Humanizing life

One of the strengths of the subjectivist view is that it helps to prevent researchers from regarding people as mechanical, empty responders to stimulus as other philosophies presume. This also corrects the tendency to mechanically associate independent and dependent variables, with no consideration for subject’s active interpretation and comprehension (Dr Ratners’ Home Page, 2010) Emphasizing subjective activity so strongly and exclusively overlooks the social and natural influences on subjectivity. This in research may not provide an accurate reflection of the true situation or the general truth on the ground.

Also subjectivists do not apply validity in respondents’ account. This is dangerous in the sense that invalidating the notion of validity prevents invalidating invalid concepts and conclusions in research. This basically means that this approach makes it hard to invalidate other areas of research which have not been done to standard operating procedure. Some of the challenges to objectivism and psychological science may include: • Psychological phenomena are socially constructed and culturally specific and are not universal.

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Therefore to study a particular book in China requires a different reasoning from that of reading the same book on Atlanta, USA. • The observer is only in his outlook or understanding to his niche. For instance men are not in proper position to comment on women’s issues • The ontological relativity of psychological phenomena such as emotions, perceptions, mental illness, self-concept, intelligence means they are unreal, indefinite, random, spontaneous and open to numerous interpretations, descriptions and explanations from diverse methodologies

Objectivist research approach allows researchers to objectively comprehend the psychology of diverse of people by undergoing scientific training that teaches those general principles and methodologies that are applicable in any setting. Even natural scientists learn same scientific vocabulary of their disciplines (atoms, molecules, genes, cells etc) that have proven to more accurately describe and explain their subject matter rather than their indigenous beliefs did (Dr Ratners’ Home Page, 2010)

Strength of the objectivist view is that this research approach also enables or provides an opportunity to verify or validated collected data or information by comparing the results to previously done and universally accepted standards. As a result invalid study results are easily isolated and mistakes made in the various stages of the study process evaluated and rectified. APPLICATIONS The subjectivist view may be applied in qualitative methodology.

It construes interactions between researcher and the subject through interviews and active interpretations of data which are central features of qualitative research. In general, the subject is free to express whatever subjective idea he or she desires. In qualitative research, subjectivists’ tendency claims that the world is unknowable. Consequently, a researcher constructs an impression of the world as they see it, with no regard whatsoever of this subjective impression corresponding to any reality. Validity and objectivity are considered irrelevant issues here.

According to the subjectivist view, there is no point developing a rigorous methodology to apprehend and measure reality because it simply does not exist. The objective is to validate subjective interpretations, understandings and meanings independent of external influences as this denies originality to subjects’ subjectivity. Furthermore, this line of research does not aim to validate the account of the subject by comparing them to other sources of information such as other people’s account of the same phenomenon.

Example: A subjectivist research would not compare a child’s account of her experience with her parents’ account of her experience. If for instance the child says that she was unhappy 3 years ago and hated her parents, and parents show photographs of her appearing very happy with them. This comparison challenges originality and agency of the subjects’ subjective account. In essence external data is not taken by subjectivist research because it goes beyond the pure subjectivity of the agent.

Conditions outside a subject are only taken if the subject themselves mention it. Example: A person who objectively fits the category of lower class because of her education, occupation, income or family background must be regarded as middle class if that is how she subjectively sees herself. In another case when conducting census (counting of people) and the respondent provides information that contradicts to your perceived reality, you can only take this information as given by the subject.

Objectivism is a central tenet of qualitative methodology. There is a strong objectivist and realist tradition in qualitative methodology. For instance, Wilheim Dilthey believed philosophical phenomena such as meaning could and should be objectively ascertained through a scientific procedure. This scientific procedure is not expression of the researcher’s spontaneous personal subjectivity, but a systematic analysis of other people’s meaning.

Dilthey emphasized that interpretation of meaning should have general validity because it is objectively apprehended and could be demonstrated to and accepted by all interested parties. Objectivism in qualitative research methodology underlies the development of specific analytical, interpretative procedures such as grounded theory and phenomenology. BIAS Subjectivist approach is appropriate in certain business research studies especially where a good account of existing facts is not a necessity.

As a result, it has been widely used and recommended by many researchers in the past since its existence. However its limitations especially in validation of data collection makes it unpopular especially in research areas where there already exists a standard result collectively accepted by a group of researchers and which are used to determine the credibility of the data derived from the study. Objectivism is indispensable for human fulfillment because it reveals reality and necessity that people have to deal with in order to fulfill themselves.

Objectivism is imperative because the way we understand and deal with the world has life and death consequences. Life and death consequences follow from whether there really exist issues that may threaten our existence. So we ask ourselves questions such as: whether there is global warming; whether cholesterol heightens the risk of heart attacks; whether poverty leads to impaired cognitive functioning; whether psychosis is due to social stress; whether an elderly person is incompetent to make medical and financial decisions about herself; and whether your spouse loves you.

Humanizing life requires being objective about these things. Denying objectivism – which is fashionable among some who call themselves humanists (e. g. , social constructionists, postmodernists, philosophical idealists) – obscures real conditions, factors, principles, processes, and problems that debilitate us, and that need to be transformed in specific new directions. Objectivism is humanism, and anti-objectivism (anti-realism) is anti-humanism. CONCLUSION

This paper has explained ‘the subjectivist view’ and ‘the objectivist view’ in terms of background, generalization, strengths & weaknesses in the context of conducting research. The aim or idea behind this paper is provide a platform for evaluation of the research methodology chosen for a particular study process, for the best results in business research. The objectivist view approaches the study with the notion that reality does exist independent of the respondents’ consciousness.

The response we get from our study will be influenced by the existing reality or facts irrespective of whether the respondent is aware of their existence or not. On the other hand the subjectivist view holds that reality is only what the respondent perceives to exist and will not influence the results obtained from the respondent in this study. So in general the objectivist methodology approach is aimed at explaining and predicting certain phenomena while the subjectivist approach emphasizes description and understanding of the phenomena.

Although I have taken a position on the study topic towards the end of this paper, the facts herein still shows each of the study methods’ strengths and weaknesses and to get a balanced method of study a hybrid of the two approaches would be recommended. A mix of the two methodologies would contribute in a big way to the richness of a different strategic management approach. In general mix methodologies may help blend the rigor of the scientific validity of objectivist research with the contextual elements and insights of subjectivists’ research.

In recent years, research about business and marketing strategies has been under criticism for failing to capture the current real-world business complexity. Therefore a clear and comprehensive approach when making research decisions is vital. This paper has provided a comprehensive overview of the subjectivist and objectivist approaches in research which may help in addressing problems related to this issue.


Dr Ratners’ Home Page (2010). Subjectivism. Retrieved on 22nd August, 2010 from http://www. sonic. net/~cr2/subjectivism. htm


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