The Repertory Grid Technique

  • Dorota Bourne
  • Devi A. Jankowicz


This chapter introduces the readers to the Repertory Grid Technique and the theory behind it, Personal Construct Psychology (Kelly, The Psychology of Personal Constructs (1st. ed.). New York: Norton, 1955). A brief overview of the theory and its ontological and epistemological stance is presented together with a summary of the Fundamental Postulate and 11 Corollaries which form the foundations of this theory. At the time of its conception, the Psychology of Personal Constructs presented a wholly new approach to viewing people and psychology. As a basis of his theory, Kelly eliminated the distinction between the sensemaking of the scientist and the individual being studied. According to this epistemological stance, in order to engage in these experiments people develop and use patterns and templates of meaning referred to as personal constructs. The variety and scope of one’s personal constructs describes the repertory of the construct system. The method that captures and describes this system is the Repertory Grid Technique introduced by Kelly alongside his Theory of Personal Constructs. In this chapter, we take the reader through the key elements of this technique such as the selection of Grid elements, together with the basic procedure of Grid elicitation. We introduce a basic procedure for construct elicitation followed by the laddering, pyramiding, and resistance to change techniques used to give greater precision to one’s understanding of the other person’s sensemaking. Next, an overview of possible applications of the technique is presented as well as some examples of its use in organizational research. The chapter concludes with exercises and activities for the readers to check their knowledge and understanding of the material presented.


Repertory grid Personal construct psychology Construct Corollary 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorota Bourne
    • 1
  • Devi A. Jankowicz
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ReadingBerkshireUK
  2. 2.Heriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghScotland

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