Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal 6:1 (2011), pp. 64–82 & online supplements; doi: 10.1108/17465641111129399 Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Used by permission.


Purpose — The purpose of this paper is to explore the role that gender plays in choice of research methods.

Design/methodology/approach — The publication patterns of men and women in four prominent management journals over two decades were analyzed in three North American journals—Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Organization Science—and one European journal—Journal of Management Studies. The authors coded the research methodology—qualitative or non-qualitative—and author gender for each article from 1986 through 2008, other than Organization Science which began in 1990. The authors also coded the stage of career for the journals whose author bios provided this level of detail and conducted chi-square tests of the gender authorship between qualitative and non-qualitative journals.

Findings — It was observed that women are over-represented and men are under-represented in published qualitative studies as compared to non-qualitative authors. This trend remained steady across the study period. As well for each journal. this relationship was significant. Quantitative findings about trends in authorship of qualitative research were connected to three theoretical perspectives that help explain these findings—information processing theory, separate vs. connected ways of knowing, and social identity theory.

Originality/value — Management scholars work in a profession that rarely speaks of itself in terms of gender. One may control for gender or explore gender implications in studies of organizational behavior. but gender is not spoken of as a factor that influences the tools used to study organizations. In this study. the authors use quantitative methods to address trends in gender and type of methodology in published papers across two decades and four academic journals.

Commentaries by Fiona Wilson, University of Glasgow, Karen Locke, College of William and Mary, and Albert J. Mills, Saint Mary’s University, are included, as is also the authors' response to the commentaries.