Learning From Testimony on Quantitative Research in Management

57 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021

See all articles by Andrew A. King

Andrew A. King

Questrom School of Business- Boston University

Brent Goldfarb

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Timothy Simcoe

Boston University - Questrom School of Business; NBER

Date Written: September 15, 2019

Abstract

Published testimony in management, as in other sciences, includes cases where authors overstate the inferential value of their analysis. Where some scholars have diagnosed a current crisis, we detect an ongoing and universal difficulty: the epistemic problem of learning from testimony. Overcoming this difficulty will require responses suitable to the conditions of management research. To that end, we review the philosophical literature on the epistemology of testimony, which describes the conditions under which common empirical claims provide a basis for knowledge, and we evaluate ways these conditions can be verified. We conclude that in many areas of management research, popular proposals such as pre-registration and replication are unlikely to be effective. We propose revised modes of testimony which could help researchers and readers avoid some barriers to learning from testimony. Finally, we imagine the implications of our analysis for management scholarship and propose how new standards could come about.

Keywords: Problem of testimony, specification map

Suggested Citation

King, Andrew A. and Goldfarb, Brent D. and Simcoe, Timothy S., Learning From Testimony on Quantitative Research in Management (September 15, 2019). Academy of Management Review 2019, Boston University Questrom School of Business Research Paper No. 3816190, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3816190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3816190

Andrew A. King

Questrom School of Business- Boston University ( email )

Boston, MA 02215
United States

Brent D. Goldfarb

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States
301-405-9672 (Phone)
301-314-8787 (Fax)

Timothy S. Simcoe (Contact Author)

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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