Historical Social Research

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Dörte Ohlhorst & Susanne Schön: Constellation Analysis as a Means of Interdisciplinary Innovation ResearchTheory Formation from the Bottom Up [Abstract]

Constellation Analysis is a methodological approach of innovation research that aims at understanding highly complex processes of invention and diffusion. It was developed as a tool for inter- and transdisciplinary research on technology, sustainability and innovation. Its set of tools facilitates access to a scientific object from different perspectives, using different approaches. The methodology is characterized in particular by two factors: Heterogeneous factors of influence and their effectiveness in innovation processes are principally considered equivalent, existing in relation to one another and thus fitting together into constellations. Furthermore, the methodology facilitates a bottom-up approach, similar to the Grounded Theory Approach. According to this principle, constellations are described based on their singular units and their relationships to each other. The methodology is thus appropriate to the individual course of innovation processes. It enables the search for new patterns through the comparison of different innovation biographies and allows experimentation with strategic approaches as a special form of validation.

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