Workshop on Theory Construction
Professor Amrit TIWANA
Department of Management Information Systems
Terry College of Business
University of Georgia
Before the Session
1. Please read just the specific page numbers listed below of the enclosed materials in advance so we can make the most productive use of our three hours.
2. Please come prepared to give us a three-minute overview of your research.
Part I: Models as Conversation
This session provides an introduction to the notion of middle-range theory, its role in formulating research models, and different approaches to making a research contribution. We will also discuss what makes a research idea interesting to a field, the role of prediction versus explanation in science, and the metaphor of research as a conversation.
- Anne Huff, Identifying Conversants (Chapter 4), Sage.
- Bacharach, Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation, Academy of Management Review, 14:4, 1989, read only pages 496-501.
- Sutton, R. I. and Staw, B. M. (1995) What Theory is Not. ASQ, 40:371-384. Read only pages 371-378; skim conclusion on page 383.
- Tiwana-Konsynski 2010 read only section §2 until the end of §2.1 (focus on how the theoretical foundation is used to develop the research model summarized in Figure 1). These are marked as #2 in the file.
Part II: Process versus Variance Models
This session will cover the distinction between variance models and process models, the complementary role of the variance and process thinking in conceptually refining models.
- Markus, L., and Robey, D. 1988. Information Technology and Organizational Change: Causal Structure in Theory and Research. Management Science. 34, read only pages 589-596.
- Tiwana-Konsynski 2010: Think of how the I-P-O ideas are applied to the form and structure of Figure 1.
Part III: Theorizing, Theory Construction, and Correspondence with Research Models
This session will cover the process of theory construction, focusing on developing theoretically-grounded middle-range arguments that build up to hypotheses and conceptually glue together research models. The role of time and context will also be discussed. Best practices and examples will also be used to analyze recent research papers.
- Van de Ven book chapter 4.
- Tiwana-Konsynski 2010 read only §2.2 till the beginning of §2.3.1 only (focus on how the logical structure and statement of the hypotheses, how they build up stepwise, and the use of examples to illustrate the ideas) + the discussion on page 298 on rival explanations. These are marked as #4 in the file.