Relationships between theory-driven empirical research in operations management and other disciplines

Relationships between theory-driven empirical research in operations management and other... 1 <h5>Introduction</h5> Recently, operations management (OM) has observed a surge in field-based, empirical research, with concurrent emphasis on theory as a research driver. In this paper, theory is defined, and its crucial role in OM explained. This paper goes beyond simply stating that theory is required for `good' research, and explains at a fundamental, intuitive level the critical importance of theory. The metaphor of theory as a `lens' will be utilized to explain the role of theory in research and in the knowledge base. Because formal theorizing in other fields is generally more mature than in OM, because other fields have previously dealt with the role of theory, and because OM is small relative to other fields, it is prudent to examine the history of other disciplines for lessons they have learned. While OM has constructed `home-grown' theories, such as the cumulative model ( Ferdows and De Meyer, 1990 ), the customer contact model ( Chase and Tansik, 1983 ), and the process–product matrix ( Hayes and Wheelwright, 1979 ), OM lags disciplines such as sociology and economics in the creation of formal, research-oriented theoretical perspectives. Additionally, many of OM's areas of study are interdisciplinary, requiring attention to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Operations Management Elsevier

Relationships between theory-driven empirical research in operations management and other disciplines

Journal of Operations Management, Volume 16 (4) – Jul 1, 1998

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
ISSN
0272-6963
DOI
10.1016/S0272-6963(98)00018-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1 <h5>Introduction</h5> Recently, operations management (OM) has observed a surge in field-based, empirical research, with concurrent emphasis on theory as a research driver. In this paper, theory is defined, and its crucial role in OM explained. This paper goes beyond simply stating that theory is required for `good' research, and explains at a fundamental, intuitive level the critical importance of theory. The metaphor of theory as a `lens' will be utilized to explain the role of theory in research and in the knowledge base. Because formal theorizing in other fields is generally more mature than in OM, because other fields have previously dealt with the role of theory, and because OM is small relative to other fields, it is prudent to examine the history of other disciplines for lessons they have learned. While OM has constructed `home-grown' theories, such as the cumulative model ( Ferdows and De Meyer, 1990 ), the customer contact model ( Chase and Tansik, 1983 ), and the process–product matrix ( Hayes and Wheelwright, 1979 ), OM lags disciplines such as sociology and economics in the creation of formal, research-oriented theoretical perspectives. Additionally, many of OM's areas of study are interdisciplinary, requiring attention to

Journal

Journal of Operations ManagementElsevier

Published: Jul 1, 1998

References

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