Learning From Testimony on Quantitative Research in Management
Academy of Management Review 2019
57 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021
Date Written: September 15, 2019
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: Suggested Citation