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

Edwards, Jeffrey R. and Berry, James W. (2010) The presence of something or the absence of nothing:increasing theoretical precision in management research. Organizational Research Methods, 13 (4). pp. 668-689. ISSN 1094-4281

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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.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Organizational Research Methods
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1405
Subjects:
ID Code:
64706
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 May 2013 08:51
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
28 Oct 2020 10:21