Human Dimension in Marketing Research: A Sense-Making Approach

By Natarajan, Vivek S.; Godkin, Lynn et al. | Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, July 2009 | Go to article overview

Human Dimension in Marketing Research: A Sense-Making Approach


Natarajan, Vivek S., Godkin, Lynn, Parayitam, Satyanarayana, Academy of Marketing Studies Journal


INTRODUCTION

Marketing Research is an important element of the marketing process. Conventional marketing research models have not paid adequate attention to the human element in the research process. The premise of this paper is that human element affects the research process significantly. That element is a tacitly understood aspect of the marketing research process. To better understand the human element as it appears among those providing marketing research is essential for successful decisions. It enables us to better understand, for example, why do we decide to segment marketing in particular ways, how do we decide what research to initiate, and why do we tend to accept some findings and not notice others? To shed light on the human element as it relates to marketing research, it is helpful to return to the concept of sense-making. This paper uses the lens from the sense-making theory to flesh out the human elements affecting marketing research.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

SENSE-MAKING: A CATALYST FOR MARKETING RESEARCH

The common models of marketing research do not suggest how we arrive at the definitions and interpretations we do. Nor, do they shed light on why we make the decisions we do. They do not explain, for example, the behavioral factors drawing researchers to particular target markets, sample determination, and particular interpretation of data? In this section we return to the concept of organizational sense-making (Feldman, 1989) to explain what triggers such decisions as they are made in the day-to-day marketing research deliberations. The concept of sense-making helps us to answer these and related question

Sense-making, in our view, is a source of insight into how marketing research is undertaken. Sense-making might be conceived of as an interpretive process (Feldman, 1989). Through sense-making, individuals give structure to the unknown (Waterman, 1990) and make sense of circumstances as they occur (Huber & Daft, 1987) using retrospective accounts to explain occurrences (Louis, 1980). To understand sense-making, think of the proverbial blind men who collectively examined an elephant with each reporting his impression of the animal as touched. The result was a "... set of ideas with explanatory possibilities, rather than a body of knowledge, per se." (Weick, 1995, p. xi) They collectively derived a view of the elephant by making sense of what was presented them. This process, in our view, is an integral part of the marketing research process as it unfolds among those participating. Our collective view of what is happening "out there" determines the research design, interpretation of the data collected, and the conclusions drawn from the data.

According to Weick (1995), sense making involves placing items in frameworks, comprehending, constructing meanings, and patterning to address these interruptions. Furthermore, sense-making framework will also address the interactions and frustrations associated with these interruptions. The sense-making process involves understanding, interpreting, and attributing the antecedents of sense-making.

In the following section we reflect on what triggers organizational sense-making and lift out properties of sense-making to apply it to the marketing research process. This portion of our discussion is important because the decision made by marketing research teams is not made in a vacuum. Marketing decisions arise from the interactions among team members and subjective judgmental issues from those discussions. Sense-making takes place in the imagination of those involved and the interpretation of events takes form among them as a result.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Triggers of Sense-making

There is much speculation about what might trigger sense-making. (Weick, 1995) Organizations question and reconstruct existing perspectives, frameworks, or premises on a daily basis through a continuous process of knowledge creation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Dimension in Marketing Research: A Sense-Making Approach
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.