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Abstract

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Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-038-7

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Article

François-Xavier DeVaujany, Sabine Carton, Nathalie Mitev and Cécile Romeyer

This paper investigates how Information Systems (IS) researchers apply institutional theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this paper is to explore the operationalization…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper investigates how Information Systems (IS) researchers apply institutional theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this paper is to explore the operationalization of meta-theoretical frameworks for empirical research which can often present difficulties in IS research. The authors include theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects to explore modalities of use and suggest further avenues.

Design/methodology/approach

After an overview of institutional concepts, the authors carry out a thematic analysis of journal papers on IS and institutional frameworks indexed in EBSCO and ABI databases from 1999 to 2009. This consists of descriptive, thematic coding and cluster analysis of this textual database, this combined qualitative and quantitative method offers a unique way of analyzing how operationalization is carried out.

Findings

The findings suggest three groups of publications which represent different methodological approaches and empirical foci: “descriptive exploratory approaches,” “generalizing approaches,” and “sociological approaches.” The authors suggest that these three groups represent possible patterns of the use of “meta” social theories in IS research, reflecting a search for disciplinary legitimacy. This helps us analyze papers according to how they use and apply theories. The authors identify the “organizing vision” and the regulatory approach as two institutionalist “intermediary” concepts developed by IS researchers. Furthermore, the authors find that institutional theoretical frameworks have been used in “direct,” “intermediary” or “combined” conceptualizations. The authors also confirm the dynamism of the IS institutional research stream, as evidenced by the increase in number of articles between 1999 and 2009, and identify a maturation process of the IS field in investigating a social theory.

Originality/value

The evolution the authors identify in the application of institutional theoretical frameworks in the IS field reveals conformity in methodological, theoretical and empirical terms. By identifying these patterns, it becomes possible to understand institutional reasons for their existence and legitimacy; and to propose other avenues of exploration in future IS research, such as combining different theoretical lenses in institutional frameworks. The methodological contribution is to provide an innovative methodology which helps describe categories and levels of institutional theoretical frameworks used, leading to the identification of gaps and proposing further avenues of research.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Book part

Hans-Gerd Ridder, Christina Hoon and Alina McCandless

Purpose: Case studies are detailed empirical investigations into a complex entity that emphasize the uniqueness of the case and are valuable for making a theoretical

Abstract

Purpose: Case studies are detailed empirical investigations into a complex entity that emphasize the uniqueness of the case and are valuable for making a theoretical contribution. We aim to reveal the types of theoretical contributions case study research can make to the field of strategy and management and explore how case study design can create the opportunities for making a theoretical contribution.

Methodology/Approach: The dynamic capability approach focuses on the firm-specific processes through which firms integrate, build, or reconfigure resources. A comprehensive review of case studies in this field is conducted in five search engines, resulting in a data set of 13 in-depth case studies.

Findings: We demonstrate that using case studies to extend and refine theory enhances knowledge in the field of dynamic capabilities. In strategy and management research, case studies identify and refine constructs and their relationships, develop and confirm propositions, and embed constructs within a larger set of relationships. We reveal that sampling strategy, research setting, and multiple lenses are aspects of case study design that create opportunities for making a theoretical contribution.

Practical Implications: We suggest that case study researchers strategically and purposefully sample cases, vary the setting conditions, or draw upon numerous research fields to make a theoretical contribution.

Originality/Value of Paper: Going beyond the current discussion, we show that case studies have the potential to extend and refine theory. We shed new light on how dynamic capabilities can benefit from case study research by discovering the antecedents that shape the development of capabilities and determining the boundary conditions of the dynamic capabilities approach.

