APRIL 7 - 9, 2020

Researching and Writing Our Living World

Keynote Speaker

Silvia Gherardi
Professor of Sociology of Work
Trento University, Italy

In 2002 Peter Berger criticized sociology for falling foul of ‘methodological fetishism’, where increasingly sophisticated methods are used to study increasingly trivial topics’ . It’s a criticism that is still relevant today, and can be extended to Organization Studies, where positivism prevails and abstraction and objectification trump lived experience. Even the current focus on the ‘impact’ of our research constructs impact as impact on practice not impact in practice . The theme of QRM 2020 is to explore forms of knowledge/knowing, methodologies, and methods that study the world around us in more embedded and meaningful ways. We welcome proposals that address the theme and questions such as: What methods help us get close to experience and to the challenges we face in organizations and society at large? How do we then begin to ‘theorize’ and ‘write’ in meaningful and relevant ways? How might this impact our role as researchers? What challenges might we face?

Our keynote speaker has pushed the boundaries in this area. Silvia Gherardi is Professor of Sociology of Work at Trento University in Italy, where she also founded Research Unit on Communication, Organizational Learning, and Aesthetics. For the last 30 years she has been influential in developing an applied social science, where she resists ‘the temptation to pass too easily to the language of representation. ’ Working particularly in the areas of gender, organizational learning and knowing, posthuman and practice-based research, she has written numerous articles and books on these topics. Her latest book, How to Conduct a Practice-Based Study: Problems and Methods (2019) examines the nature of practice as socially sustained, embodied, sociomaterial, and discursive, and addresses the ‘practice of doing practice research’.

We welcome proposals that address these issues in a substantive way as a topic of study, and/or from a methodological perspective. We also want to build on the initiatives of the last six QRM conferences in providing opportunities to discuss and explore more reflexive and imaginative forms of research and to develop collaborations.

The conference will consist of two streams. Stream 1 focuses on exploring issues relating to the conference theme – the possibilities and challenges of doing research and writing about work, people, and organizations that stays close to lived experience. Stream 2 addresses more general issues relating to methods, voices and ways of doing and writing qualitative research.

We encourage paper, panel and other forms of presentation that explore philosophical, conceptual and methodological issues in researching organizational life from a qualitative perspective. Contributions may be from a variety of epistemological perspectives and a range of disciplines including management and organization studies, communications, cultural studies, accounting, marketing, information and decision sciences, sociology, psychology, education, health and public administration.

In addition, we will be running two pre-conference workshops on April 7, 2019 from 1 – 4pm for participants who may be interested. Details will be available on the conference website in late September.

Prospective contributors should send an extended abstract of 800 to 1000 words, via email, to Ann Cunliffe at by December 10, 2019. The abstract should also include name, contact information, and submission stream.

Additional information will be added over the next few months.


Conference organizers and contact information:

Ann L Cunliffe, Fundaçâo Getulio Vargas, Brazil

Karen Locke, College of William and Mary, USA                  

Rafael Alcadipani, Fundaçâo Getulio Vargas, Brazil

Conference Email: