Problem structuring: a personal construct theory perspective

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Virginia Tech


Why problem structuring is a crucial activity in policy analysis is discussed making references to literature. The shortcomings of the rational model of decision making and problem solving are pointed out. A theoretical perspective with its ontological and epistemological assumptions are elaborated and developed as an alternative to the rational model. Problem structuring is defined as a cognitive process, and George Kelly's personal construct psychology is adopted as the theoretical basis to develop a problem structuring method. The method developed uses Kelly's repertory grid technique in a particular form that is modified for the specific needs of problem structuring in groups. A computer software developed particularly for this method is used interactively in elicitation of personal constructs and their analyses. The applications of the method are illustrated in two group cases, and the implications for theory and further applications are discussed.