Advocacy and Objectivity in Science

Management Science, Vol. 25, pp. 423-428, 1979

7 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2005 Last revised: 31 Dec 2011

See all articles by J. Scott Armstrong

J. Scott Armstrong

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department


Three strategies for scientific research in management are examined: advocacy, induction, and multiple hypotheses. Advocacy of a single dominant hypothesis is efficient, but biased. Induction is not biased, but it is inefficient. The multiple hypotheses strategy seems to be both efficient and unbiased. Despite its apparent lack of objectivity, most management scientists use advocacy. For example, 2/3 of the papers published in a sampling of issues of Management Science (1955-1976) used advocacy. A review of the published empirical evidence indicates that advocacy reduces tire objectivity of the scientists. No evidence was found to suggest that this lack of objectivity could be overcome by a marketplace for ideas (i.e., publication for peer review). It is recommended that tire method of multiple hypotheses be used.

Keywords: Objectivity, scientific research, management, advocacy

Suggested Citation

Armstrong, J. Scott, Advocacy and Objectivity in Science. Management Science, Vol. 25, pp. 423-428, 1979, Available at SSRN:

J. Scott Armstrong (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

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Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
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