Work Study

ISSN: 0043-8022

Publication date: 1 February 2000


(2000), "Unfocused", Work Study, Vol. 49 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/ws.2000.07949aaa.005



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited



It is now the fashion to take decisions and actions based on information obtained from focus groups. Even organisations such as the government and the BBC are now doing it. However, I hope they are very careful about the processes they use - and the filtering they apply to the results. One of the problems about focus groups is that they rely very much on the "status quo", and in particular the current set of values. Humans are really quite conservative and are likely to want to retain the warm and friendly "known" rather than move towards the unknown. In the BBC's case, for example, can you ever imagine Monty Python being a success if the original pilots had been shown to focus groups? Real innovation takes personal courage and collective groups rarely show that in the same way.