Social Psychology of Group Identification

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Methodology & Method

In this chapter, the reader is introduced to the research methodology and method.
Justifications for all research choices are made and discussed.

Research Methodology

Research Philosophy

The authors recognize the need for an appropriate and well-suited research philosophy that could support a strategy that efficiently solves the issues discussed within the thesis purpose and research question. Methodological research suggests three main philosophies to guide a study, these are, positivism, pragmatism and interpretivism (Collis & Hussey 2013; Vidgen & Braa 1999). This thesis adheres to a pragmatic approach. Pragmatism considers concepts, theories and modules that are able to support the results demonstrated by the authors’ findings. Pragmatics “recognize that there are many different ways of interpreting the world and undertaking research, that no single point of view can ever give the entire picture and that there may be multiple realities” (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2007, p.74). A pragmatic research philosophy enables authors to take on a more flexible approach compared to the mutually exclusive positivistic and interpretivistic research philosophies. The research question is at the center of the pragmatic approach (Giacobbi, Poczwardowski & Hager, 2005). A pragmatic approach does not exclude one philosophy from the other and enables the authors to overlap the application of both a quantitative and qualitative measures (Collis Hussey 2013). Thus, the philosophy of pragmatism allows the authors to consider the attitudes that participants have regarding their social and ethnic identity to discuss the potential misunderstandings that occur within the team. However, this thesis does not attempt to establish explicit truths about the process that is studied.

Research Approach

This paper foremost utilized an abductive approach, which is the construct of using observations to identify reasonable explanations (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). Thus, the authors do not suggest any law-like assumptions on the topic of this study. Furthermore, this study does not favor a pure inductive approach as analysis, discussion and conclusion is not solely based on empirical data (Dubois & Gadde, 2002). In addition, existing literature have addressed the connection between ethnic identity and communication, however the connection between ethnic identity and misunderstandings within the communication process is unexplored. Therefore, the authors are unable to make use of a deductive approach, which is the idea of constructing propositions or hypotheses to test existent theories on the topic (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). An abductive approach enables the authors to propose a suggested process in light of the comparative analysis of primary and secondary data on the topic of ethnic identity and the occurrence of misunderstandings within an ethnically diverse team.

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Research Method

The categories representing the two prominent direction for research method is the quantitative and the qualitative approach (Saunders et al., 2007). The authors suggest, in consideration of the topic, that this study would benefit from a qualitative method, thus the primary data of this thesis is gathered whilst considering the method of a case study. Qualitative research has the potential to aid the understanding of feelings, values and perceptions that underlie and influence the behavior of individuals (Saunders et al., 2007). Furthermore, diversity and communication relies on research constructed around soft and intangible subjects, thus the decision to use qualitative research is in many ways a more appropriate strategy than a quantitative method. The methods of qualitative data allows researchers to gain a deeper insight, thus generating comprehensive results to assess the dynamics identified within the team (Halinen & Törnroos 2005; Eisenhardt 1989).

Research Design

The design of research must accommodate the main question that is used to identify the issue within the field. Without doing so the research will not be effective in its approach (Saunders et al., 2007). Being able to clearly follow the author’s line of thought and reasoning, in terms of structuring existing literature and newfound data, provides credibility to a thesis (Saunders et al., 2007). This study is of an exploratory design. An exploratory design allows the thesis to apply an effective amount of flexibility to one’s research. This enables the customization of the purpose and research question to the content that can be distinguished from the collection of primary data (Creswell & Clark, 2007). The three ways of conducting exploratory research is the reviewing of existing literature, interviewing experts in the field and conducting interviews with suggested focus groups (Saunders et al, 2007). In this study the author decided to create a literature review to explore the topic.

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Case Study

A case study is a strategy of research that suggests the use of multiple sources of evidence to investigate particular aspects of a contemporary real life phenomenon from the efforts of conducting empirical research (Zainal, 2007). A case study is best suited to address the how and why/what issues of a particular research field and is a common occurrence within the majority of exploratory research (Saunders et al. 2007). Yin suggests that scholars who experience limited control over an event they seek to study, should consider a case study as a strong strategy (2009). The use of a case study becomes an even greater fit if the research is coupled with a purpose that seeks to gain extensive knowledge on a real-life phenomenon (Yin, 2009). Integrating qualitative methods to validate qualitative data permits a stronger use of synergy when analyzing the primary data (Jick, 1979). In the light of such, this thesis main method is qualitative, however validates the categorization of ethnic identity stages by measuring participant’s ethnic identity salience through Phinney’s Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). The authors considered this strategy to maintain biasedness in there analysis of the topic. This case study investigates the intercultural communication that takes place within the team of Jönköping’s Integration and Activity Committee (IAC).

Selection Criteria

Sampling is the selection of individuals, units and or settings to be studied (Nastasi, 2011). Random sampling is often the case of a quantitative study, however qualitative methods often call for a purposeful or criterion-based form of sampling (Patton, 2005). Selected samples should portray characteristics relevant to the research question (Miles & Huberman, 1994).

1 Introduction
1.1 The Problem
1.2 The Purpose
1.3 Research question
1.4 Delimitations
1.5 Definitions
2 Frame of Reference
2.1 Social Psychology of Group Identification
2.2 Ethnic Identity Development
2.3 Communication in Teams
2.4 Ethnic Identity and Intercultural Communication
3 Methodology & Method
3.1 Research Methodology
3.2 Method
4 Empirical Findings 
4.1 Case Study: The Integration and Activity Committee
4.2 Interviews
4.3 Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure
4.4 Observation of the Functions and Communication Process
5 Analysis 
5.1 Ethnic Identity
6 Conclusion
7 Discussion 
7.1 Limitations
7.2 Suggestion for future research
7.3 Final Words From Authors
8 References
9 Appendices
Understanding the Role of Ethnic Identity in a Diverse Team

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