Learning research: theory building and theory testing in educational technology innovation and beyond
By Matthew D. Regele
This study draws on extensive ethnographic data and a multiple case study design to develop new theory aboutinnovation processes and techniques. By contrasting the experiences and outcomes of five innovation projects inan educational technology company, the study considers two distinct, if often interrelated, strategies to navigatingmarket uncertainty: theory building and theory testing. The paper theorizes how the appropriate balance betweenthese two strategies is driven bythe multiplicity, or number of and relationships between relevant stakeholdersand stakeholder interests, in the innovation context. The data suggest that multiplicity increases the value ofrigorous–and potentially more time-consuming–theory building,while simultaneously increasing the potentialrisks and costs of poorly grounded theory testing. These insights challenge contemporary views on innovationteaching and practice, which have increasingly emphasized action over analysis.
page: 28 – 50
Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation
Volume 39, Issue 1