A REFINED VIEW OF GROUNDED THEORY AND ITS APPLICATION TO LOGISTICS RESEARCH

Authors

  • John Mello,

    1. Arkansas State University
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    • (Ph.D. University of Tennessee) is an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Management and Marketing at Arkansas State University. He has a Ph.D. in logistics from the University of Tennessee. Prior to entering academia, he spent 28 years in the consumer packaged goods industry in various supply chain management positions. His research has been published in Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting, Journal of Business Forecasting, and the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management. Dr. Mello's primary areas of research are in corporate culture, logistics outsourcing, and sales forecasting.

  • Daniel J. Flint

    1. University of Tennessee
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    • (Ph.D. University of Tennessee) is the Proffitt's, Inc. Professor of Marketing and Associate Professor in The Department of Marketing and Logistics and Director of the Marketing Ph.D. Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is well published in both marketing and logistics journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Marketing Theory, and International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, regularly presents at global conferences, and regularly reviews manuscripts for at least a dozen journals and conferences. Dr. Flint's expertise is in customer value management, specifically helping firms gain deeper insights to their customers changing value perceptions, and logistics innovation.


Abstract

Logistics research with an objective to construct theory and develop deeper insights into logistics social phenomena and test those theories relies on both qualitative and quantitative methods. Grounded theory is one powerful qualitative research tradition for the theory building objective, yet it is also one that is often misunderstood and misapplied. The result of this misunderstanding can, and has in other disciplines such as marketing and management, resulted in weaker grounded theory studies than ought to be and research claiming to emerge from grounded theory but does not. The article offers a review of the foundations of grounded theory and insights to important aspects of two similar, but different, approaches to grounded theory that most researchers ignore, but are critical for researchers to understand. We argue that (1) logistics needs more qualitative research, (2) grounded theory offers the potential for a unique and specific kind of insight as compared to other traditions, (3) thus specific tenants of grounded theory must be followed, anything does not go, and finally (4) being specific in the application of grounded theory means knowing the differences between the Glaser and Straus views and understanding that a choice must be made as to how to proceed with grounded theory research based on that knowledge.

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