Few social researchers study elites because elites, by their nature, are very difficult to access. The contributors to this volume provide valuable insights on how researchers can successfully penetrate elite settings. As the authors reflect on their experiences, they provide constructive advice as well as cautionary tales about how they learned to maneuver and become accepted in a world that is often closed to them. This book's coverage includes three broad research domains: business elites, professional elites, and community and political elites. Although the studies focus on qualitative methodology, even researchers who emphasize more quantitative methods will benefit from this volume's thoughtful observations on how researchers gather data, construct interview strategies, write about their subjects, and experience the research process. A wide range of researchers in organizational studies, sociology, political science, and many other fields will find this volume to be an important guide to the many subtle and elusive features of conducting successful research with these groups.

Interviewing Important People in Big Companies

Interviewing Important People in Big Companies

Interviewing important people in big companies
Robert J.Thomas

Like many people, I enjoyed the satire in Roger and Me, the semidocu-mentary film about General Motors and its CEO. By contrasting the imposing physical and economic presence of the company with the inaccessibility of its leader, Michael Moore, the writer/director, plucked a populist chord: Important people in big companies have tremendous power but little apparent accountability to the ordinary worker and citizen. In the absence of the real Roger Smith, Moore created Roger the celluloid image: someone who was, by turns, the villain of a matinee drama and a bumbling clown, whose words (through careful editing) appeared both callous and ridiculous.

Yet what if Moore had cornered Roger Smith? What would he (and ...

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