Moving Forward: Developing Theoretical Contributions in Management Studies

28 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2014

See all articles by Joep P. Cornelissen

Joep P. Cornelissen

Independent

Rodolphe Durand

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

How do we, as management researchers, develop novel theoretical contributions and, thereby, potentially break new ground in management studies? To address this question, we review previous methodological work on theorizing and advance a typology of the reasoning processes that underlie theoretical contributions and significant advances in management studies. This typology consists of various types of analogical and counterfactual reasoning, ranging from focused thought experiments aimed at prodding existing theory in the direction of alternative assumptions, constructs, and hypotheses to more expansive efforts for inducing new theoretical models and alternative explanations. Applying this typology, we detail the mechanisms behind the formation of novel theoretical contributions and illustrate the currency of our typology through a review of 24 major theoretical breakthroughs in management studies. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of this typology for our collective efforts in building, elaborating, and expanding theory in management studies.

Keywords: analogy, counterfactuals, management research, theoretical contribution, theory

Suggested Citation

Cornelissen, Joep P. and Durand, Rodolphe, Moving Forward: Developing Theoretical Contributions in Management Studies (September 2014). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 51, Issue 6, pp. 995-1022, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2477199 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joms.12078

Joep P. Cornelissen (Contact Author)

Independent

No Address Available

Rodolphe Durand

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy ( email )

Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

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