Emotionalizing strategy research with the repertory grid technique: Modifications and extensions to a robust procedure for mapping strategic knowledge

Gerard P. Hodgkinson, Robert Phillip Wright, Jamie Anderson

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Developments in the social neurosciences over the past two decades have rendered problematic the main knowledge elicitation techniques currently in use by strategy researchers, as a basis for revealing actors' mental representations of strategic knowledge. Extant elicitation techniques were advanced during an era when cognitive scientists and organizational researchers alike were preoccupied with the basic information of processing limitations of decision makers and means of addressing them, predicated on an outmoded conception of strategists as affect-free, cognitive misers. The need to adapt these techniques to enable the investigation of the emotional content and structure of actors' mental representations is now a pressing priority for the advancement of theory, research, and practice pertaining to several interrelated areas of strategic management, from dynamic capabilities development, to upper echelons theory, to strategic consensus formation. Accordingly, in this chapter, we report the findings of two studies that investigated the feasibility of adapting the repertory grid, a robust method, widely known and well used in strategic management, for this purpose. Study 1 elicited a series of commonly mentioned strategic issues (the elements) from a sample of senior managers similar in composition to the sample recruited to the second study. Study 2 participants evaluated the elements elicited in Study 1 in relation to a series of researcher-supplied bipolar attributes (the constructs), based on the well-known affective circumplex model of human emotions. In line with expectations, a series of vector-based multivariate analyses revealed a number of interesting similarities and variations among participants in terms of the basic structure and emotional salience of the issues under consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-547
Number of pages43
JournalAdvances in Strategic Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Affective circumplex
  • Cognitive-affective representations
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Knowledge elicitation
  • Repertory grid
  • Strategic consensus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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