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The use of focus group technique in management research: the example of renewable technology

M.L. Barry, H. Steyn & A.C. Brent

Quantitative management research on the African continent is often hampered by the lack of large data sets and the unreliability of electronic as well as conventional communication. This paper advocates the use of qualitative methods, in particular the focus group technique, to overcome these difficulties. The focus group technique has been extensively used in social sciences research and in this paper its use in management research is investigated and applied. The paper further advocates the use of triangulation to improve the reliability of qualitative management research. An example of the selection of renewable energy technology in Africa is used as basis for this investigation. In this case the focus group technique was used to identify thirty-eight factors during the exploratory phase of a larger research effort. The focus group technique was used in conjunction with the nominal group technique. The authors make recommendations on how the focus group echnique can be successfully applied in management research.

Key phrases: Management research, focus group technique, nominal group technique, quantitative vs. qualitative techniques

Journal of Contemporary Management 6, 229 – 240. 2009.


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