The liminal researcher: Being not quite the center of attention

Glen E. Kreiner, Aparna Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Liminality refers to being “betwixt and between” (Turner, 1967). We draw on boundary theory to propose and elaborate upon the notion of “liminal researchers”—the in-between status we hold when we conduct research that is personally meaningful or in highly familiar settings, despite the fact that we are not actually a member of the group being studied. Indeed, being a liminal researcher in organizational studies denotes dwelling on the boundary of the group or phenomenon being studied and puts us in a position to be neither fully in nor fully out of the entity or topic of interest. To further develop these ideas, we draw on our personal and professional experiences as parents and researchers of individuals with developmental disabilities. We reflect on management-related projects that we conduct on students and workers with developmental disabilities and how a highly reflexive stance facilitates our research. Throughout, we use a boundary theory lens to explore being liminal researchers and provide strategies for authors, editors, and reviewers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-434
Number of pages17
JournalAcademy of Management Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'The liminal researcher: Being not quite the center of attention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this