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Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation

Samuel B. Bacharach
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct., 1989), pp. 496-515
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/258555
Page Count: 20
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Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation
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Abstract

A set of ground rules and vocabulary to facilitate focused discussion about the structure of organization and management theories are proposed. The many previous efforts at defining and evaluating theory help establish criteria for theory construction and evaluation. In the establishment of these criteria, description is distinguished from theory, and a matrix of criteria for evaluating the variables, constructs, and relationships that together compose a theory is developed. The proposed matrix may be useful both for defining the necessary components of good theory and for evaluating and/or comparing the quality of alternative theories. Finally, a discussion of the way theories fit together to give a somewhat broader picture of empirical reality reveals the lines of tension between the two main criteria for evaluating theory.

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