Advertisement

Extraordinary: Reflections on Sample Representativeness

  • Viktor DörflerEmail author
  • Marc Stierand
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture book series (PASCC)

Abstract

In this chapter we reflect on a particular way of studying immensely high complexity, such as creativity, by investigating extraordinary achievers. The basis of our reflections are two empirical studies, one conducted in the area of haute cuisine, through interviewing top chefs, and the second conducted in the area of science, thorough interviewing Nobel Laureates. We explore why we feel that studying such extraordinary individuals can be more fruitful for better understanding creativity than trying to achieve an artificially manufactured sample that provides insights about the creative potential of the average individual. We outline the problems we see with the notion of representative samples from both conceptual as well as feasibility perspectives and offer an argument for studying the extraordinary instead.

Keywords

Qualitative research Significant samples Representativeness Extraordinary Generalizability 

References

  1. Bacon, S. F. (1620/2005). Novum organum: True directions concerning the interpretation of nature (e-book Ed.). Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Calder, B. J., Phillips, L. W., & Tybout, A. M. (1982). The concept of external validity. The Journal of Consumer Research, 9(3), 240–244.  https://doi.org/10.1086/208920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cousins, J., O’Gorman, K., & Stierand, M. (2010). Molecular gastronomy: Cuisine innovation or modern day alchemy? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(3), 399–415.  https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111011035972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1997). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  5. Csíkszentmihályi, M. (2002). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (2nd ed.). London: Rider.Google Scholar
  6. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Dörfler, V., & Ackermann, F. (2012). Understanding intuition: The case for two forms of intuition. Management Learning, 43(5), 545–564.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507611434686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dörfler, V., & Eden, C. (2014a). Research on intuition using intuition. In M. Sinclair (Ed.), Handbook of research methods on intuition (pp. 264–276). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Dörfler, V., & Eden, C. (2014b). Understanding ‘expert’ scientists: Implications for management and organization research. Paper presented at the AoM 2014: 74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Philadelphia, PA.  https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2014.10732abstractCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dörfler, V., & Eden, C. (2017). Becoming a Nobel Laureate: Patterns of a journey to the highest level of expertise. Paper presented at the AoM 2017: 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, GA. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/319373590
  11. Dörfler, V., & Stierand, M. (2009). Investigating the extraordinary. Paper presented at the BAM 2009: 23rd Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, Brighton.Google Scholar
  12. Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532–550.  https://doi.org/10.2307/258557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eszterházy, P. (2006). Utazás a tizenhatos mélyére. Budapest, Hungary: Magvető.Google Scholar
  14. Gardner, H. (1993). Creating minds: An anatomy of creativity seen through the lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Gardner, H. (1995). Leading minds: An anatomy of leadership. London: Harper Collins Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Gardner, H. (1997). Extraordinary minds: Portraits of exceptional individuals and an examination of our extraordinariness. London: Phoenix.Google Scholar
  17. Gibbert, M. (2006). Generalizing about uniqueness: An essay on an apparent paradox in the resource-based view. Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2), 124–134.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1056492606287793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gibbert, M., Ruigrok, W., & Wicki, B. (2008). What passes as a rigorous case study? Strategic Management Journal, 29(13), 1465–1474.  https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers – The story of success. New York: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  20. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1972). Subjective probability: A judgment of representativeness. Cognitive Psychology, 3(3), 430–454.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(72)90016-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lebuda, I. (2014). Big C research–The big challenge? Reflections from research into eminent creativity in the light of the investment theory of creativity. Creativity: Theories-Research-Application, 1(1), 33–45.  https://doi.org/10.15290/ctra.2014.01.01.03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. March, J. G., Sproull, L. S., & Tamuz, M. (1991). Learning from samples of one or fewer. Organization Science, 2(1), 1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maslow, A. H. (1966/2002). The psychology of science: A reconnaissance. Chapel Hill, NC: Maurice Bassett Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being (2nd ed.). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  25. Maslow, A. H. (1970/1994). Religions, values, and peak-experiences. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Maslow, A. H. (1971/1993). The farther reaches of human nature. London: Penguin Compass.Google Scholar
  27. McGrath, J. E., & Brinberg, D. (1983). External validity and the research process: A comment on the Calder/Lynch dialogue. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(1), 115–124.  https://doi.org/10.1086/208951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mill, J. S. (1861). Utilitarianism. In G. Williams (Ed.), Utilitarianism, on liberty, considerations on representative government, remarks on Bentham’s philosophy (pp. 1–67). London: Everyman.Google Scholar
  29. Polányi, M. (1962a/2002). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Polányi, M. (1962b). Tacit knowing: Its bearing on some problems of philosophy. Reviews of Modern Physics, 34(4), 601–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Polányi, M. (1966/1983). The tacit dimension. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith.Google Scholar
  32. Scandura, T. A., & Williams, E. A. (2000). Research methodology in management: Current practices, trends, and implications for future research. Academy of Management Journal, 43(6), 1248–1264.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1556348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Simonton, D. K. (1999). Significant samples: The psychological study of eminent individuals. Psychological Methods, 4(4), 425–451.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1082-989X.4.4.425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Simonton, D. K. (2014). Significant samples – Not significance tests! The often overlooked solution to the replication problem. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(1), 11–12.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stierand, M. (2015). Developing creativity in practice: Explorations with World-Renowned Chefs. Management Learning, 46(5), 598–617.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507614560302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stierand, M., & Dörfler, V. (2011). Revising the notion of sample representativeness. Paper presented at the BAM 2011: 25th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, Birmingham, UK.Google Scholar
  37. Stierand, M., & Dörfler, V. (2012a). Iterative learning: A way of achieving generalizability in idiographic research? Paper presented at the BAM 2012: 26th Annual Meeting of the British Academy of Management, Cardiff, UK.Google Scholar
  38. Stierand, M., & Dörfler, V. (2012b). Reflecting on a phenomenological study of creativity and innovation in haute cuisine. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 24(6), 946–957.  https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111211247254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stierand, M., & Dörfler, V. (2013). Idiographic explanatory phenomenology: A contextualist approach to elucidating experiences. Paper presented at the BAM 2013: 27th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, UK. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268925834
  40. Stierand, M., & Dörfler, V. (2016). The role of intuition in the creative process of expert chefs. Journal of Creative Behavior, 50(3), 178–185.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stierand, M., Dörfler, V., & MacBryde, J. (2014). Creativity and innovation in haute cuisine: Towards a systemic model. Creativity and Innovation Management, 23(1), 15–28.  https://doi.org/10.1111/caim.12050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stierand, M., & Lynch, P. (2008). The art of creating culinary innovations. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 8(4), 337–350.  https://doi.org/10.1057/thr.2008.28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Taleb, N. N. (2008). The black swan: The impact of the highly improbable. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  44. Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1971). Belief in the law of small numbers. Psychological Bulletin, 76(2), 105–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wacker, J. G. (1998). A definition of theory: Research guidelines for different theory-building research methods in operations management. Journal of Operations Management, 16(4), 361–385.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-6963(98)00019-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Weick, K. E. (1989). Theory construction as disciplined imagination. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 516–531.  https://doi.org/10.5465/AMR.1989.4308376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Weick, K. E. (1995). What theory is not, theorizing is. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40(3), 385–390.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2393789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Strathclyde Business SchoolGlasgowUK
  2. 2.École hôtelière de Lausanne, HES-SO//University of Applied Sciences Western SwitzerlandLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations