Historical Social Research

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Georg Reischauer: Combining Artefact Analysis, Interview and Participant Observation to Study the Organizational Sensemaking of Knowledge-Based Innovation [Abstract]

Innovation studies have hardly investigated the link between innovation and organization with respect to what individual actors in organizations mean when they refer to innovation. More precisely, there are few research designs with the goal to understand (Verstehen) the meaning of innovation in organizations. To address this gap on a methodological level, I introduce an interpretative research design to study the organizational sense-making of innovation. Informed by the knowledge-based view of innovation and organizations, this research design suggests a combination of the qualitative methods artefact analysis, semi-structured qualitative interview and participant observation to generate data. Using qualitative content analysis to analyze the collected data separately, first-order concepts are constructed. Joining these separate concepts with the constant comparison technique creates a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of innovation in an organization. The application of the interpretative research design in innovation studies enables to build new theory on the link between innovation and organization that is empirically grounded.

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