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Paradigms


Scherer, A G; Patzer, M (2008). Paradigms. In: Clegg, S; Bailey, J R. International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies (Vol. 4). London: Sage, 1218-1222.

Abstract

A paradigm labels the basic assumptions about a researcher´s purpose, the character of the examined object (ontology), and the suitable methodology for examining the object. Therefore a paradigm gives the answer to the basic questions of the philosophy of science: (1) What is the purpose of research? and (2) By what means and methodologies can this purpose be achieved? Scherer suggested in 2003 that a paradigm describes the way a researcher gains explanations for social phenomena.
However, scientists do not share a common understanding of what doing research, developing theories, and deriving knowledge really mean, particularly in the social sciences but also in the natural sciences as Kuhn proposed in 1970. Scientists often have different views of how to conduct a scientific investigation. This may be surprising for students who believe that science is characterized by one special method. However, Pfeffer lamented in 1993 that organizational researchers use different methods that produce different, even inconsistent results and there is no agreement about which of the methods is better or which results are "more true".

To analyze this variety there have been many attempts to systematize organization theories according to their underlying methods as well as the research interests of the investigator. In the following paragraphs we will focus on the systematization proposed by Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan in 1979. This systematization is widely discussed and is designed following the aforementioned basic questions of the philosophy of science.

A paradigm labels the basic assumptions about a researcher´s purpose, the character of the examined object (ontology), and the suitable methodology for examining the object. Therefore a paradigm gives the answer to the basic questions of the philosophy of science: (1) What is the purpose of research? and (2) By what means and methodologies can this purpose be achieved? Scherer suggested in 2003 that a paradigm describes the way a researcher gains explanations for social phenomena.
However, scientists do not share a common understanding of what doing research, developing theories, and deriving knowledge really mean, particularly in the social sciences but also in the natural sciences as Kuhn proposed in 1970. Scientists often have different views of how to conduct a scientific investigation. This may be surprising for students who believe that science is characterized by one special method. However, Pfeffer lamented in 1993 that organizational researchers use different methods that produce different, even inconsistent results and there is no agreement about which of the methods is better or which results are "more true".

To analyze this variety there have been many attempts to systematize organization theories according to their underlying methods as well as the research interests of the investigator. In the following paragraphs we will focus on the systematization proposed by Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan in 1979. This systematization is widely discussed and is designed following the aforementioned basic questions of the philosophy of science.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:06 Feb 2009 11:50
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:38
Publisher:Sage
ISBN:978-1-4129-1515-1
Additional Information:View research and articles of the Author Andreas Georg Scherer on SSRN Author page: http://ssrn.com/author=721161
Official URL:http://www.sagepub.com/refbooksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book227242
Related URLs:http://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&mode=Advanced&vid=ZAD&vl%28186672378UI0%29=isbn&vl%281UI0%29=contains&vl%28freeText0%29=978-1-4129-1515-1

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