Advancing hermeneutic research for interpreting interfirm new product development

Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 2005, 20 (7), pp. 364 - 379
Issue Date:
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Purpose The principal objective here is to describe conceptual and research tools for achieving deeper sense-making of what happened and why it happened including how participants interpret outcomes of what happened and the dynamics of emic (executive) and etic (researcher) sense-making. Design/methodology/approach This article uses a mixed research design including decision systems analysis, cognitive mapping, computer software-based text analysis, and the long interview method for mapping the mental models of the participants in specific decision-making processes as well as mapping the immediate, feedback, and downstream influences of decisions-actions-outcomes. Findings The findings in the empirical study support the view that decision processes are prospective, introspective, and retrospective, sporadically rational, ultimately affective, and altogether imaginatively unbounded. Research limitations/implications Not using outside auditors to evaluate post-etic interpretations is recognized as a method limitation to the extended case study; such outside auditor reports represent an etic-4 level of interpretation. Incorporating such etic-4 interpretation is one suggestion for further research. Practical implications Asking executives for in-depth stories about what happened and why helps them reflect and uncover very subtle nuances of what went right and what went wrong.
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