Wednesday, 25 May 2016

What is the 'right' theory?

While good research relies on us on finding an appropriate theory or an appropriate practice strategy for our situation, we can get a bit consumed with what the 'right' theory is.

The trouble is, management researchers have many theories to choose from. That's both a benefit and a curse, because (a) there is a huge chance of finding exactly the right fit for our project, but (b) there are so many models to sort through, that it takes ages.

However, within our topic, we will find there are different theories which seem to better suit particular areas.

When considering motivational theory, for example:
  • if we want to think about WHEN we might be best able to learn, we might use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs model.
  • If we want to know WHAT might motivate others, we might find Herzberg's Two Factor theory useful.
  • If we are trying to create a reward environment for others, we could consider House's Path Goal theory.
Although these three theories are fairly similar, they all look at slightly different things.

To decide on a particular theory, we need to back to our concept map. We need to test our concept map against the theories we are considering, and see if we have a reasonable fit.

Getting this roughly right will guide our research question, and provide a structure for us to explore our research within.

But let's not stress about perfection. Vaguely right is good enough :-)



  1. We would like to thank you again for the wonderful ideas you gave Jeremy when preparing her own post-graduate research and also,
    most importantly, with regard to providing all the ideas in a single blog post.
    Provided we had known of your blog a year ago, we would have been saved the unwanted measures we were implementing.
    Thanks to you.

  2. Thanks, Anonymous! Apologies from me: my posts were set to not publish, so I found today I had QUITE a backlog of unacknowledged comments :-(


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