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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The main purpose of this article is to define what intellectual structure best promotes the advancement of the field of organization studies. A conceptual framework is proposed to analyze different intellectual structures and appraise how they perform in promoting scientific progress. The term ‘intellectual structure’ refers to the distribution of activities within a scientific field at a specific point in time. This article focuses on the distribution between activities aimed at refining existing research programs, on the one hand, and activities aimed at searching for new theories, on the other hand. In accordance with studies of adaptive processes, it is argued that in order to make progress over a long period of time a scientific field has to secure a balance between the generation of new theoretical alternatives and the selection and retention of them.

Keywords: intellectual structure, organization studies, research programs, scientific progress, theoretical alternatives

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