Management Literature Readings : Theoretical Contribution

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Management Literature Readings : Theoretical Contribution Last semester a professor in our department asked me whether I have some recommended readings for his PhD class on what constitutes a theoretical contribution in the field of management. Looking over the classes I took and papers I put aside over the years I was able to draft the following list.


There are some obvious classics :

  • Davis, M. (1971). That’s interesting! Towards a phenomenology of sociology and a sociology of phenomenology, Philosophy of Social Sciences, 1 (1971), 309-344.
  • Daft (1983), Learning the craft of organizational research, AMR.
  • Whetten, D. A. (1989). What constitutes a theoretical contribution? Academy of Management Review, 14, 490-495.
  • Sutton, R. I. & Staw, B. M. (1995). What theory is not. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40: 371-384.
  • Bacharach, S.B. 1989. Organizational theories: Some criteria for evaluation. AMR, 14: 496-515.


More recently :

  • Colquitt, J. A. & Zapata_Phelan, C. P. (2007). Trends in theory building and theory testing: a five decade study of the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, 50: 1281-1303.
  • Hamcrick, D. C. (2007). The field of management’s devotion to theory: Too much of a good thing. Academy of Management Journal, 50: 1346-1352.
  • Locke, K., & Golden-Biddle, K. (1997). Constructing opportunities for contribution: Structuring intertextual coherence and “problematizing” in organizational studies. Academy of Management Journal, 40 (5), 1023-1062.
  • Scandura, T.A. & Williams, E.A. (2000). Research Methodology in management: Current practices, trends, and implications for future research. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 1248-1264.
  • Klein, K.J., & Zedeck, S. 2004. Theory in applied psychology: Lessons (re)learned. JAP, 89: 931-933.
  • Feldman, D.C. 2004. What are we talking about when we talk about theory? JOM, 30: 565-567.
  • Fiske, S.T. (2004). Mind the gap: In praise of informal sources of theory. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8: 132-137. (From a special issue of this journal on theory construction.)


Hope you find this useful. Do you know of any relevant others?

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