Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation

TitleOrganizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsBacharach, S.
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Pagination496 - 515
Date Published1989
Keywordsindustrial research, management, organizational sociology, organizational structure

A set of ground rules and vocabulary to facilitate focused discussion about the structure of organization and management theories are proposed. The many previous efforts at defining and evaluating theory help establish criteria for theory construction and evaluation. In the establishment of these criteria, description is distinguished from theory, and a matrix of criteria for evaluating the variables, constructs, and relationships that together compose a theory is developed. The proposed matrix may be useful both for defining the necessary components of good theory and for evaluating and/or comparing the quality of alternative theories. Finally, a discussion of the way theories fit together to give a somewhat broader picture of empirical reality reveals the lines of tension between the two main criteria for evaluating theory.