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The re-construction of organization studies: Wrestling with incommensurability


McKinley, W; Mone, M A (1998). The re-construction of organization studies: Wrestling with incommensurability. Organization, 5(2):169-189.

Abstract

This paper proposes a `re-construction' of organization studies in order to deal with the chronic incommensurability that characterizes the discipline. The paper begins by discussing the issue of incommensurability between organization studies schools of thought, arguing that it represents a significant problem with which the field must cope. Ambiguity of the key constructs that form the building blocks of organization studies schools is identified as one major reason for persistent inter-school incommensurability. To help deal with the problem, we recommend the creation of a dictionary that would include democratically produced definitions of key organization studies constructs. The procedures used by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to develop new accounting standards are presented as a possible model for the dictionary-building process. The role of the dictionary in reducing inter-school incommensurability is discussed, and possible disadvantages considered. While the need to formally create construct definitions is symptomatic of the low paradigm development of organization studies, the dictionary is envisioned as a tool for increasing the future paradigm development of the field.

Abstract

This paper proposes a `re-construction' of organization studies in order to deal with the chronic incommensurability that characterizes the discipline. The paper begins by discussing the issue of incommensurability between organization studies schools of thought, arguing that it represents a significant problem with which the field must cope. Ambiguity of the key constructs that form the building blocks of organization studies schools is identified as one major reason for persistent inter-school incommensurability. To help deal with the problem, we recommend the creation of a dictionary that would include democratically produced definitions of key organization studies constructs. The procedures used by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to develop new accounting standards are presented as a possible model for the dictionary-building process. The role of the dictionary in reducing inter-school incommensurability is discussed, and possible disadvantages considered. While the need to formally create construct definitions is symptomatic of the low paradigm development of organization studies, the dictionary is envisioned as a tool for increasing the future paradigm development of the field.

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17 citations in Web of Science®
27 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1998
Deposited On:13 Aug 2014 09:05
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 06:49
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1350-5084
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/135050849852002
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:9869

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