This paper presents Dialectical Inquiry (DI) as a structured qualitative research method for studying participant models of organizational processes. The method is applied to rich secondary anecdotal data on technology transfer, gathered by subject-matter experts in a large firm. DI assumes that the imposition of a dialectical structure will produce emergent theories in tacit use by organizational actors. As such, it serves as a meta-structure for grounded rese arch. Three competing models were discovered in the data. Each model was analyzed in the context of other models to reveal governing assumptions and counter assumptions. It is demonstrated that each model grasps essential truths, but is necessarily incomplete, and would fail due to internal contradictions. The internal and external validity of the results were tested in a manner consistent with qualitative research


Technology Transfer, Dialectic, Organizational Sensemaking, and Metastructure

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.