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Projective techniques: Are they a victim of clashing paradigms?

Bond, Derek and Ramsey, Elaine and Boddy, Clive R. (2011): Projective techniques: Are they a victim of clashing paradigms?


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This paper reviews the concept and historical development of projective techniques. It considers why, given the importance of their psychoanalytical foundations to the underlying paradigms of management theory, they have been generally marginalised as a mainstream business and management research tool. Projective techniques are defined and their historical origins delineated. This is followed by an overview of projective ‘types’. Some of the general advantages and current issues associated with employing projective techniques are also presented. Thereafter a discussion of the reasons projective techniques have not been widely adopted by positivist academic management researchers is made. We put forward the central argument that since many of the challenges facing management research are due to the restrictions introduced by bounded rationality, projective techniques offer a possible alternative to traditional mixed methods.

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