Pragmatic research is the study of social interactions involving the use of language and communication (see also Linguistics). It focuses on the relationship between people and their intentions.
It helps individuals develop flexible thinking by discarding ‘old ways’ and beliefs that don’t work anymore, and pursue ‘new ways’ and ideas that do work.
The ‘If-then’ method of pragmatism encourages researchers to reflect on the nature of their research problem and the nature of their likely solutions, enabling them to choose a method of inquiry that has the greatest chance of producing the desired results.
As such, it can be argued that pragmatism is an excellent paradigm for qualitative research on organizational processes. It recognizes that organizational action, even if carefully planned, can have varying spatial or temporal qualities.
This is because the world around us is constantly changing. In pragmatism, this is seen as an essential aspect of reality and therefore it encourages investigators to be aware of this change at the beginning of their research, as this will help them design research that better captures emergent issues or emerging problems.
Similarly, the ‘actionable knowledge’ principle of pragmatism promotes an iterative approach to research that maintains its connection to evolving practices and emergent problems through reconstructing habits. This enables researchers to make use of respondent experiences to develop practical, actionable knowledge that has the potential to make a meaningful difference in organizational practice.