Researchers have identified several problems with the Grounded Theory Method, which include fundamental concerns about its ontological foundations and epistemological stance. Many IS researchers consider such issues unproblematic or are unaware of them. This situation is compounded by the fact it is employed selectively as part of positivist, post-positivist or interpretivist research approaches; indeed, some researchers argue that the method is paradigmatically neutral. Accordingly, there have been recent calls in reference disciplines for researchers to address the method’s problematic ontological and epistemological grounding. The objective of this paper is, therefore, to help IS researchers understand better these issues. The paper draws on phenomenological hermeneutics to achieve this aim. This essay therefore makes a contribution to IS research through its constructive analysis of the Grounded Theory Method, by identifying the method’s strengths and weaknesses, and by providing insights into how the latter can be strengthened in interpretivist studies using phenomenological hermeneutics.
Butler, Tom and O’Reilly, Philip, "Recovering the Ontological Foundations of the Grounded Theory Method" (2010). ICIS 2010 Proceedings. Paper 75.