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Article

Yonca Hurol

This study aims to define the main characteristics and possibilities of ontological approaches to research in architecture by considering content, methodologies and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to define the main characteristics and possibilities of ontological approaches to research in architecture by considering content, methodologies and subject position in this type of research and questions if there is a future for this type of research or not.

Design/methodology/approach

The primary data collection method of this research is based on the ethos of the author who has taught research courses for many years. This research has also been questioned through the discussions made within a related PhD course.

Findings

Results of this research reveal that the spontaneous ideology of architecture might have influenced the neglection of the ontological approaches in academic research in architecture.

Social implications

Architecture has an interesting position towards reductionism because architectural thinking has ontological characteristics. The ontological approaches to academic research seems to be more applicable to architecture. However, research in architecture does not necessarily have this ontological character.

Originality/value

The “ontological approach to academic research” covers a larger set of research than the method of ontology, which is used to discuss the categories, limitations in research. Thinking on ontological approaches to research is needed because there is a considerable increase in the use of mixed research methods, which combine qualitative and quantitative research. The second reason for this is the criticisms about the unethical reductionism directed towards contemporary science by philosophers. However, there is no sufficient literature on the ontological approaches to research. This is true also for the academic research in architecture.

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Article

Zandra Balbinot and Rafael Borim‐De‐Souza

The purpose of this paper is to propose styles of reasoning for the characterization of sustainable development and sustainability as quasi‐objects of study for management.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose styles of reasoning for the characterization of sustainable development and sustainability as quasi‐objects of study for management.

Design/methodology/approach

This proposition occurs in three primary dimensions: the first deals with ontological postures, the second with epistemological perspectives, and the third with supplementary conceptualizations (dominant paradigms, the meanings of sustainable development and sustainability, and the approaches to classifying sustainability).

Findings

After the theoretical‐analytical discussion the authors present a framework that classifies different possibilities for framing sustainable development and sustainability as interesting research themes for management studies.

Research limitations/implications

The paper considers that discussions about sustainable development and sustainability as concerns management studies need a deeper conceptual and theoretical scrutiny. This deficiency is expressed in the difficulty in identifying ontological postures, epistemological perspectives, dominant paradigms, and conceptual approaches that might allow these themes to have a greater coherence so that they may be researched within the scope of management studies.

Originality/value

Sustainable development and sustainability are discussed using various analytical perspectives, a consequence of the fact that these phenomena are understood and discussed by various social collectives, which contributes to an interpretive and conceptual oscillation of these themes for management. The relationship between sustainable development, sustainability, and social factions justifies their characterization as quasi‐objects of study for management. Via this characterization the authors intend to create a space for discussion aimed at presenting statements that are candidates for truth, but not as absolute or unquestionable truths.

Details

Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

Keywords

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Article

Sven Modell

The purpose of this paper is to review extant accounting research combining institutional and critical theories to examine whether the paradigmatic tensions associated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review extant accounting research combining institutional and critical theories to examine whether the paradigmatic tensions associated with such research can be alleviated whilst engendering politically engaged scholarship aimed at facilitating processes of emancipation in organisational fields.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a review of relevant accounting research and offers recommendations for how to combine institutional and critical research approaches in a paradigmatically consistent way.

Findings

Extant accounting research combining institutional and critical theories has not dealt effectively with the partly inter-related problems of ontological drift (i.e. misalignment of ontological assumptions and epistemological commitments) and the conflation of notions of agency and structure. If such problems remain unaddressed institutional research aimed at generating politically engaged scholarship and human emancipation is unlikely to progress in a paradigmatically consistent direction. Recommendations for how to address these issues, grounded in recent advances in critical realism, are elaborated upon. This results in a contingent view of the ontological possibilities of emancipation in organisational fields as well as the epistemological premises that need to be filled to engender processes of emancipation.

Originality/value

The paper reviews an emerging body of research seeking to radicalise institutional accounting research and enhance its contributions to democratic debate in organisations and society. It also outlines how some pertinent paradigmatic tensions associated with such research may be addressed.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Rafael Borim-de-Souza, Zandra Balbinot, Eric Ford Travis, Luciano Munck and Adriana Roseli Wünsch Takahashi

– The purpose of this paper is to characterize sustainable development and sustainability as study objects for comparative management theory.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to characterize sustainable development and sustainability as study objects for comparative management theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The primary objective of this paper is to characterize sustainable development and sustainability as study objects for comparative management theory.

Findings

Analytical dimensions were related to establishing three proposals, which represent possible theoretical routes for characterizing sustainable development and sustainability as study objects for comparative management theory. A framework which illustrates the theoretical route taken to develop these proposals is presented at the end of the theoretical-analytical discussions.

