Page 26 - WHERE WE WORK - Schlegelmilch
P. 26

 1.3 Research approaches and settings
To understand how physical place matters in digital work, I use different methods. The studies in chapter 2 and 3 are inductive and qualitative while I take deductive and quantitative approach in the study in chapter 4. The choice for different methodologies stems from the nature of the specific research problems in each chapter in combination with state of the literature that informed our understanding of these problems. Also, the overall research question can be best answered by using different methods, such that it allows me to first explore qualitatively the role of place and, subsequently, test how it affects specific worker behaviors. As a result, each study is based on a separate and particularly suitable dataset, which I collected in unique contexts (different levels of spatiality; freelancers and employees). Hereafter, I discuss how the different data sets help me to answer my research questions.
By conducting qualitative research, researchers are able to gather “rich and meaning-embedded descriptions of management-related phenomenon or organizational anomalies“ (Bamberger & Ang, 2016, p. 2). My choice of a qualitative approach is in line with previous workplace research, thereby suggesting that it is appropriate to explore workplaces in this way (Elsbach, 2003; e.g., Fayard & Weeks, 2006; Rockmann & Pratt, 2015). A qualitative approach requires to understand the work of the actors (Barley & Kunda, 2001) to gain insights and draw conclusions. A qualitative approach is especially suitable for new phenomena, which are fuzzy by definition and warrant open-ended exploration.
To fully grasp the challenge of stability in hyperspatial settings, digital nomads present the ideal opportunity to do so. They are a new phenomenon of how professionals organize for work in an extremely mobile and remote way (hyperspatial setting), which differs from what I found in the extant literature, such as mobile knowledge workers or expats. Therefore, in chapter 2, I conduct 45 interviews with digital nomads between fall 2015 and fall 2017. During the interviews, I grasp to understand the challenge of stability and how these workers conduct work,

   24   25   26   27   28