Some Remarks on the Problem of Incommensurability in Organization Studies

Organization Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 519-544, 1999

39 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007  

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Horst Steinmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Abstract

Organization studies have become differentiated and complex fields of research. It has become difficult for both the researcher and the practitioner to find appropriate answers to theoretical or practical problems and theoretical advice is often contradictory. Today, we have to deal with various schools of thought that are often considered incommensurable. An objective frame of reference to evaluate different paradigms is missing, and recent discussions in organization theory have shown that it is rather difficult to find common ground. It is the purpose of this paper to review the current paradigmatic state of organization studies, to consider the pluralism of paradigms and its consequences, and to discuss the possibility of overcoming the incommensurability problem. Our discussion makes clear that there is no theoretical solution to the incommensurability problem, but that the possibility of a practical solution does exist.

Keywords: constructivism, incommensurability, paradigms, philosophy of science, pluralism

Suggested Citation

Scherer, Andreas Georg and Steinmann, Horst, Some Remarks on the Problem of Incommensurability in Organization Studies. Organization Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 519-544, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=971060

Andreas Georg Scherer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 84
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

Horst Steinmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, Bavaria 91054
Germany

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