The Value of the Classics

Patricia H. Thornton

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 The Value of the Classics

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business History


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Exemplary research begins by identifying an empirical observation and examining extant theories that might best explain the empirical observation. It is possible that there is no extant explanation or theory and so such empirical observations are seeds for the development of new theory. This article suggests that whatever form new theorizing will take, a good way to conduct such research and for organization and management studies to remain a vital segment of the social sciences is to examine and consider building on the foundations of the classics. To support this argument, the article sketches three mini-cases to illustrate how the classics have been used to develop cumulative research programs.

Keywords: classic writings; empirical observations; theorizing; organization studies; cumulative research; management studies

Article.  6845 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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