Professor Jorgen Sandberg, University of Queensland Business School

Developing, discussing, and evaluating theories and their value requires a clear understanding of what ‘theory’ is. However, there is considerable confusion of what theory stands for and what qualifies as ‘good’ theory in organisational research. One problem is that researchers often conflate the meaning of theory with the meaning of a specific type of theory, namely the prevalent explanation-prediction theory. Such conflation both conceals and cancels out the legitimacy of other possible types of theories. In this talk, I propose a typology that identifies and explicates four main types of theories within organisation studies: explaining, understanding, ordering, and provoking-oriented theories. Specifically, I show how the constitutive elements of theory (purpose, relation to phenomena, goodness criteria, boundary conditions, conceptual ordering mechanism, and theoretical contribution) take on a distinct meaning in each type of theory and, thus, give rise to substantially different types of theories. The typology thereby provides a platform that enables researchers to develop and assess theories in more varied ways and for a broader set of purposes than typically recognised.

Speaker bio

Jorgen is Professor of Management & Organisation in the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland, Australia, and Distinguished Research Environment Professor at the Warwick Business School, UK. His main research interests include competence and learning in organisations; research methodology; practice theory; theory development; and philosophy of science. He is currently doing research on knowing in professional practice, sensemaking in organisations, and the development of more novel and impactful theories within organisation studies. He has published extensively in top-tier journals, including Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organization Behavior, and Harvard Business Review, as well as several books, including Skillful Performance: Enacting Capabilities, Knowledge, Competence and Expertise in Organizations (with Rouleau, Langley and Tsoukas, Oxford University Press, 2017), Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research (with Alvesson, Sage, 2013), and Managing Understanding in Organizations (with Targama, Sage, 2007).

Address

Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1QA
United Kingdom

Date & time

Date: 23 April 2018
Time to be confirmed

Audience

Open to: Members of the University of Cambridge

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Event location


Trumpington St
Cambridge
CambridgeshireCB2 1QA
United Kingdom

Event timings

Date: 23 April 2018
Time to be confirmed