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Public Lecture by Prof. Peter Bamberger – “Addressing the “Too Much Theory” Problem in Management and Organizational Research: Abductive Reasoning and the Role of Academy of Management Discoveries”

Prof. Peter Bamberger
Prof. Peter Bamberger

MM held a Public Lecture on the topic "Addressing the 'Too Much Theory' Problem in Management and Organizational Research: Abductive Reasoning and the Role of Academy of Management Discoveries" presented by Prof. Peter Bamberger, Professor of Management and Organizations School of Business Administration, Tel Aviv University & Research Director, Smithers Institute, Cornell University on 6 March 2017 in Multi-function Hall, Alumni Atrium, Chung Sze Yuen Building.


Management and Organizational research is largely grounded on two basic logics or epistemological approaches, namely induction and deduction. These approaches have served our science well, gaining our ­field respect among the sciences, and resulting in its rapid growth over the past decades. However, increasingly scholars have begun to question whether the grounding of our fi­eld in these two logics alone may be overly restrictive, generating obtuse and abstract results and limiting our relevance to the broader community which our science seeks to serve. In this talk, I will present a complementary scienti­c logic, one grounded on abductive reasoning (i.e., inference to the best plausible explanation). Building upon Mantere & Ketokivi’s (2013: 72) statement that, "we predict, confirm, and discon­firm through deduction, generalize through induction, and theorize through abduction," I will distinguish the latter from these other two, more established scientifi­c logics. After demonstrating how abduction serves as the basis for many other scientific ­fields, I will argue that it also serves as the under-recognized (and often maligned) basis upon much of what we do as management scholars. Finally, I will discuss the types of situations for which such an approach may be most suitable and how scholars might design and present studies grounded on such a logic in order to maximize theoretical contribution and practical impact.