Re-appraising interaction and process for industrial network research: The future plunging mirror hall metaphor

Poul Houman Andersen, Christopher J. Medlin, Jan-Åke Törnroos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)



    Constructivist and realist research is undertaken in the business relationship and network approach of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group. These two divergent research perspectives seek a different form of contextual understanding vs. general knowledge. They are not incommensurable as one can gain insights from the other. But a researcher must know and understand both perspectives and sometimes be able to see when a writer is playing almost a middle ground to make a specific point. To provide a broader understanding of the ontological distinctions and their ramifications for researching and translating meanings concerning business networks we introduce the temporal mirror hall metaphor. We propose that: (i) researchers should avoid reading and understanding only a single research perspective, (ii) research is a social temporal process embedded in a research community, (iii) understanding different researcher perspectives is necessary for a constructivist scholar working in a world of realist education, and (iv) realist researchers need constructivist research to change and develop systematized theories. The paper extends specific advice to constructivist researchers undertaking longitudinal studies of interaction in business networks. Realist researchers will find intriguing the comparisons and refractions, as well as illusions, in the temporalities of the mirror hall.

    Keywords Interactivity Mechanisms Process research Sensemaking Social constructivism Withness
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)
    JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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