Intro_5_a - Intro to Management Hilary 2008 Professor Steve...

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Intro to Management Hilary 2008 Professor Steve Woolgar Week 5 • Lecture H9: Science, truth and management • Lecture H10: Management speak, consultants and gurus • Tutorial questions: • Is there any scientific basis to management? or • Do consultants ever speak the truth? Week 6 • Lecture H11: What is technology? • Lecture H12: Internet technologies and the “new” organisation • Tutorial questions: • How can we understand the impact of technology upon organisation? or • Must we always be taken in by the hype about new technology? Introduction to Management Lecture H9: 12 th February 2008 Science, truth and management Professor Steve Woolgar • Theories of knowledge and science • The example of Taylorism • The example of WMD Theories of knowledge and science • Why do we need to know these? • Because we want answers to questions such as: – What are the best ways of generating knowledge? – Can management research be scientific? – If management research is scientific, how come so many businesses and organisations are in such a mess?! – If economics is a science, why do we keep having problems with public borrowing, growth forecasts, rates of inflation? – How can we demonstrate or prove that what we say about an organisation is true? – Who should we believe about theories of management and why? Demarcation Criteria: what is science? • What distinguishes science from other activities? • Application of decision rules to hypotheses and generalisations? • These ‘rules’ have varied over time and between different philosophical traditions – Verification/induction and generalisation – Falsification/refutation (Popper) – Kuhn – Feyerabend – Social constructivism
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Example 1: Verification/justification • Beliefs, opinions etc are non scientific statements • Infer from facts to verify/substantiate general laws • Use general laws (eg friction, speed) to explain events in physical world. Explanans and explanandum – E.g. greedy employees cause bankruptcy •BU T • Facts are “theory laden” i.e. facts are always interpreted in terms of theories • There is no neutral observation language • There is a logical problem of induction (Hume) Example 2: Falsification/refutation (Popper) • A theory is scientific if it is open to refutation • Treat model/theory as a convention which is constantly under attack: bold conjectures and concerted efforts to defeat them • Conventions which resist refutation lead to (third world) knowledge – Eg the null hypothesis in statistical testing •B
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This note was uploaded on 04/12/2010 for the course ECON DEAM taught by Professor Vines during the Spring '10 term at Oxford University.

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Intro_5_a - Intro to Management Hilary 2008 Professor Steve...

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