Methodological decolonisation and local epistemologies in business ethics research
Publication typeFT ranked journal article
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis paper contributes to the discussion on methodological decolonisation in business ethics research by illustrating how local epistemologies can shape methodology. Historically, business ethics research has been dominated by Western methodologies, which have been argued to be restrictive and limit contextually relevant theorising in non-Western contexts. Over the past decade, scholarship has called for more diversity in research methods and epistemologies. This paper regards arguments founded along neatly divided universalist versus contextualised methodologies as a false dilemma. Instead, we explore how ubuntu, a sub-Saharan African epistemology, can contribute as a complementary epistemology and methodology to interpretivism when conducting business ethics research in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper discusses four aspects—research agenda, access, power relations, and context-sensitive methods—that highlight practical ways in which ubuntu epistemology, with its communitarian and relational underpinnings, can enhance business ethics research. We illustrate that methodological decolonisation can be achieved by fusing relevant elements of local epistemologies and methodologies and conventional methodologies to generate context-relevant research approaches.
KeywordBusiness Ethics Research, Decolonising Research, Governance Research, Interpretivism, Local epistemologies, Ubuntu
Knowledge Domain/IndustryPeople Management & Leadership