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Business applications

One would imagine that PCP would have a ready use in the business realm of application. This is, after all, a world in which constructivist ontology pertains: "truths" and "absolutes" are frequently matters for negotiation, agreement, and disagreement between differing stakeholders who take a different perspective on issues as a function of their role, experience, or business function. Nevertheless, a preference for naïve realist notions of "objectivity" persists, and one might be forgiven for imagining that the only way that PCP might make a significant impact on practitioners' attention is by associating our concepts or techniques with the latest managerial fashion.

The current interest in knowledge management provides an example. While organisations seem clear about the need for sophisticated information systems to store, retrieve and disseminate knowledge in the service of competitive advantage, they are much less certain about what knowledge is, how it might be identified, and particularly, how it might be elicited. A combination of Kelly and Polanyi would have much to offer; at present, the occasional article proposing the repertory grid as a tacit knowledge elicitation device (e.g. Jankowicz, 2001) is all that has attracted managerial attention.

However, the repertory grid does have a recognised, albeit minor, place in Human Resource Management, (HRM) where its use as a job analysis technique leads to improved job descriptions, training content specification, and as a background to job evaluation, largely because it encourages careful thought about precisely what kind of behaviour makes a difference between successful and less successful job performance. Such specificity is particularly important in performance appraisal, a procedure by which an employee’s performance is reviewed periodically and fresh targets set.

The repertory grid can also be used in team-building and climate setting, by means of an exchange and collaborative examination of constructs applied to some mutually important topic by people who must learn to work together

Sections to be completed:

(Training evaluation)
(Decision making)
(Expert systems & more generally, knowledge management)


  • Jankowicz A.D.(2001) Why does subjectivity make us nervous? Making the tacit explicit. Journal of Intellectual Capital  2, 1, 61-73
  • Polanyi, M. (1974). Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. Chicago, University of Chicago Press

Devi Jankowicz

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004