Knowledge Synthesis for Scientific Management: Practical Integration for Complexity versus Scientific Fragmentation for Simplicity

Journal of Management Inquiry, Forthcoming

Mays Business School Research Paper No. 3404296

51 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2019

See all articles by Victor Zitian Chen

Victor Zitian Chen

Fidelity Investments

Michael A. Hitt

Texas A&M University - Department of Management; Texas Christian University

Date Written: June 14, 2019


Within the boundary of scientific knowledge for management, we discuss the divergence between practical demand for knowledge integration to solve complex problems and scientific fragmentation of academic knowledge for simplicity. We suggest the current incentives underlying elite scientific journals in management cause unintended knowledge fragmentation both between management and foundation disciplines, and within management. In the context of the overall management knowledge ecosystem, we recommend addressing three major constraints that limit our ability to reduce these fragmentations: First, new technologies could be introduced to assist researchers and editors in the development of a complete review of existing theories and evidence. Second, new publication outlets could be designed to serve as IT-enabled, web-based knowledge synthesis platforms. Third, business schools could develop new incentives systems to enable and promote the use of these new initiatives. We suggest several limitations of our recommendations and discuss extensions into the yet untheorized/untested knowledge domain

Note: Acknowledgments: We owe thanks to the acting editor Stelios Zyglidopoulos, two anonymous reviewers, and collegial reviews of this paper from Brian Boyd, Gabrielle Durepos, Micki Kacmar, Franz Kellermanns, David Ketchen, John H. McArthur, Denise Rousseau, Debra Shapiro, Mike Tushman, and John Prescott. We also benefitted greatly from conversations with George Banks, Kris Byron, John Cantwell, Gilad Chen, William Glick, Peter Lorange, Christopher Marquis, Henry Mintzberg, Arun Rai, Daniel Shapiro, JC Spender, and David Woehr, as well as participants in the 2015 Academy of Management Showcase Symposium on “Designing the future of business schools: Persistent problems in changing contexts” at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, August 10, 2015, and 2016 Academy of Management Professional Development Workshop on “Creating a more reliable and cumulative knowledge ecosystem: Meeting senior editors of five leading management journals” at Anaheim, California, August 7, 2016, and 2017 Academy of Management Symposium on “Time is ripe for knowledge synthesis: (Re)inventing technologies, outlets, and incentives” at Atlanta, Georgia, August 6, 2017.

Keywords: Knowledge synthesis, Scientific management, Integration, Fragmentation

JEL Classification: M, Y, Z

Suggested Citation

Chen, Victor Zitian and Hitt, Michael A., Knowledge Synthesis for Scientific Management: Practical Integration for Complexity versus Scientific Fragmentation for Simplicity (June 14, 2019). Journal of Management Inquiry, Forthcoming, Mays Business School Research Paper No. 3404296, Available at SSRN:

Victor Zitian Chen (Contact Author)

Fidelity Investments ( email )

United States

Michael A. Hitt

Texas A&M University - Department of Management ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States
979-458-3393 (Phone)

Texas Christian University ( email )

Fort Worth, TX 76129
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics