels of a UK university, postgraduate students and prospective employers. Analysis is by means of computer-aided lexical analysis and template analysis.
Qualitative Research Conference (QRC) 2016;