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.
Chapter 2: Reaching Corporate Executives
Of those who wield great influence over the fortunes of millions, few are better described or more dissected in the public record than senior managers of publicly traded corporations. Private enterprise has long been the dominant institution in American life. Those who preside over its operations are natural objects of curiosity among the millions whose fates they shape.
Corporations make it easy for their leaders to be in the public eye. Most companies voluntarily disclose the identities, positions, and directorships of their officers, a roster that can range from a handful to dozens. Standard and Poor's annual Register of Directors and Executives and other directories routinely compile all that is disclosed by thousands of companies. Many executives themselves also voluntarily reveal ...