- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Need for Meta-theoretical Reflection in Organization Theory
- Organization Theory as a Positive Science
- Organization Theory as an Interpretive Science
- Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’
- Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science
- The Origins of Organization Theory
- The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of Organization Theory: Fusing Sociological Theory with Engineering Discourse
- Feminist Theory and Organization Theory: A Dialogue on New Bases
- The Styles and the Stylists of Organization Theory
- Pluralism, Scientific Progress, and the Structure of Organization Theory
- The Agency/Structure Dilemma in Organization Theory: Open Doors and Brick Walls
- Modes of Explanation in Organization Theory
- Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability
- Economic versus Sociological Approaches to Organization Theory
- Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture
- Actionable Knowledge
- Theory and Practice in the Real World
- Organization Theory and Ethics: Varieties and Dynamics of Constrained Optimization
- Character and Virtue in an Era of Turbulent Capitalism
- The Future of Organization Theory: Prospects and Limitations
- Managing Organization Futures in a Changing World of Power/Knowledge
- The Future of Organization Studies: Beyond the Selection–Adaptation Debate
- At Home from Mars to Somalia: Recounting Organization Studies
- New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory
Abstract and Keywords
The focus of this article is upon producing actionable knowledge. Propositions that are actionable are those that actors can use to implement effectively their intentions. Actionable knowledge requires propositions that make explicit the causal processes required to produce action. Causality is the key in implementation. One of the most powerful inhibitors of effective action is inner contradictions. Inner contradictions exist when the propositions to act are implemented correctly. One cause of inner contradiction is the methodologies used by most normal social scientists to discover problems and to invent solutions. These features cause the degree of seamlessness and the validity of the implementation to be reduced. The focus on describing reality in ways that satisfies the requirements of internal and external validity makes it less likely that attention is paid to the implementable validity of the propositions. This, in turn, leads to propositions that are abstract and disconnected from implementable action.
Chris Argyris is the James Bryant Conant Professor Emeritus, Harvard University. His books include Overcoming Organizational Defenses (1990), Knowledge for Action (1993), Flawed Advice (2000), Reasons and Rationalizations (2004), Theory in Practice (1994), and Organizational Learning II (1996), both with Donald Schön, and Action Science (1985) with Diana Smith and Robert Putnam.
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