Location, location, location: contextualizing organizational research

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Journal of Organizational Behavior, ISSN: 0894-3796, Vol: 22, Issue: 1, Page: 1-13

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Denise M. Rousseau, Yitzhak Fried
Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley
article description
This article focuses on contexualizing organizational research. Contextualizing entails linking observations to a set of relevant facts, events, or points of view that make possible research and theory that form part of a larger whole. Contextualization can occur in many stages of the research process, from question formulation, site selection, and measurement to data analysis, interpretation, and reporting. The need to contextualize is reinforced by the emergence of a world-wide community of organizational scholars adding ever-greater diversity in settings as well as perspectives. The forces promoting contextualization are concerned with appropriate specification of constructs and generalizable results. From a scientific perspective, organizational behavior research requires contextualization because it makes the models more accurate and our interpretation of results more robust. When contextual factors are an integral part of the theory and research method, organizational research can directly address the impact a setting has on the participants and the participants impact on the groups and firms of which they are a part. This research can be cross-level, dyadic, or multilevel.

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