Volume 7, Issue 3, 2009
Green Shoots and Perennials
Andy Adcroft, Spinder Dhaliwal
Disconnections in Management Theory and Practice
Poetry, Numbers and Postmodernism
This essay is concerned with what Abbinnett1 described as fundamental to the discourses of social science: truth and its construction. The central problem around which the narrative is built is a growing disconnection in one area of social science, management research, between how truth is frequently defined and used and the approaches taken to constructing that truth. The result of this is an intellectual impurity whereby management research occupies an incoherent intellectual space somewhere between modernism and postmodernism. Our argument is that, for a host of probable reasons, management research in many areas is dominated by the search for rational and scientific truth through the use of quantitative methodologies underpinned by a positivist philosophy. The result
of this is frequently truth diluted rather than truth distilled. The essay discusses different routes to establishing a type of truth, the location of management research within a modern-postmodern continuum and the implications of this for management researchers. We begin, however, with a brief discussion of the nature of truth in social science.