Details

Research Methodology in Strategy and Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-159-6

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Article

Alon Friedman and Richard P. Smiraglia

The purpose of the research reported here is to improve comprehension of the socially‐negotiated identity of concepts in the domain of knowledge organization. Because…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the research reported here is to improve comprehension of the socially‐negotiated identity of concepts in the domain of knowledge organization. Because knowledge organization as a domain has as its focus the order of concepts, both from a theoretical perspective and from an applied perspective, it is important to understand how the domain itself understands the meaning of a concept.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an empirical demonstration of how the domain itself understands the meaning of a concept. The paper employs content analysis to demonstrate the ways in which concepts are portrayed in KO concept maps as signs, and they are subjected to evaluative semiotic analysis as a way to understand their meaning. The frame was the entire population of formal proceedings in knowledge organization – all proceedings of the International Society for Knowledge Organization's international conferences (1990‐2010) and those of the annual classification workshops of the Special Interest Group for Classification Research of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (SIG/CR).

Findings

A total of 344 concept maps were analyzed. There was no discernible chronological pattern. Most concept maps were created by authors who were professors from the USA, Germany, France, or Canada. Roughly half were judged to contain semiotic content. Peirceian semiotics predominated, and tended to convey greater granularity and complexity in conceptual terminology. Nodes could be identified as anchors of conceptual clusters in the domain; the arcs were identifiable as verbal relationship indicators. Saussurian concept maps were more applied than theoretical; Peirceian concept maps had more theoretical content.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates important empirical evidence about the coherence of the domain of knowledge organization. Core values are conveyed across time through the concept maps in this population of conference papers.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 69 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Abstract

Details

Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-038-7

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Article

V.K. Narayanan and Lee J. Zane

The purpose of this paper is to offer an epistemological vantage point for theory development in the case of strategic leadership, an emerging focus of scholarly attention…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an epistemological vantage point for theory development in the case of strategic leadership, an emerging focus of scholarly attention in strategic management.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors invoke Rescher's epistemological platform for making the case, Rescher being one of the most influential philosophers in the USA.

Findings

The analysis suggests that since strategic leadership differs from supervisory leadership, both on organizational reach and incorporation of external elements, defining the strategic leadership problem exclusively as a difference in context – what Weick referred to as a strategy of knowledge growth by extension – is likely to prove unproductive. Rescher's platform can be put to use for specifying the two critical though inter‐related epistemological challenges in the beginning of the theory development project: the choice of concepts, and the type of relations among the concepts. These epistemological challenges may be reframed as opportunities to capture the phenomenal variety embedded in these concepts, and to deploy a diversity of approaches to examine their correspondence.

Research limitations/implications

Contending and complementary views on strategic leadership, and hence concepts representing alternate views should be allowed. Bridges should be built between islands of scholarship, but these bridges are likely to be found in special issues of journals (devoted deliberately to nurture multiple perspectives), edited books and invited conferences.

Practical implications

Engagement with “strategic” leaders is an epistemological necessity for both theoretical and pragmatic reasons.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates how epistemology can strengthen theory building in the case of strategic leadership. Given the signal importance of this phenomenon, good theories and, therefore, epistemological challenges should occupy a central stage of discussions in this early stage.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

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Article

Yasser M. Al‐Saleh

This conceptual paper articulates an analytical framework, which collectively borrows from the concepts of Sectoral, National and Technological Innovation Systems, for…

Abstract

This conceptual paper articulates an analytical framework, which collectively borrows from the concepts of Sectoral, National and Technological Innovation Systems, for examining the prospects for the emergence of renewable energy industries in a given country. In order to examine the dynamics within the national energy system under consideration, a list of system functions has also been compiled from the literature. It is believed that the adoption of such a functions approach has the potential to enhance our understanding of the process of, and drivers behind, the emergence and transformation of energy innovation systems. Towards the end of this paper, other theoretical concepts are acknowledged as also relevant for investigating the potential establishment of renewable energy industries. While every theoretical approach has its strengths and weaknesses, an effort has been made in this paper to justify the adoption of a suitable framework that is based on the systems of innovation approach.

Details

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5945

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Article

V.G. Sridharan

This research paper seeks to advance the techniques of “within-paradigm” triangulation and theoretical generalization adopted in qualitative field studies for new theory…

Abstract

Purpose

This research paper seeks to advance the techniques of “within-paradigm” triangulation and theoretical generalization adopted in qualitative field studies for new theory development in management control.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the evidence gleaned from three positivist case studies along with some published interpretivist studies, this paper identifies three triangulation approaches and links them with three forms of theoretical generalization in qualitative field studies.

