New theories and organization research: from the eyes of change

Masoud Shadnam

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In recent years, organization scholars have engaged in several conversations about the process of theory development, and offered many proposals for building new theories of organization. The purpose of this paper is to highlight a fundamental, fruitful and often neglected method for developing new theories of organization. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws on Peirce's typology of reasoning: deduction, induction and abduction. This typology helps in analyzing and categorizing the extant proposals for developing new theories of organization, and also makes it visible what approach has been most often missing. Findings: This paper shows that the offered proposals can be categorized into the following two models: (1) armchair theorizing; (2) present capturing. This categorization also highlights a third model – change sensitizing – that is based on shifting organization theories by sensitizing ourselves to macro shifts of organizational reality. Originality/value: Although the change sensitizing model is an unusual, marginal practice in today's organization research, it has historically been used to develop many of the renowned theories in social sciences. If taken as a serious agenda, it has the potential to generate a host of new, valuable theories of organization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Early online date30 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Change
  • New Theories
  • Organizational Shifts
  • Theorizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences (all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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