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Philip Roth: Including the Diary Method in the Investigation of Practices Constituting Social Innovation Networks [Abstract]

Organizing the early stage of the innovation process, and hence the development of ideas, is of considerable importance for the success of an enterprise. During this stage, decision making is particularly difficult because of both high complexity and high uncertainty. At the same time, these decisions are far reaching because the outcome of the early stage has a substantial influence on the results of subsequent stages. Social network research shows that specific network constellations in particular favor the development of ideas. To promote the development of these constellations, the dynamics of networks have to be understood. However, the insights that have been gained so far are insufficient. To go beyond these insights in the article, initially a research question is developed from a practice-theoretical point of view. The research aim is to explore the constitutive conditions of the practices of initiating and conducting idea-related interactions in the early stage of the innovation process. Subsequently, the article critically examines the given methodological approaches of social network research. It is demonstrated here that the existing research gap is essentially the result of two central methodological shortcomings. To overcome these shortcomings, a mixed-method design that links the diary method with established methods of qualitative network research is proposed and discussed.

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