Open Theorizing in Management and Organization Studies

Paolo V. Leone, Saku Mantere and Samer Faraj
Published: 15 February 2022

Authors: Paolo V. Leone, Saku Mantere and Samer Faraj

Publication: Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, Issue 4, October 2021, Pages 725–749.


We explore how open theorizing contributes to theory development within and across scholarly communities in management and organization studies. Open science precepts such as open data and open research material can foster open theorizing, enabling loosely coordinated researchers to develop theoretical explanations by drawing on one another’s data sets, code scripts, notes, methodological protocols, auxiliary findings, and supplemental documentation. In social scientific, theory-intensive fields, such as management and organization studies, open theorizing processes can also occur through sharing concepts, framings, theoretical relations, and case examples, as well as through research policies and debates about values. By enacting the social epistemological principles of free criticism and diversity, these processes significantly affect theoretical vocabularies, promoting their concentration, extension, reinvigoration, and procreation. We examine how open theorizing can benefit or hinder theory development, and we discuss the collective action problems that may hamper its adoption.

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