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The presence of something or the absence of nothing: Increasing theoretical precision in management research

UNSPECIFIED (Ed). The presence of something or the absence of nothing: Increasing theoretical precision in management research. [Whole issue]. Organizational Research Methods , 13

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Abstract

In management research, theory testing confronts a paradox described by Meehl in which designing studies with greater methodological rigor puts theories at less risk of falsification. This paradox exists because most management theories make predictions that are merely directional, such as stating that two variables will be positively or negatively related. As methodological rigor increases, the probability that an estimated effect will differ from zero likewise increases, and the likelihood of finding support for a directional prediction boils down to a coin toss. This paradox can be resolved by developing theories with greater precision, such that their propositions predict something more meaningful than deviations from zero. This article evaluates the precision of theories in management research, offers guidelines for making theories more precise, and discusses ways to overcome barriers to the pursuit of theoretical precision.

Type: Journal (full / special issue)
Title: The presence of something or the absence of nothing: Increasing theoretical precision in management research
Keywords: philosophy of science, quantitative research, theory development
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1386204
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