Process Theory and Research: Exploring the Dialectic Tension

Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 233-250, 2006

37 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2005 Last revised: 8 Dec 2008

See all articles by Christian De Cock

Christian De Cock

University of Essex

Robert J. Sharp

University of Exeter Business School

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

We contest that although the notion of process is increasingly being applied to the study of organizations, these attempts are hampered by significant methodological shortcomings. The value of process theory is under-utilized because most attempts to apply process theory end up reverting to conventional non-process methods. We suggest that the cause of this reversion is primarily the challenge of making sense, of fixing the world, propelling us from process into the world of substance. To break free of these limitations we propose an approach that takes the researchers' audience alongside the subject processes rather than attempting to clinically intersect them. We illuminate this paper with our own story vignettes concerning the fortunes of an idea that passes by the name of Value Based Management. These vignettes are meant to create a tension in that they both exemplify and disrupt the theoretical narrative.

Keywords: Process research , philosophy of science, research methods, organization theory, value based management

Suggested Citation

De Cock, Christian and Sharp, Robert J., Process Theory and Research: Exploring the Dialectic Tension (2006). Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 233-250, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=650683

Christian De Cock (Contact Author)

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.essex.ac.uk/ebs/staff/profile.aspx?ID=1864

Robert J. Sharp

University of Exeter Business School ( email )

Xfi Building, Rennes Dr.
Exeter, EX4 4JH
United Kingdom

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