IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Managing Interdisciplinary, Longitudinal Research Teams: Extending Grounded Theory-Building Methodologies


  • Gina Colarelli O'Connor

    () (Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180-3590)

  • Mark P. Rice

    () (F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, 242A Olin Hall, Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts 02457-0310)

  • Lois Peters

    () (Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180-3590)

  • Robert W. Veryzer

    () (Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180-3590)


The purpose of this study is to extend the literature on grounded theory development to incorporate considerations for team-based, interdisciplinary longitudinal research projects in the domain of organizational studies. Every element of the research process is affected if the research questions call for team-based data collection and interpretation over a lengthy period of time. It is unusual for a team of scholars from different disciplines to work together, not because the need doesn't exist, but because the mechanisms for doing so are not well established. We draw from the writings of scholars in the fields of research methodology, team and work-group design, and project management to inform our thinking on the subject. The work presented here is based on the authors' experiences during 1995–1999 as members of the Radical Innovation Research Program (RIRP). The RIRP is an ongoing multidisciplinary study of the development and management of radical innovations in established firms. Here, we do not describe the findings or insights associated with the content of the study, radical innovation, which is surely a complex managerial phenomenon. Rather, we focus on the processes used to conduct the research that were affected by the need for a multidisciplinary research team. A framework is presented for thinking about managing such a project. Challenges that we encountered within this framework are identified. Mechanisms we used (or, in some cases, wish we had used in retrospect) for confronting those challenges are also described. Throughout, we compare our study objectives and resultant methodological design choices with those of other multidisciplinary research teams that are by now well known in the organizational management literature. Our objective is to help researchers who are considering launching interdisciplinary, longitudinal studies of organizational processes as they plan and manage those pursuits.

Suggested Citation

  • Gina Colarelli O'Connor & Mark P. Rice & Lois Peters & Robert W. Veryzer, 2003. "Managing Interdisciplinary, Longitudinal Research Teams: Extending Grounded Theory-Building Methodologies," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(4), pages 353-373, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:14:y:2003:i:4:p:353-373
    DOI: 10.1287/orsc.14.4.353.17485