Research limitations/implications

This paper considers that discussion about sustainable development, sustainability and comparative management theory, as interesting themes for organizational studies, lack epistemological clarity and theoretical depth. Such shortcomings are identified based upon the difficulty in identifying ontological postures, epistemological perspectives, dominant paradigms and conceptual approaches that enable greater coherence to analysis of these themes, and also support the undertaking of research that can contribute to enriching proposals related to comparative management theory.

Originality/value

This is an innovative paper as it relates comparative management theory approaches with structural concepts from sustainable development and sustainability developed using contributions from organizational theories, sociological reflections, and political science. The proposed characterization is intended to blaze new and alternative epistemological paths for adding greater rigor to empirical research focussed on the relationship investigated here in a theoretical context.

Details

Cross Cultural Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

Keywords

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Article

Michael C. Brennan and Pauric McGowan

To explore, describe and explain what processes are at work in facilitating or inhibiting entrepreneurship amongst academics.

Abstract

Purpose

To explore, describe and explain what processes are at work in facilitating or inhibiting entrepreneurship amongst academics.

Design/methodology/approach

A corporate entrepreneurship perspective is used to construct a framework for understanding academic entrepreneurship at different ontological levels within a university context. A single case study method is adopted involving a purposeful sampling strategy of academic entrepreneurs within one university. A sense‐making approach investigated the practice of entrepreneurship by academics.

Findings

Develops a tentative framework for bounding the phenomenon of academic entrepreneurship and presents a model that attempts to identify key elements of academic entrepreneurship in terms of different modes of knowledge production and value‐creating processes.

Research limitations/implications

The single case setting limits the applicability of the research to other institutions. However, the framework and model that are developed and the overall approach are valuable contributions to an important, emerging research area. The academic entrepreneurship framework provides a series of logically related conceptual bins that form a basis for future research. The model of academic entrepreneurship attempts to explain how academics produce different types of knowledge.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that academic entrepreneurs have a complex set of relationships with their parent disciplines and the university setting within which they operate. The outcomes indicate that orthodox models of entrepreneurship are not always meaningful as regards understanding what academic entrepreneurs actually do in practice.

Originality/value

The paper investigates a little‐understood phenomenon and one that is increasingly important for UK policy makers and university administrators. The academic entrepreneurship framework and model is an original and valuable contribution to the study of this phenomenon.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

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Article

Fragkoulis Papagiannis, Patrizia Gazzola, David Slavata and Daniele Grechi

The purpose of this paper is to present an innovative approach for the strategic design of public–private partnerships (PPP) and private finance initiatives (PFI) based on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an innovative approach for the strategic design of public–private partnerships (PPP) and private finance initiatives (PFI) based on ontology.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a historic approach, it introduces a posteriori knowledge, deriving from the scheme’s stakeholders at the construction and implementation phase of PPPs. Continuous failures of these collaboration schemes and initiatives underline the necessity for a novel project structure. The conceptual argument is based both on empirical and epistemological approaches. It integrates the value-added (VA) of the ontological theory in the PPP/PFI business strategy.

Findings

The research emphasises contemporary design gaps of their current structure and proposes an ontological redesign. The proposed redesign produces a conceptually innovative scheme, which enhances the VA business strategies and their objectives to the structure of these collaborating schemes.

Practical implications

The ontological design of this paper is useful for academics and business consultants around the world and especially in Europe for the successful growth and development of such dynamic collaborations.

Originality/value

Enterprise ontology bridges conceptual and structural gaps of strategic objectives, which are primarily responsible for the failures of PPP collaboration.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article

Ross Brennan

The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate about the existence and nature of a “gap” between theory and practice in management.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate about the existence and nature of a “gap” between theory and practice in management.

Design/methodology/approach

The putative theory/practice “gap” in management is investigated by examining the theory/practice debate in three cognate fields–economics, nursing and marketing.

Findings

The relationship between theory and practice is actively debated in all three of the fields. In economics, criticism has been directed at the implicit ontological assumptions made in formal mathematical methods employed by orthodox neoclassical economists. In nursing the debate has centred on the practical issues associated with implementing evidence based practice; in particular identifying and seeking to overcome barriers to implementation. In marketing, managers find most academic theory difficult to read and irrelevant; this may be because the goals of academics and the goals of practitioners are different.

Research limitations/implications

Potentially fruitful topics for further research are identified at the pragmatic, epistemological and ontological levels.

Originality/value

The paper identifies lessons for the field of management research from economics, nursing and marketing. Each of these three areas provides a unique lens through which to view the research/practice “gap” in management.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

Keywords

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Article

Eric D. DeRosia and Glenn L. Christensen

The purpose of this paper is to propose and illustrate blind qualitative hypothesis testing, which is a qualitative research technique that further generalizes the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose and illustrate blind qualitative hypothesis testing, which is a qualitative research technique that further generalizes the well‐known notion of “blindness” in research to include a qualitative researcher. The technique introduces a method to test a priori hypotheses using qualitative, emergent observation and analysis without the biasing influence of prior knowledge of the hypotheses being tested.

