Edited by Flemming Sørensen and Francesco Lapenta
Chapter 4: The laddering method in service innovation research
The laddering method is a qualitative interview technique applied in a situation with one interviewer and one informant with the aim of creating an understanding of the value that business-to-consumer (B2C) customers extract from product attributes. Thus, this methodology aims to depict a mental map of what is actually going on in the consumer’s mind when the consumer is buying and consuming specific goods. It is argued, in this chapter, that this understanding is indeed both interesting and relevant in service innovation. More specifically, realizations of consumers’ values will help to guide marketers to understand what to innovate, how to innovate, how to plan and efficiently communicate changes, how to sell the innovations in the market place and how to implement organizational changes that innovations might cause. Furthermore, the laddering methodology has been applied across many fields with good success and the premises for using the method and for analyzing obtained data, is rather well described. The latter (i.e. premises and data analysis) is often raised as central and critical points of qualitative research methodology when arguing for problems with validity and reliability of findings.
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