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Advancing Organisational Buying Behaviour Theory and Research: 1956-2056

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Yes, this article is ambitious in covering fifty years of OBB theory and research before and after 2006. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" comes readily-to-mind. Still, explicitly identifying and reflecting on landmark contributions in the literature likely helps to increase the quality of sensemaking as to where OBB theory and research is heading in the decades ahead. 1956 is an important OBB milestone because it included the publication of Cyert, Simon, and Trow's "observation of a business decision" – a call for a descriptive theory of "how real human beings go about making choices in the real world." CST (1956) illustrate propositions in their rudimentary descriptive theory via a thick description of one organisation's real-life process in deciding on (not) buying a mainframe computer. CST's landmark contribution follows a comparative method case-based logic of examining the fit between the rational-choice process theories with real-life process data. The OBB literature since 1956 includes deepening and extending of core propositions in CST's early descriptive theory building. These advances include Mintzberg, Raisinghani, and Theoret's (1976) mapping the "structure of unstructured decision-making," von Hippel's (1986) lead-user's drive innovation proposal, Biemans (1991) identifying third-party influences in buying new technologies, Langley, Mintzberg, Pitcher, Posada, and Saint-Macary, (1995) "opening-up decision making theory to include seemingly random context influences, and other important milestones." The present article's sensemaking of the 1956-2006 literature informs the building of case-based reasoning models that goes beyond the arguing among empirical positivists versus existential phenomenologists to a bright future that includes system dynamics and mixed methods research strategies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-07-01

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