Design/methodology/approach

In essence, the proposed technique is as follows. After forming a set of a priori predictive hypotheses, a theoretical researcher (who may or may not be a qualitative researcher) engages the cooperation of a qualitative researcher to perform an empirical study. The qualitative empirical researcher is given adequate guidance to perform a study but is kept blind to the hypotheses. After the qualitative empirical researcher makes observations and forms his or her conclusions, the qualitative empirical researcher and the theoretical researcher jointly determine the extent to which the conclusions support or disconfirm the hypotheses. The qualitative empirical researcher then identifies emergent themes and inductive conclusions that contribute beyond the a priori hypotheses. A study testing consumer response to advertising is described as an illustration of the proposed technique.

Findings

The proposed technique diminishes the influence of the ontological assumptions of researchers on hypothesis tests. By reducing a priori expectations, the proposed technique frees practical and academic market researchers to more fully immerse in the context of interest and better recognize subtle phenomena and imbricated, complex intrapersonal and/or social interactions. Furthermore, the proposed technique provides a new way for qualitative methods to go beyond the “supportive” and “exploratory” role to which they have often been limited.

Originality/value

An ability to test hypotheses gives qualitative researchers another way to contribute to the literatures currently dominated by constricted and pallid questionnaire‐based methods within the positivist tradition. Such literatures will benefit from the methodological pluralism encouraged by the technique introduced here because some benefits of qualitative research (including an ability to identify unanticipated, emergent findings) offer much needed compensation for inherent flaws in questionnaire‐based methods.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

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Article

Deema Refai, Rita G. Klapper and John Thompson

Drawing on the Gestalt approach the purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic framework for enterprise education (EE) research based on Social Constructionism…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the Gestalt approach the purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic framework for enterprise education (EE) research based on Social Constructionism, illustrating how the latter supports research into experiential learning in EE in seven UK Higher Education (HE) pharmacy schools.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a qualitative empirical study involving educators in UK Higher Education Institution pharmacy schools in semi-structured interviews, and investigates the delivery of EE through experiential learning approaches. Social Constructionism is proposed as a suitable underlying philosophical paradigm.

Findings

A Social Constructionism paradigm, which adopts relative realism ontology, transactional epistemology, and Gadamer’s hermeneutic phenomenology, offers a relevant, multi-perspectival philosophical foundation for EE research, supporting transactional relationships within contexts of multiple possibilities.

Research limitations/implications

Social Constructionism does not necessarily support the individualistic paradigm, as advocated by constructivists; and the values associated with the former encourage a more collaborative and cooperative approach different from the latter.

Practical implications

The paper supports the understanding that applying experiential learning through inter-disciplinary and inter-professional learning is regarded as an approach beneficial for educators, institutions and learners, within the context of EE.

Originality/value

This paper offers a holistic conceptual framework of Social Constructionism that draws on the “Gestalt Approach”, and highlights the harmony between the ontological, epistemological and methodological underpinnings of Social Constructionism. The paper demonstrates the relevance of the proposed framework in EE research within the context of an empirical study, which is different in that it focuses on the delivery aspect of EE by considering the views of the providers (educators), an hitherto under-researched area.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

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Article

Orestes Vlismas and George Venieris

This study attempts to formulate an ontological proposition for the intellectual capital (IC) domain. This study is motivated by the debate of contemporary thinking for…

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to formulate an ontological proposition for the intellectual capital (IC) domain. This study is motivated by the debate of contemporary thinking for different IC research streams (IC1‐ostensive versus IC2‐performative) and their different ontological perceptions for IC. The proposed ontological proposition aims to serve the epistemological requirements towards the development of a common accepted generic IC theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The formulation of the ontology for the IC domain is based on contemporary tools within the fields of ontology and conceptual modelling. The principal dimensions of the ontology for the IC domain are identified following the directions of the Sowa's generalised theory for ontological frameworks. For each dimension, a generic entity is defined by drawing inferences from disciplines relevant to the contemporary IC inquiry. The relationships between the generic entities are modelled with the semantic representations of General Systems Theory (GST).

Findings

This paper provides an answer to the epistemological problem of how to perceive the substance of the IC domain. The derived ontology for the IC domain recognises different IC ontological dimensions that correspond to the IC ontological assumptions of different IC research streams, attempts to associate the IC of an organization with the tangible dimension of the enterprise, and provides conceptual semantics for modelling firm‐specific IC domains under the prism of different epistemological perspectives for IC.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed ontological proposition for the IC domain is an abstract ontology. It might empower researchers with guidelines for systemising the formulation of theoretical propositions and descriptions for their research fields. Yet, as an abstract ontology, it might create difficulty in its practical implementation.

Originality/value

The ontological proposition for the IC domain can contribute towards the debate on the establishment of a common research communicational rationalism within the IC research community for coordinating individual research efforts.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

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