[We’re pleased to welcome authors Martin Meißner University of the Southern Denmark and Josua Oll of the University of Hamburg. They recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled “The Promise of Eye-Tracking Methodology in Organizational Research: A Taxonomy, Review, and Future Avenues,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Meißner recounts the events that led to the research and the significance it has to the field:]
What motivated you to pursue this research?
Self-report methods continue to be widely used by organizational scholars, although their limitations are well-documented. Explicit calls have therefore been made for more frequent utilization of behavioral data and building on multi-method data sources. In this context, eye tracking (ET) represents one promising source of behavioral data. ET is widely employed in disciplines such as psychology and marketing, but only rarely used in organizational research. The paucity of ET studies in organizational research is surprising as other disciplines have used ET in areas of high relevance to organizational research, such as information search and decision-making, learning, training, and expertise. Furthermore, technological advances in recent years have greatly lowered the barriers for using eye tracking (ET) as a research tool in laboratory and field settings. Given that the costs for ET equipment are on a steady decline and that data quality and ease of use have also improved considerably over the years, we argue that the time is right to expand the standard methodological tool kit of organizational scholars by bringing ET to their minds and hands.
What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?
The most challenging aspect was the development of our integrative taxonomy for eye tracking research. Several ET taxonomies already circulate in the literature but these usually approach ET from a very specific and quite narrow angle. The challenging part was thus to bring those different perspectives together and integrate them in such a way that the full methodological scope of ET comes across clearly.
In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?
Our research is innovative in the sense that we introduce ET, and thus a new mode of behavioral data, to the field of organizational science. We further offer a novel taxonomy for ET research that integrates the more specific perspectives on ET as presented in prior work. Our paper serves as a knowledge brokering paper that reviews and synthesizes past research, and provides future avenues for the application of ET in organizational research. We therefore hope that our work will stimulate the organizational reader’s imagination and motivation for using ET and thereby contribute to the method’s future dissemination and to the advancement of organizational science alike.