Phelan, Chris (2015). Identifying entrepreneurial competencies using Q methodology: An innovative research approach. In Frank Bezzina & Vincent Cassar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies (pp. 322-330). Sonning Common, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited. 458 pp., £60.00. ISBN: 978-1-910810-11-8, ISSN 2049-0968 (doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4737.5524)

Abstract: This paper introduces Q methodology as a technique for the study of human subjectivity and in particular individual beliefs, values, opinions and attitudes. Originating in the discipline of psychology, Q methodology remains a relatively unknown and underutilised technique across other disciplines. Moreover, where it does occur, it is frequently described as an innovative research approach. Here, the six key stages within a Q methodological study are introduced, and are explored in the context of an illustrative Q study, which sought to identify the entrepreneurial competencies of UK farmers who have diversified all, or part, of their agricultural operations to farm based tourism and recreation. Thus, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate how Q methodology works in a practical setting with the literature on Q methodology reviewed and discussed in tandem with the research findings. In outlining this research design, this paper highlights that Q methodology embraces a hybridity of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. However, at its core, lies a rejection of hypothetico-deductive methods, and as such, it remains a social constructionist and largely qualitative method. Moreover, this paper demonstrates that Q has much to offer business and management researchers in heeding the call for greater methodological pluralism.

Chris Phelan <phelanc@edgehill.ac.uk> is in the School of Business and Management, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK.

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