The purpose of this paper is to identify the conceptual basis shared by different theories, regardless of the unit of analysis they specifically adopt. The different ontological choice (or different segment of reality studied by each theory) does not hinder conceptual common ground for a good number of organisational theories.
The paper highlights the importance of hierarchical, social and institutional relations and of the technological, cognitive, social and institutional contents. It looks at the common conceptual contents of the two main theories examined, and those of a wide set of other theories addressed here. Both of the theories examined are interpreted in terms of relations and contents, taking a closer look at the passageways and walls that exist between them.
Ontological and conceptual bases for the analysis of organisational theories are established.
The proposal of a common background from which one can examine different organisational theories is, in principle, important. The limitation inherent is that, given the infinite nature of reality, in the material world and in the world of thought, no one can be sure of having proposed the best possible methodological basis.
Relations and contents, as a basis for analysing theories, is an innovative proposal that attempts to gain insights on the basic materials (ontological and conceptual) that go to make up theories. From this point, the path towards a higher order theory can be based on the fundamental aspects (the way in which they interpret reality) of the theories themselves, not by formulating more generalist concepts or constructs.
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