Wonder Is the Beginning of Wisdom. The Socratic Method in a Qualitative Study of Leadership in Family Firms

Keywords: qualitative research, Socratic method, interviews, family firms


The study employed the Socratic method to conduct 32 semi-structured interviews with future successors of family firms, to explore the relationship between entrepreneurial leadership and job crafting. Socratic questions were used to grasp regularities of participants’ behavior. Inference by analogy was employed to foster rational and inductive reasoning of the participants. The results show that the Socratic method and analogy may be a valuable qualitative data collection method in reducing participants resistance and facilitating their self-initiated discovery in a sensitive research context. The validity and reliability of this method is discussed in terms of trustworthiness. Applying the Socratic method and analogy to the data collection method (interviews) may enhance the overall credibility of organizational qualitative research methods.


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