Spotlight: Management Theory and Methods

This page features a curated selection of annotated bibliographies drawn from Oxford Bibliographies in Management, designed to help scholars understand key theories and topics in our discipline. 

  • Organization Theory

    “Organization theory is concerned with the relationship between organizations and their environment, the effects of those relationships on organizational functioning, and how organizations affect the distribution of privilege in society.”-Royston Greenwood and Bob Hinings

  • Organizational Identity

    “The literature on organizational identity investigates the notion that organizations have identities in a fashion similar to but different from individual identities. Organizational identity is treated as an organization’s collective answer to the fundamental question, “Who are we as an organization?” This literature adopts multiple perspectives to understand the character of organizational identity, how it forms, how it changes, and how it affects various outcomes and aspects of organizational life and performance.”-Dennis Gioia, Yuliya Likhonina, and Dana Gioia

  • Organization Culture

    "The concept of organizational culture was introduced to the field of management and organization studies in the late 1970s, and it began to attract significant scholarly attention in the early to mid-1980s. Building on insights from sociology and anthropology, organizational scholars argued that organizations could possess distinct cultures, or sets of shared values, beliefs, and norms that guide the attitudes and actions of organizational members. Researchers suggested that organizational culture could significantly affect organizational outcomes, reasoning that culture could be used as a resource to affect employee actions, distinguish firms from one another, and create competitive advantage for those with superior cultures.”- Mary Ann Glynn, Simona Giorgi, and Christi Lockwood

  • Global Organization Design

    “The term “organization design” has been used in a variety of ways ranging from a very narrow focus on organization structures to a very broad conceptualization as a system of organization structures, processes, and people that facilitate the implementation of the organization’s strategy. The term has been used as both static and dynamic, depending on whether it captures a snapshot of an organization at a given moment in time, or whether it reflects a process of change, realignment, and reshaping of all organization design elements. In addition, research on organization design has extended beyond the boundaries of the firm including interorganizational networks.” -Tatiana Kostova

  • Resource-Dependence Theory

    “The resource dependence perspective (hereafter RD) refers to a research tradition that emerged from the basic framework of Jeffrey Pfeffer and Gerald R. Salancik’s classic 1978 work, The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective. The theoretical arguments that serve as RD’s foundation can be summarized as follows: (1) an organization’s external environment comprises other organizations, each with their own interests and objectives; (2) organizations hold power over a focal firm—and may thus constrain its behavior—if they control resources that are vital to its ongoing operation and cannot be acquired elsewhere.”-Adam Cobb and Tyler Wry

  • Research Methods

    “The purpose of organizational research methods is to answer questions about an organizational phenomenon through systematic gathering and analysis of relevant data to provide evidence for the phenomenon. This process is directed at exploring, describing, predicting, or explaining the phenomenon by strengthening or weakening a theory, testing a hypothesis or prediction, or replicating previous findings. To evaluate the adequacy of a research method, it is important not only to understand the logic, strengths, and limitations of the method, but also to relate it to the specific research question and the context of use.”-David Chen

  • Qualitative Research Methods

    “Qualitative research methods in the field of management typically rely on nonquantitative forms of data collection and nonstatistical forms of data analysis. A variety of methods are encompassed under this umbrella term, and because these methods are used in a diversity of philosophical approaches, they offer a complex and rich source of research techniques. Qualitative researchers are keen to generate rich data that focus on the meanings and interpretations that individuals or groups ascribe to a given concept or situation.”-Catherine Cassell

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