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Evaluating a management theory

I need help in developing criteria for evaluating a management theory and systems thinking theory. Here are the guidelines:

Proposed Guidelines for Developing Evaluation Criteria:
1. Identify the theory and its context: What is the theory and where does it fit in the context of existing research?

2. Examine the Method: How did the author or researcher develop the theory? For example:
• Does the theory build on existing theoretical frameworks?
• Was the theory grounded in research? If so, what method was used, and does that method seem credible? [See p. 685 of the Denyer and Tranfield chapter for a list of questions on methodology.]
• What are the assumptions underpinning the theory? Is it possible to test and challenge the theory and any assumptions underpinning the theory?

3. Examine Support for the Theory: Is there empirical validity to support the theory?
• Has other research supported the theory?
• Has any research attempted to falsify the theory? Was the attempt successful? If so, does this undermine the theory?

4. Examine the Credibility of the Theory: Does the theory provide a relatively understandable explanation?
• Does believability require a "leap of faith" on the part of the reader? How so?
• Does the theory add new insight to our current understanding of behavior? Or is the theory largely a reiteration of previous work?
• Conversely: Does it build on previous theory? If so, how does this affect the credibility (/ believability) of the theory?

5. Examine the Researcher: What are the credentials of the author or researcher who developed the theory?
• In what context did the researcher function? For example, when did he or she develop the theory? What was the researcher/author's professional background? And is this relevant to the theory that was developed? How so?
• What was going on in the environment in which the author functioned at the time (or closely preceding) the theory development?
• Did the researcher/author bring a particular perspective to the theory? In what way?
• How has the researcher been viewed by his or her peers?

Solution Preview

Systems theory is a theory, developed in management discipline that can be applied to all types of systems at all levels in an organization. In this context, a general understanding of the theory, to develop criteria for evaluating the management theory will be provided in the section below.

Systems Thinking Theory

Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general that helps gain an understanding of a system by examining all the linkages and interactions of different components that comprise the entirety of the defined system. In the theory, whole system can be viewed the different sub systems with clear boundaries or links with the external environment (Jackson, 2000). In the theory of management, an organization is seen to have a complex composition of many interconnected systems, i.e. human and non-human that need to work together to gain an understanding about the design and construction of the organization (Systems thinking, 2010).

In general, the theory can be applied to all types of systems in all the fields of research. Systems theory can be viewed as a model complex, created by the multiple interactions of components and define all the characteristic functions, properties and relations that exist between the different components of system (Skytnner, 2001). The theory is useful for gaining an understanding of the concept as to how an organization functions as a system. It is a macro-scientific theory, which develops a holistic view of living systems, such as individuals, teams and organizations, to thrive in rapidly dynamic environment of today. As such, the theory can be successfully applied to all the fields of research as it aims to solve a problem of the research (Ragsdell, 2002).

Development of the Theory

Ludwig von Bertalanffy described a set of theories that comprises the framework of general system theory. He viewed life as an accidental product of physical processes and human personality to be a chance product of nature and nurture, a sequence of events from early childhood to maturity (Laszlo & Krippner, 2000). The world seemed to be an organization by the author in developing the theory. He viewed the organizations as systems in developing a systemic approach to solve the management ...

Solution Summary

The response addresses the queries posted in 1250 words with references.