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew H. Van de Ven, 1986. "Central Problems in the Management of Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 590-607, May.
    2. Andrew Abbott, 1990. "A Primer on Sequence Methods," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(4), pages 375-392, November.
    3. Deborah Dougherty, 1992. "Interpretive Barriers to Successful Product Innovation in Large Firms," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(2), pages 179-202, May.
    4. Andrew H. Van de Ven & Marshall Scott Poole, 1990. "Methods for Studying Innovation Development in the Minnesota Innovation Research Program," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(3), pages 313-335, August.
    5. William H. Glick & George P. Huber & C. Chet Miller & D. Harold Doty & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, 1990. "Studying Changes in Organizational Design and Effectiveness: Retrospective Event Histories and Periodic Assessments," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(3), pages 293-312, August.
    6. Andrew M. Pettigrew, 1990. "Longitudinal Field Research on Change: Theory and Practice," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(3), pages 267-292, August.
    7. Van de Ven, Andrew R., 1986. "Central Problems in the Management of Innovation," Agricultural Research Policy Seminar 139708, University of Minnesota Extension.
    8. Robert D. McPhee, 1990. "Alternate Approaches to Integrating Longitudinal Case Studies," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(4), pages 393-405, November.
    9. Peter R. Monge, 1990. "Theoretical and Analytical Issues in Studying Organizational Processes," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(4), pages 406-430, November.
    10. Melin, Goran, 2000. "Pragmatism and self-organization: Research collaboration on the individual level," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 31-40, January.
    11. Andrew H. van de Ven & George P. Huber, 1990. "Longitudinal Field Research Methods for Studying Processes of Organizational Change," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 1(3), pages 213-219, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mary A. Malina & Hanne S. O. Nørreklit & Frank H. Selto, 2007. "Relations among Measures, Climate of Control, and Performance Measurement Models," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 24(3), pages 935-982, September.
    2. Haeussler, Carolin & Sauermann, Henry, 2020. "Division of labor in collaborative knowledge production: The role of team size and interdisciplinarity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(6).
    3. Xue Cheng & Qingpu Zhang, 2018. "How to Develop the Interdisciplinary Innovation Teams Sustainably?—A Simulation Model from a Perspective of Knowledge Fission and Fusion," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-21, September.
    4. Andrew C. Corbett & Heidi M. Neck & Dawn R. DeTienne, 2007. "How Corporate Entrepreneurs Learn from Fledgling Innovation Initiatives: Cognition and the Development of a Termination Script," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 31(6), pages 829-852, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Laura B. Cardinal & Scott F. Turner & Michael J. Fern & Richard M. Burton, 2011. "Organizing for Product Development Across Technological Environments: Performance Trade-offs and Priorities," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(4), pages 1000-1025, August.
    2. Anil K. Gupta & Paul E. Tesluk & M. Susan Taylor, 2007. "Innovation At and Across Multiple Levels of Analysis," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(6), pages 885-897, December.
    3. Gopesh Anand & John Gray & Enno Siemsen, 2012. "Decay, Shock, and Renewal: Operational Routines and Process Entropy in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(6), pages 1700-1716, December.
    4. Bastian Grühn & Steffen Strese & Tessa C. Flatten & Nikolai A. Jaeger & Malte Brettel, 2017. "Temporal Change Patterns of Entrepreneurial Orientation: A Longitudinal Investigation of CEO Successions," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 41(4), pages 591-619, July.
    5. Koryak, Oksana & Lockett, Andy & Hayton, James & Nicolaou, Nicos & Mole, Kevin, 2018. "Disentangling the antecedents of ambidexterity: Exploration and exploitation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 413-427.
    6. Schweisfurth, Tim G. & Raasch, Christina, 2015. "Embedded lead users—The benefits of employing users for corporate innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 168-180.
    7. Sylvain Lenfle & Jonas Söderlund, 2019. "Large-Scale Innovative Projects as Temporary Trading Zones: Toward an Interlanguage Theory," Post-Print hal-02390158, HAL.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/3188 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Taewon Suh & Omar J. Khan & Benedikt Schnellbächer & Sven Heidenreich, 2019. "Strategic Accord And Tension For Business Model Innovation: Examining Different Tacit Knowledge Types And Open Action Strategies," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 24(04), pages 1-29, July.
    10. Caroline A. Bartel & Raghu Garud, 2009. "The Role of Narratives in Sustaining Organizational Innovation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(1), pages 107-117, February.
    11. Paul M. Leonardi, 2011. "Innovation Blindness: Culture, Frames, and Cross-Boundary Problem Construction in the Development of New Technology Concepts," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 347-369, April.
    12. Yuosre F. Badir & Björn Frank & Marcel Bogers, 2020. "Employee-level open innovation in emerging markets: linking internal, external, and managerial resources," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 891-913, September.
    13. Schweisfurth, Tim G., 2017. "Comparing internal and external lead users as sources of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 238-248.
    14. Linus Dahlander & Lars Frederiksen, 2012. "The Core and Cosmopolitans: A Relational View of Innovation in User Communities," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 988-1007, August.
    15. Chang, Dae Ryun & Cho, Hang, 2008. "Organizational memory influences new product success," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 13-23, January.
    16. Panagiotis Tsolakidis & Naoum Mylonas & Eugenia Petridou, 2020. "The Impact of Imitation Strategies, Managerial and Entrepreneurial Skills on Startups’ Entrepreneurial Innovation," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-17, October.
    17. Fanny Simon & Albéric Tellier, 2011. "How do actors shape social networks during the process of new product development?," Post-Print hal-01572294, HAL.
    18. Wei, Yu & Nan, Haoxi & Wei, Guiwu, 2020. "The impact of employee welfare on innovation performance: Evidence from China's manufacturing corporations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 228(C).
    19. Paola Criscuolo & Ammon Salter & Anne L. J. Ter Wal, 2014. "Going Underground: Bootlegging and Individual Innovative Performance," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 1287-1305, October.
    20. Chang, Xin & Fu, Kangkang & Low, Angie & Zhang, Wenrui, 2015. "Non-executive employee stock options and corporate innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 168-188.
    21. Åkesson, Maria & Sørensen, Carsten & Ihlström Eriksson, Carina, 2018. "Ambidexterity under digitalization: a tale of two decades of new media at a Swedish newspaper," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88838, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:14:y:2003:i:4:p:353-373. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthew Walls). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.