Why hasn’t an artificial manager been invented yet in management science? Part 2

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In the previous post, I described the first reason on the side of management science itself that stands in the way of making an artificial manager. This is the general methodological mess, which makes it practically impossible to compare research results to each other and impossible to build constructs in an engineering sense.

There is also a second reason, also on the side of management science, which is built from 7 problems in its practice. They are of a slightly different nature than the very methodology of the sciences harnessed to the study of organizational reality. They are problems more in the approach to the practice of this science, rather than the elements of science as such. So let’s enumerate these problems in practicing management science.

First, it is not entirely certain whether management science belongs to idiographic or nomothetic sciences [1]. The resolution of this dilemma affects many decisions during a scientific study, from the choice of either a qualitative or quantitative approach, to the issues of selecting the objects of study, and finally to the research tool and the way the results are interpreted.

Secondly, management science is dominated by the study of organizational reality based on the situation at certain points in time, which leads to a static and only momentary assessment of this reality [2]. This problem is quite complicated and has two aspects. The first aspect is that there is usually no longitudinal research, but only a single registration of the phenomenon under study. It is then impossible to infer how the study of the phenomenon changes as a function of time. The second aspect is that even if longitudinal studies are conducted, the time intervals between studies are too long, which in effect also amounts to a single registration of the studied phenomenon.

Thirdly, many theories in the management sciences are created under the explicit influence of the researcher’s valuation of the elements of these theories, which in the perspective of the development of science is an unfavorable phenomenon [3]. S. Sudol adds that at present it is easy to formulate “new management theories” that have not been properly verified, and the influence of the subjectivity of researchers on theories in management science is too great [4].

Fourth, there are two rather critical approaches in management science to the question of the veracity of knowledge about organizational reality. On the one hand, one can find the view that the positivist quest to discover the truth about organizational reality and to achieve certainty of knowledge is utopian and consists of an attempt to create a better social order as a result of implementing the idea of scientific management [5]. On the other hand, there is an “overproduction of truth” about organizational reality in the form of hundreds of millions of scientific publications, and its degree of certainty cannot be accurately determined [6].

Fifth, in the management sciences, one can observe the phenomenon of increasing diversity in the understanding of concepts [7] and the introduction of new concepts despite the fact that a common and consistent language is an essential element in the existence of a scientific discipline [8].

Sixth, despite the fact that the literature in the management sciences is dominated by the view that a cumulative model of creating knowledge about organizational reality is present in these sciences and is related to the deepening of science as a whole [9], according to S. Sulkowski, theories, concepts and methods of management do not form a single, coherent research perspective [10]. Such a wide variety of approaches, paradigms and methodological concepts prevents the full use of the cumulative model of knowledge creation.

Seventh, the problem of incommensurability of the entire scientific discipline is very evident in the management sciences, especially in terms of methods of conducting research and interpreting its results [10]. This issue seems to be particularly evident when contrasting a qualitative (interpretative) approach with a quantitative (neopositivist) approach. Due to the phenomenon of incommensurability of the results of research conducted even within the same approach, they cannot be compared with each other, which leads to the formation of “islands of knowledge” [11].

In order to solve these problems at least to some extent, I designed the methodological concept “System of organizational terms”. In many areas, instead of conclusions, theses or assumptions in the System of organizational terms, only hypotheses have been made, which only in the future can be verified and complete the solution of the problems of management science posed above. For more on the Organizational Size Layout, click here:

[1] K. Zimniewicz: O potrzebie dyskusji na temat metod zarządzania. W: Ku nowym paradygmatom nauk o zarządzaniu. Red. J. Rokita. Katowice, GWSH, 2008, s. 137.

[2] J. Rokita: Systemowe podejście do badań nad zachowaniami organizacji. W: Kierunki i dylematy rozwoju nauki i praktyki zarządzania przedsiębiorstwem. Red. H. Jagoda, J. Lichtarski. Wrocław, Wydawnictwo UE we Wrocławiu, 2010, s. 258.

[3] H.G. Hicks, F. Goronzy: On Methodology in the Study of Management and Organization. Academy of Management Journal 1967, Vol. 10 (4), s. 383.

[4] S. Sudoł: Main Dilemmas of Management Science. Organization and Management 2010, Vol. 1 (139), s. 8-9.

[5] Ł. Sułkowski: Utopia zarządzania. Przegląd Organizacji 2005, Nr 11, s. 7.

[6] P. Darmer: The Subject(ivity) of Management. Journal of Organizational Change Management 2000, Vol. 13 (4), s. 334-351.

[7] O. Flak: Układ wielkości organizacyjnych jako obiekt badań. W: Organizacje komercyjne i niekomercyjne wobec wzmożonej konkurencji oraz wzrastających wymagań konsumentów. Red. A. Nalepka. Nowy Sącz, Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu, 2007, s. 66

[8] R. Hodge: Towards a Postmodern Science of Language. Social Semiotics 2003, Vol. 13 (3), s. 242.

[9] A.C. Edmondson, S.E. Mcmanus: Methodological Fit in Management Field Research. Academy of Management Review 2007, Vol. 32 (4), s. 1158-1159.

[10] Ł. Sułkowski: Problem niewspółmierności koncepcji w zarządzaniu. Przegląd Organizacji 2004, Nr 4, s. 6.

[11] M. Gleiser: The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning. New York, Basic Books, 2014.