WHAT IS THEORY? WHAT THEORY IS NOT AND WHAT IS THE EVALUATING CRITERIA FOR THROEIRATICAL CONTRIBUTION?
MUHAMMAD FAREED SHEIKH
REGISTRATION # 10031
NUST BUSINESS SCHOOL
What is theory? What theory is not and what is the evaluating criterion for theoretical contribution?
The purpose/objective of this easy is to describe what is theory? Kinds of theory? What are the constituents of theory? What is the standard against which theory is evaluated? What theory is not? Predictive success is stated as one of the important the success criteria and how much significance should be given to it for acceptance of theory? And how management theories are developed?
Definition of Theory
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A theory is functional within the boundary or assumptions of time value and space so as to avoid the interpretation of different theorist and their theoretical framework. Within the boundary of space time and value, variables and hypothesis or constructs and propositions should be clearly defined. Variable are the concrete entities which are capable of two or more values whereas hypothesis is the relationship among variables. Constructs are mental abstract of a phenomena whereas proposition (Bacharach 1989). The purpose of theory is to organize and communicate.
Evaluation Criteria for Theory
The primary criteria as given by Bacharach for the evaluation of theory are utility and falsifiability. Utility determines the usefulness of theory whereas falsifiability determiners whether the theory empirically refutable or not. In order to clarify the concept of falsifiability, it can be said that theory is acceptable and functional till the time falsifiability of theory is proven. It’s a falsifiability that continues to add work in theory development because if there is no falsifiability of theory then the development of work in field of research would have been halted. It an urge to prove wrong the work of other that actually keep on moving the wheel of development of theories. Connectivity and transformation of theory also determines its fitness (Bacharach 1989).
What is not Theory?
In body of research we see more consensuses among researchers regarding what theory is not rather then what constitutes the theory. Merton (1967) has been most expressive about approximations that it takes at least four types which cannot be referred as Theory but help in development of theory, concepts, variable, hypothesis and empirical generalization.
Starbuck (1993) presented his point of view on what theory is not? By relating it with the example of medical profession that model like taught in medical colleges is being adopted in academic research in which scientist are trying to translate data intro theories and prescribing from theories. Data is like indication, theories like diagnose, and prescriptions like treatments. Theory does not clutch all the information in data and they do not determine prescription exclusively.
Reference lists, data, lists of variables, diagrams, and lists of hypotheses. These emergent products summarize progress, give direction, and helps in further planning. These are leftovers of theory but are not themselves theories.
Sutton & Saw (1995) stated that references which ate made in literature review taken from previous work only help in setting new stage for ideas. To include the reference lists is not theory as it does not contain the casual logic that can explain relation among variable or hypothesis. Authors need to acknowledge the stream of logic on which they are drawing and to which they are contributing. But listing references to existing theories and mentioning the names of...