The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss, among alternative European currents, a “foundationalist perspective for management research” (FPM) which redefines the identity, rigor and relevance of management research.
The management literature has documented a wide range of criticisms about standard management research which are most often summarized as “the relevance gap” or the “translation problem”. The paper presents the historical development, in the French context, of an epistemological debate about management as an academic field which led to FPM as an alternative to standard approaches and as a solution to such criticisms. In this approach, the identity of management science, its principles of relevance and its definition of rigor, cannot be defined separately.
FPM offers a consistent approach of management research as a science that studies “models of collective action”. Rigor is redefined as the appropriate combination of different types of interactions between the researcher and its object. From the point of view of management research, rigor supports relevance and relevance is a condition of rigor.
The paper focuses on the French context of management research. Yet, the new epistemology of management research that it presents may contribute to the international conversation on the future of the field. In more specialized areas of research, the paper discusses two implications of this new epistemology: a theory of managerial techniques as a critical view of classic organization theory; and a model of collective innovative design as a critical view of standard R&D and project management.
The paper presents a new approach of management research which is built on a new epistemology of collective action. It offers an original way to build management science as a basic science; to avoid the weaknesses of mainstream statistical research; to depart from the “applied social science” model.
Hatchuel, A. (2009), "A foundationalist perspective for management research: a European trend and experience", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 9, pp. 1458-1475. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740910995666Download as .RIS
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