1st Edition

The Philosophy of Management Research

By Eric W.K. Tsang Copyright 2017
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The field of management research is commonly regarded as or aspires to be a science discipline. As such, management researchers face similar methodological problems as their counterparts in other science disciplines. There are at least two ways that philosophy is connected with management research: ontological and epistemological.

    Despite an increasing number of scattered philosophy-based discussions of research methodology, there has not been a book that provides a systematic and more comprehensive treatment of the subject. This book addresses this gap in the market and provides new ideas and arguments for guiding management researchers.

    1. Philosophy: An Under-Laborer Serving Researchers

    2. Explanation: Different Ways of Answering "Why?"

    3. Assumptions: Not Something to be Assumed Away

    4. Theory Testing: A Seemingly Straightforward Process

    5. Generalization: A Controversial Endeavor

    6. Replication: An Ignored Necessity

    7. Historiography: A Neglected Research Method

    8. Looking Ahead: To Be, or Not to Be, a Science

    Appendix: How Philosophy Contributes to Research Methodology


    Eric W.K. Tsang is the Dallas World Salute Distinguished Professor of Global Strategy at the University of Texas at Dallas.  He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is among the top contributors to the philosophical analysis of methodological issues in management research.

    At a time when empirical social science research is being questioned as never before the timing of this book could not have been better. Professor Eric Tsang assembled a collection of earlier papers and new materials covering every aspect of empirical social science research that guide scholars in their quest to undertake empirical work underlying management research that satisfies criteria of Popperian falsifiability, data transparency, robustness, replication, treatment of outliers and null findings. I strongly recommend this volume for advanced research methodology courses and for all scholars aspiring to undertake empirical social science research consistent with new emphasis on data transparency, replication and falsifiability. ‘— Arie Y. Lewin, Editor in Chief Management and Organization Review, and Professor at Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, U.S.A.

    'Most PhD programs in management include a major course on research methods or a separate course on the philosophy of science because of its importance for understanding the philosophical underpinnings of research. Until now, however, there was no book that explained the philosophical underpinnings of management research. Eric Tsang in his new book does just that by explaining the philosophical base for the different methodological approaches to management research. In so doing, he examines the nature of assumptions, theory testing, generalization and replication, among other critical issues. This book makes a critical contribution to management research and is an especially valuable addition for scholars who are early in their research careers. It will enrich the research in our field.’ — Michael A. Hitt, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University; Distinguished Research Fellow, Texas Christian University, U.S.A.

    This is a much-needed book for all students and scholars interested in understanding and explaining management and business practices, including decisions and behaviors, at all levels of analysis. It’s not a book about philosophy but a practical treatment of important foundational knowledge of science that all who are claiming or aspiring to be scientists must understand. Questions of what constitutes science, what critical assumptions render some theories valid and some invalid, and why current management research may not qualify as science are addressed. I recommend this as a core text for all research methods courses at the undergraduate, master and doctoral levels. I recommend this as a must read for all novice and experienced management and organization researchers. It will help you do better research and be a true scientist, living up to the goal of science, which is to seek true explanations and accurate predictions and to generate useful knowledge to inform policies and improve practices.’ — Anne Tsui, Distinguished Professor of Management at Peking University and Fudan University, China, and Motorola Professor Emerita of International Management at Arizona State University, U.S.A.