What is the relevance of Karl Popper’s Critical Rationalism to Management Studies and Practice?

Philosophy of Management 9 (1):5-38 (2010)
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This paper revisits some recent contributions on ‘Why Management Theory Needs Popper’ to the journal Philosophy of Management. It proposes that those discussions provided an appraisal of the relevance of Popper’s falsification schema to management theory, but that they did not thereby bring to the fore all of the issues pertinent to a balanced and well-rounded understanding of Popper’s philosophy of critical rationalism. It is argued that such an understanding requires a discussion of what Popper himself declared to be the real lynchpin of his thought: fallibilism and a critical approach. It is noted that this represents a rejection of the historical problem situation of philosophy — that knowledge claims need to be positively justified as true. It is argued that this rejection implies an anti-authoritarian, non-justificational philosophy based on the use of critical reason. Its application to several different objects of criticism is demonstrated and its ethical dimensions are explored. The relevance of critical rationalism to management studies and practice is assessed and an inherent limitation on the prospects of its adoption in management practice is identified. … the appeal to authorities is the death of knowledge… the growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement.



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