May 3, 2023 by
Prof. V K Narayanan has conducted a research workshop on the topic: Management Theory: quo vadis on 2nd May, 2023
Abstract of the paper
Few scholarly domains have drawn as much controversy and debate as management scholarship. Without claiming exhaustiveness, these conversations have been framed alternately as rigor vs relevance (Clinebell & Clinebell, 2008), level of analysis (Hitt, Beamish, Jackson, & Mathieu, 2007), or single versus multiple theoretical perspectives (Lewis &
Grimes, 1999). The advocates of various positions have almost exclusively come from the academy, with strong ties to various social science disciplines. Although there are many theoretical orientations in management, including design thinking (Glen, Suciu, & Baughn, 2014) and philosophy of management (Davis, 1958) the diversity in the dominant orientation is usually captured by typologies built on ontology and epistemology (Hatchuel, 2005). Engaged scholarship (Parry, Farndale, Brewster, & Morley, 2021) has begun to incorporate a pragmatist point, but this has not yet reached the center stage. The central point of this paper is to initiate a discussion of the “undiscussables,” and then outline a set of emancipatory principles that can strip management theories of their stasis and unintended obscurantism. We organize the paper into three sections: first, a short articulation of the assumptions that animate the paper, second, the central thesis of the paper, an enumeration of six characteristics of theory as presently prevalent in the academy, and third, a set of proposals.