Advantages of MCA
The freedom that MCA gives to the research subject and the abundance of information that is obtained by the very nature of MCA’s free form response format provides for peering into the subject without limit.
Obviously the only answers one will get out of a survey/questionnaire are those to the questions asked. MCA indicates the topic and then obtains a narration. The researcher’s task is to provide the motivation for a response – whatever that response may be.
Cultures, groups, age, experiences are all elements that affect the way we perceive and react to events.
An example can be seen in the clinical trials performed at Duke Medical School with the aim of promoting behavior modification in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Since MCA's information originates directly from the subject(s) of the research and not as reactions to individual questions conceived by a person (of a given group), the cultural bias of the response is minimal to inexistent.
Often the same event may elicit similar answers to straightforward inquiries while, in fact, eliciting different inner attitudes as a result of the way the event or its presentation is perceived by the subjects.
An example of this occurred when the management committee of a manufacturing company decided to accept a large excess of orders for the holiday season. A study, using MCA, to gauge the readiness for this excess of work revealed differing situations in two departments. The first department would have tried to circumvent the added workload while the second appeared ready for the task. The first focused on a readiness for overtime and cancelled leaves; the second on implied higher pay and bonuses.
While this revealed that the presentation had a strong effect on the attitude of the employees it also showed that the expectations had to be considered and addressed with better communication to avoid disillusionment.
In either case the insight into the inner attitudes and expectations of the subjects was an important guide to management.
MCA sees deep into the subjects' individual perceptions and ideas. The knowledge of these individual perceptions and ideas can be used to advantage. In the case above, a method of planning for overtime, as well as bonuses and other rewards can be incorporated into management planning. Individual reactions can be channeled much the same way as commandos work together while using individual initiative in action.