THINGS TO DO

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Exercise 3.1 A First Practice Grid

(a) Make up a grid sheet like Figure 3.1.

(b) Find a friend with whom you both feel comfortable in having a gossip

about people you both know. The topic is ‘friends’, that is, your mutual

acquaintances.

(c) Ask your interviewee to list seven people, some who are known well by

the interviewee; others less so; some with whom the interviewee is more

friendly, and others less so. Enter their names along the diagonal element

lines.

(d) In element line number 8, ask your interviewee to enter the word ‘myself’;

make it clear that this refers to your interviewee’s picture of him or herself,

and not to you! Using a ‘myself’ element can be interesting, but, if your

interviewee is a little shy, you can drop this step if you prefer.

(e) Tell the interviewee that s/he can use initials, rather than names; if so,

write the initials along the diagonal element lines. In this case, of course,

you won’t be able to discuss the elements in detail with your interviewee!

(f) Now follow the basic 10-step procedure for eliciting as many constructs as

you can.

In doing this exercise, enjoy the gossip, but pace the whole session so that you

complete the grid (aiming at 10 constructs) in under an hour.

At the end, jot down any procedural questions that occur to you, and then

read Section 3.2 in detail. If, when you’ve done so, you still aren’t sure, don’t

worry. Some common questions and problems are dealt with in the next

chapter.

Exercise 3.2 Designing a Grid

Read over Section 3.2 before proceeding.

(a) Choose a subject you’d be interested in exploring with a colleague. Tell

him or her why you’re doing it, and negotiate a mutually acceptable form

of words for the topic.

(b) Make a decision yourself on how you’re to arrive at a set of elements:

. your choice

. interviewee choice

. mutually negotiated, or

. elicited; if you decide to elicit elements, decide on the categories you’ll

be using.

(c) Prepare a grid sheet with the relevant number of columns for elements,

and mark in the triads you’ll use. Prepare a set of cards, and write in the

elements on each card once the elements have been determined.

(d) Decide on a suitable form of words for the qualifying phrase.

 (e) Now follow the basic procedure, with the qualifying phrase added at step

4, aiming to arrive at between 8 and 10 constructs.

At the end, spend a little while in discussing what you might have done

differently to achieve a better understanding of his or her views. Note the

relevant points, and any others that may occur to you, especially any questions

you might have about the details of the technique. Consider the suggestions

for additional reading set out below.

Exercise 3.3 A Self-Grid

If you feel you need some further practice, especially in

. devising the wording for qualifying phrases

. trying out the laddering down procedure,

then I suggest you do a grid on yourself. Choose a topic (films I have seen?

books I have read? bosses I have worked for? people with whom I’ve been in

love during my life?) and go through the 10-point procedure, looking at the

difference made by using slightly different qualifying statements. Try ‘in

terms of how effective they were in achieving their objectives’; in terms of why

I liked or disliked them’; ‘from the point of view of how I felt about them’.

Practise laddering down to see what a more precise expression of a construct

feels like.

THINGS TO READ

There is a brief account of grid elicitation and analysis in the following. You

might like to read it as an overview, and to locate the grid as a research

technique if you’re using grids for a dissertation.

. Jankowicz, A.D. (2000a) Business Research Projects. 3rd edn. London:

Thomson.

It’s a useful procedural guide to the completion of a degree project or

dissertation in support of undergraduate, postgraduate, and post-experience

courses, aimed at business and management students working at a level below

PhD.

If you want a flavour of how grid and related techniques that draw on a

Kellian, constructivist perspective are used in human resource management

and organisation development work, the following is informative and very

readable.

. Jones, H. (1998) ‘Bringing two worlds together: personal and management

development in the NHS’. Human Resource Development International 1, 341–

356.

Helen Jones used a variety of approaches to encourage UK National Health

Service (NHS) consultants and managers to express their rather different ways

of construing as they collaborated in running their particular part of the NHS,

as part of a long-term personal development and team-building programme.