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THEORY DEVELOPMENT IN MARKETING. AMA SUMMER EDUCATORS’ PRECONFERENCE 2010. Ravi S. Achrol Professor of Marketing Science George Washington University. Boston. August 12, 2010. I WILL COVER THE FOLLOWING TOPICS Epistemology in Marketing Induction Disciplined Imagination Metaphor

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

THEORY DEVELOPMENT

IN MARKETING

AMA SUMMER EDUCATORS’ PRECONFERENCE 2010

Ravi S. AchrolProfessor of Marketing ScienceGeorge Washington University

Boston. August 12, 2010

slide2

I WILL COVER THE FOLLOWING TOPICS

    • Epistemology in Marketing
    • Induction
    • Disciplined Imagination
    • Metaphor
    • Borrowing
    • Models
slide3

EPISTEMOLOGY

THE PURE SCIENCES

EMPIRICS

Constructs/

Measures

Holistic

Observations

Phenomena

THEORY

Fundamental processes

Largely autonomous

but fixed

Reductionist

slide4

RELEVANT THEORY

METASTASIZES & METAMORPHS

MARKETING

EPISTEMOLOGY

MARKETING SCIENCE

Phenomena are

enacted

Fundamental processes

are dynamic and

created

Observations

Constructs/

Measures

slide5

MARKETING EPISTEMOLOGY

TWO KEY IMPLICATIONS

  • Marketing theories offer slices or lenses
  • Because marketing is enacted, very unusual role
  • for “visionary theory”.
slide6

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

  • INDUCTION: The Problem With

Domain of

Theory Y

Domain of

Theory X

Empirical

studies

Can this lead to

theory development?

Empirical studies do not explain phenomena. Explanation is in the theory. Empirical studies only test small parts of a theory.

slide8

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

  • INDUCTION MIGHT WORK IF

Logical construction vs. cherry picking

[Marxian dialectics; Kuhn’s structure of scientific revolutions]

THEORY 1

What works

What doesn’t work

THEORY 2

THEORY 4

THEORY 3

Mechanism driven not

variable driven

slide9

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

2. WEICK’S DISCIPLINED IMAGINATION

or Evolutionary Epistemology

  • PROBLEM
  • FORMULATION
  • More explicit
  • assumptions
  • More detailed
  • more accurate
  • representation

THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS

- More trials

- More variation

  • SELECTION
  • CRITERIA
  • Apply more
  • consistently
  • More diverse
  • criteria
  • Simultaneously
  • not linearly

Outcome judged on the bases of Plausib-ility and

Survival

Value, not validity

LITERATURE

REVIEWS

METAPHORS

PICTURES, MAPS

Although Weick puts metaphor at the heart of disciplined imagination, he does not elaborate on how metaphors work

slide10

3. MAX BLACK on METAPHOR

Substitution view

Stylistic decorations upon plain sense

Comparison view

Metaphor as creative filter. Interaction between two “systems of associated commonplaces.” Emphasize some details, suppress others—in short organize our view of a subject in a new light

Interaction view

slide11

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

4. BORROWING FROM OTHER DISCIPLINES

Transaction Cost Economics ----- Marketing Channels

Market failure Market development

Firm boundary definition Interorganizational division of

(make or buy) functions, risks and rewards

Opportunism Mutuality/Interdependence

Assets specificity Power

Uncertainty Social norms of behavior

Hostages/credible commit. Relational variables

  • Literal vs. “metaphorical application” of borrowed theory.
slide12

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

5. MODELS & ARCHETYPES

  • Exemplar (model husband), version, or display (fashion)
  • Scale model or replica of something (educational)
  • Analog model or icon (change of medium) isomorphic
  • structure/pattern of relationships
  • Mathematical models:
    • Descriptive models
    • Theoretical models
  • - Archetypes
slide13

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

Mathematical Models

  • Descriptive math models are based on finding the
  • functional form (e.g. logistic) that best fits data.
  • - “Black box” approach to theory
  • Generate testable hypotheses
  • - Useful practical tools
slide15

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

Theoretical Mathematical Models

  • Theoretical math models are based on rules of
  • correspondence in structure and mechanisms (putative
  • isomorphism)
  • Generate falsifiable hypotheses
  • Often the explanation is built on metaphor,
  • A good model suggests further questions that take us
  • beyond the phenomenon from which we began
slide16

PATHWAYS TO THEORY DEVELOPMENT

Archetypes: Model as Exemplar

  • More topographic or normative, than driven by putative
  • mechanisms
  • Unique role in “visionary theory”
  • - Caveat
takeaways the wheel of theorizing
TakeawaysThe Wheel of Theorizing

Metaphors, Models,

Borrowing are

interactive processes

not literal

Mechanisms are as

important, if not more,

than the variables

Marketing is a dynamic field that’s is created by the theories used to explain it !

Metaphorical

constructions are

at the heart of new

theory development

Theories are lenses

or slices of complex

and dynamic

phenomena

Visionary theory and

dialectical processes

are the key to

continuous theory

development

slide18

I think good theories are playful. They chide

conventional “rationality,” make flights of fancy, and

add drama to an otherwise dreary profession.