Summary Introduction to the Philosophy of the Management Sciences (Van Willigenburg)

Deze samenvatting is gebaseerd op het studiejaar 2013-2014.


Chapter A

The basic question in philosophy of science is why scientific knowledge is more trustworthy than everyday knowledge. If we get told that something is based on scientific knowledge we immediately assume that it is true. We trust that something scientific is always true for every situation. Science has a lot of authority, but what exactly makes it more trustworthy than everyday knowledge?

Science and scientific knowledge aims to create knowledge of patterns, regularities, structures and laws. Scientific theories do not state something about one specific company or one specific example of successful management.

In the management studies we aim to create knowledge about certain kinds and types of knowledge which leads to successful business. Thus, the claims of science and the knowledge it creates should be generalizable.

Generalizability is important for science due to the fact that it helps achieve science’s main goal which is to:

Understand phenomena that are being observed.

Explain phenomena that are being observed.

Science searches for general claims about mechanisms that look like laws that help us to understand and explain processes, events and phenomena. But how can we know that a claim is valid? When claimed to be true, a certain theory can earn the title “scientific” when the evidence it presents can be tested by other scholars of the same field. Scrutiny is very important in science: scholars must be able to repeat the research of colleagues to test whether the results are valid. Trustworthiness requires controllability, and controllability requires repeatability in order to test the “scientific” evidence.

Scientific knowledge is defined by five features which are meant to guarantee the trustworthiness of the results:

  • Generalisability: allows explaining and understanding phenomena.

  • Controllability: therefore research has to be transparent and repeatable.

  • Objectivity: scientific research should be independent of external pressures and influences in order for the results to be trustworthy.

  • Methodology: research methods that are used (eg. Surveys, analysis of documents, field research, interviews, conceptual analysis) have to be accepted by scholars of the same discipline and obey

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