The purpose of this paper is to analyze more than three decades of theory testing published in leading operations management (OM) journals.
This piece examines the amount of theory testing, the extent to which theories are tested multiple times, and the disciplinary origins of the theories that are tested.
The analysis revealed that empirical OM researchers have increasingly responded to demands for more theory-driven knowledge over time. OM researchers are developing and using a wide array of domestic theories to understand empirical data. The examination also revealed a substantial focus on theory borrowed from other scientific fields.
The findings here suggest that OM is clearly a maturing discipline. As the discipline matures, it is important to consider to what extent borrowed theories and frameworks can offer value to OM. A preliminary vetting model is advanced in order to critically assess foreign theory. It is hoped that future screening promotes only the most useful non-domestic theory, thereby ensuring sufficient journal space for domestic theory and resulting in effective solutions to the pressing, practical problems of the OM field.
Kenworthy, T. and Balakrishnan, J. (2016), "Theory usage in empirical operations management research: a review and discussion", Management Decision, Vol. 54 No. 10, pp. 2413-2432. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-01-2016-0010Download as .RIS
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