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Marketing managers and their life world: explorations in strategic planning using the phenomenological interview

By Barry Ardley


It is argued that the dominant method of research used in the study of marketing planning, the quantitative survey, fails to adequately capture the reality of the decision making processes used by organisational members. The consequence of this is that textbooks and journals continue to perpetuate a model of marketing planning that rarely exists in practice. Additionally, a review of the literature reveals that the exploration of marketing and business planning in organisations is seriously neglected from an interpretive, phenomenological perspective.\ud In order to address these problems, a research study was undertaken, the intention being to explore the life worlds of marketing managers as they go about making marketing decisions. The specific aim of the research was to uncover what marketing decision making expertise actually consists of, if it is not about the explicit skills and knowledge embedded in the dominant rational model. Often used mistakenly as an umbrella term to imply any interpretative research approach, phenomenology has as its subject matter consciousness and experience, where one returns to the self in order to discover the nature and meaning of things as they appear. This understanding is accomplished through the process of the in depth interview, where the researcher attempts to obtain descriptions and explanations of lived\ud experiences. Using a phenomenological perspective, this paper examines the research processes used in a study based on the life worlds of twenty four senior marketing managers, drawn from a number of different\ud backgrounds. The research questions and findings are outlined, along with a discussion of some relevant phenomenological concepts. Also discussed is the way in which access was gained to organisational members responsible for marketing and how the subsequent phenomenological interviews were constructed, executed and analysed. Found to be central to an understanding of marketing manager’s sensemaking activities was the socially constructed metaphor and in this paper, there is a discussion of the ways in which this tool informed the\ud methodological and theoretical stance of the research

Topics: N520 Sales Management, N200 Management studies
Year: 2005
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