Grounded suggestions for doing a grounded theory business research

Document Type


Publication details

Ng, K & Hase, S 2008, 'Grounded suggestions for doing a grounded theory business research', Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 183-198.

Published version available from:


Peer Reviewed



Grounded theory is a systematic induction of theory from data. The goal is to develop theory from data collected in natural settings that relates to a particular situation. The insights that grounded theory reveals is the contextual explanations rather than descriptions of what is going on. The methodology provides a theoretical lens for both researchers and practitioners to improve workplace practices. While this emergent methodology presents a systematic procedure for inducing theory, it is recognized that novice researchers not only need to have an appetite for tolerating incidental uncertainties but also the ability to conceptualize and connect emerging themes. This paper was written to provide suggestions for doing a grounded theory business research. The main objective is to offer guidelines for novice researchers, students and their supervisors in conducting a grounded theory business research. The main discussion of this paper will focus on the principles driving a grounded theory research, the choice between the two versions of grounded theory, the research problem, and the purpose of the study, the research questions, and the place of literature review in a grounded theory study. In addition, an example of how a grounded theory was induced from data is illustrated. Its goal is to illustrate how the procedures of data analysis, theoretical memo-ing and theoretical sampling were used to progressively generate a grounded theory. In conclusion, the specific skills required by the researchers attempting a grounded theory study are suggested. It is hoped the guidelines provided in this paper would serve as a stepping stone to a journey of lifelong learning. Students and supervisors should consider cautiously the germane skill sets prior to the use of this methodology.