Exploring inner landscapes through psychophenomenology : The contribution of neuro-linguistic programming to innovations in researching first person experience
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore a contemporary European development in research into first person accounts of experience, called psychophenomenology, that offers enhancements to phenomenological interviewing. It is a form of guided introspection that seeks to develop finely grained first-person accounts by using distinctions in language, internal sensory representations and imagery that have been incorporated from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). It is also a participative, relational and developmental form of interviewing, in the sense that the interviewee can gain significant insight into their experience; the process is not concerned purely with data gathering. Design/methodology/approach – The authors review the theoretical assumptions on which psychophenomenology is based, then describe the principal method used in psychophenomenology, the “explicitation interview”. The interview protocol is illustrated with transcript data, through which they identify specific aspects of NLP that have been incorporated into psychophenomenology. Findings – Psychophenomenology offers refinements to the precision of phenomenological methods found in organizational research, such as interpretative phenomenological analysis. Research limitations/implications – The epistemological claims and implications of psychophenomenology are reviewed. Practical implications – These developments may provide a basis for reconsidering the research value of introspection, which has often been dismissed as non-rigorous. Originality/value – The paper introduces psychophenomenology to the field of organizational research. It also describes how psychophenomenology has innovated by drawing from NLP, an approach to personal development that is found in organizational practices such as executive coaching, in order to enhance the precision and rigour of both interviews and transcript analysis.