From the Editor’s Desk: Remembering Barney Glaser

We publish this June 2022 issue of The Grounded Theory Review with sorrow at the loss of our dear teacher, mentor, and colleague, Dr. Barney G. Glaser, the co-originator and constant champion of the original classic theory methodology now referred to as classic grounded theory. Several Grounded Theory Institute Fellows and Grounded Theory Review peer reviewers pay tribute to Glaser in this issue. Imbued with both sadness at his loss and a celebration of his life, heartfelt tributes are offered by Astrid Gynnild, Norway; Judith Holton, Canada; Odis Simmons, USA; Tom Andrews, Ireland; Barry Chametzky, USA; Andy Lowe, UK and Thailand; Kara Vander Linden, USA; and Alvita Nathaniel, USA. Ólavur Christianson, Faroe Islands, and Barry Chametzky, USA, offer scientific papers that demonstrate the possibilities of classic grounded theory.

Also included in this issue are two methodology papers. Dr. Daniel Ash, from the UK, offers a conceptual discussion based on an epistemological debate that took place during a doctoral viva voce examination for a classic grounded theory study exploring police behavior during domestic abuse incidents. The discussion uncovered conflicts regarding how methodology is received and understood by scholars from different research philosophical perspectives. Drs. Robert Wright, Judith Wright, Gordon Medlock, and Mike Zwell, from the USA, write about a study that highlights the synergies between classic grounded theory and the process of non-directive leadership and emergence coaching, both of which focus on the emergence of explanatory core concepts that characterize what is happening in the data field of practice.

As you will learn from the tribute papers that follow, Barney Glaser was a man with vast experience in a number of academic traditions. He traveled internationally and learned research, theory, language, and sociology from world renowned scholars. With fellow sociologist Anslem Strauss, nurse scholar, Jeanne Quint Benoliel, and others, Glaser carved out the new research method while studying dying in San Francisco hospital settings. He went on to refine, explain, and teach the method throughout the remainder of his life. It is impossible to list the qualities that defined Barney Glaser. Even with his vast experience and knowledge, he remained humble, intuitive, generous, funny, and kind. He understood the world at both macro and micro levels and had insight that could cut to the heart of any matter.

Through his academic career, authorship, and troubleshooting seminars, Glaser taught hundreds of grounded theory researchers. Like patterns that can only be seen from a distance, grounded theories uncover important latent processes that would not otherwise be recognized. Grounded theories explain and predict what’s going on in people’s lives in ways that allow institutional systems and individuals to affect behaviors and avoid potential problems. A multitude of theories generated from classic grounded theory have improved the world we live in. The application of theories such as awareness of dying, time for dying, super normalizing, credentializing, cultivating, creative undermining, moral reckoning, visualizing worsening progressions, pluralistic dialoguing, rehumanizing knowledge work, opportunizing, purposive attending, routing, sensualizing, becoming an alcoholic, and many others offer insights that continue to improve the lives of people. Thus, Glaser’s influence spreads like a gentle wind.

Alvita Nathaniel, PhD