Findings

While the “literal” approach to triangulation has its place in the extant literature, this study finds that two other approaches, labeled “convergent” and “normative” triangulation, which are relevant in many circumstances to link multiple pieces of evidence in order to build credible explanations. In theory development, while the extant forms of theoretical generalization (constructive and contextual) are useful for identifying new solutions for both practical and theoretical concerns, this paper finds that a third form, namely “transposed” logic, is relevant in identifying new control problems that can benefit by adopting the observed unusual solutions.

Originality/value

Within triangulation, while the extant literature endorses the role of literal triangulation in obtaining consistent evidence, including how verifying inconsistent responses helps improve the validity of the obtained evidence, this paper advances two new triangulation approaches that can enrich the extant literature. Within theoretical generalization, while the extant literature deems constructive and contextual forms as “rhetoric”, this paper (1) expands their status to “logic” by clarifying their theoretical purpose and (2) introduces one new form, namely “transposed” logic that helps identify a generalizable range of management control problems that can adopt the observed unusual solution.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article

Laura Appignanesi

The purpose of this paper is to find a leading idea of the mid-twentieth century, demonstrating the pervasive nature of some concepts belonging to second-order systems…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find a leading idea of the mid-twentieth century, demonstrating the pervasive nature of some concepts belonging to second-order systems theory. To achieve this objective, the paper looks at the art and literature of this era, to identify the principles developed by Luhmann in his late works. In particular, Escher’s drawings, Calvino’s stories and Luhmann’s concepts seem to express, in different ways, the same functioning mechanism of the complex social system.

Design/methodology/approach

With reference to theoretical approach and methodology, this paper carries out an interdisciplinary demonstration by alternative modes of logos and mythos. Some of the pillars of general systems theory are examined through the logical articulation of concepts developed by Spencer-Brown, von Foerster, and first of all through the late works of Luhmann, as well as through the analysis of Escher’s artworks and Calvino’s literary works. This paper interprets these artistic and literary works using cybernetic principles and systemic concepts, in particular, “two-sided forms,” “system–environment differentiation” and “second-order observation.”

Findings

In general, the main finding is the similarity of fascination with paradoxes and forms, with post-ontological reasoning, in twentieth century. The result of the cross-reading of Escher, Calvino and Luhmann reveals the presence of what Simmel called the “hidden king”: a philosophical paradigm of an era. In mid-1900s, this leading idea seems to express itself in the discoveries of biology and cybernetics, such as in Luhmann’s theory, art and literature. Escher’s drawings, Calvino’s stories and the concepts of Luhmann are projections of second-order system theory, in its constructivist value.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies mainly in the demonstration of theoretical concepts through the alternative modes of logos and mythos. These reflections can provide a new perspective to investigate social sciences from a cultural angle. This particular approach allows a deep awareness of the theory. The concrete value is to provide a better understanding to manage complexity.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article

Sue Llewelyn

The value of qualitative empirical research in the management and accounting disciplines lies in its “conceptual framing” of organizational actions, events, processes, and…

Abstract

The value of qualitative empirical research in the management and accounting disciplines lies in its “conceptual framing” of organizational actions, events, processes, and structures. Argues that the possibilities for conceptual framing extend beyond the highly abstract schema generally considered as “theories” by academics. In support of this argument, distinguishes five different forms of theorization. Explores the relationship between these theoretical “levels” and the different issues that empirical research explores, arguing that, as the “level” of theorizing “rises”, issues of agency give way to a focus on practice and, in turn, to a concern with structure. As this happens, research aims directed towards abstraction and explanation supersede those for contextualization and understanding. Concludes that views on “what counts as theory” are, currently, too narrow to conceptualize agency, emergence and change adequately in organizational life and, hence, the full range of significant empirical phenomena that characterize the management and accounting areas are not being researched.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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