Discursive voids in emerging markets present opportunities and challenges to debate meanings and taken-for granted assumptions. This article uncovers various strategies used by the researcher and the research participants to address the discursive void and to negotiate shared meaning about employee empowerment in Russia. In the absence of a concept for empowerment in the languages of the study, the researcher and the research participants engaged in joint sensemaking to bridge discursive voids. We contribute to the discussion of qualitative cross-language research in emerging markets by identifying the strategies used not only by the researcher, whose view has dominated previous research, but also those of the research participants. The researcher in our study addressed the discursive void by taking on the dual role of researcher-translator, engaging in contextual approach to translation, consulting external interpreters, and using iteration and flexibility in the course of the research process. Our research participants resorted to proverbs to address the discursive void, make sense of empowerment, and render it locally meaningful. Proverbs are a valuable methodological tool for sensemaking and theorising about context-specific phenomena in IB research.
- discursive void
- emerging markets
- qualitative cross-language research