Quotation Kornberger, Martin, Mantere, Saku. 2020. Thought Experiments and Philosophy in Organizational Research. Organization Theory. 1 (3)




Organization theory seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand, there are arguments that the field is too preoccupied with theory, leaving its work abstract and practically irrelevant. On the other hand, there are arguments that the field is overly empirical and too methods-driven, which hampers the creation of ideas that resonate with constituencies beyond the organization studies community. How to resolve this apparent conundrum? In this essay we argue that neither more theorizing nor more forensic data-driven work might address the problem; rather, and perhaps surprisingly, we propose that a philosophical stance might offer a remedy. The aim of this essay is (1) to explore thought experiments as a genuine philosophical method that is designed to develop promising ideas and concepts and (2) to reflect on how such conceptual work can help shape organization theory to be conceptually more stimulating and practically more relevant. We argue that this particular kind of conceptual work has been and should continue to be one of the hallmarks of organization theory. Thus thought experiments represent a valuable methodological extension of our toolkit as they provide crucial devices triggering transformations in thought and practice.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Organization Theory
Language English
Title Thought Experiments and Philosophy in Organizational Research
Volume 1
Number 3
Year 2020
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177%2F2631787720942524
Open Access Y
Open Access Link http://dx.doi.org/10.1177%2F2631787720942524


Kornberger, Martin (Details)
Mantere, Saku (McGill University, Canada)
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance FI (Details)
Institute for Organization Studies IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5324 Organizational research (Details)
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