OSA Seminar by Peter Kesting

What is theory? - Reflections and open questions

2017.08.17 | Merete Elmann

Date Mon 04 Sep
Time 12:15 13:15
Location Room 2636-U30, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

Monday, 4 September 2017 at 12:15 in room 2636-U30, Peter Kesting from Department of Management will give a presentation entitled:

What is theory? - Reflections and open questions


Everyone is welcome! 


In this presentation I am going to discuss the concept of theory in relation to our discipline. How is theory conceptualised and how is it used in research? What is a theoretical contribution? How is this grounded in philosophical concepts of theory?

First I will argue for the need of theory as foundation for explanation and prediction of singular events. The substance here is stability of forms and relations. Next, I will have some words on the early development of theory – eventually leading to the theory concept of the axiomatic system –, and some discussions around that. Based on that I will turn to our discipline and discuss these open questions: (i) what is “a” theory – i.e. what distinguishes theory from models, hypotheses, typologies etc.; (ii) where to find the causal (theoretical) contribution in empirical papers; (iii) how to ground propositions in data; and (iv) what is the value of confirmation.