A practical guide for making theory contributions in strategic management


Journal Article

Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Rather than introducing radical new “grand theory” paradigms, most theory contributions in strategic management extend, clarify, or apply received theories in new and interesting ways. Here we offer a guide on how to make these kinds of contributions to theory. Theory usually begins with a research question, which can come from the phenomenon of interest, variations/limitations of existing theory, or intellectual creativity. Along with the question, there are a number of more craftsmanship-level aspects of a theory where contributions can be made: the mode of theorizing, the level of analysis, an understanding of the underlying phenomenon, causal mechanisms, constructs and variables, and boundary conditions. These aspects of the theory lead to a set of outcomes in the form of explanations, predictions, or prescriptions. The articles in this special issue are interpreted through our framework as illustrations of this approach to making theory contributions.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Makadok, R; Burton, R; Barney, J

Published Date

  • June 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1530 - 1545

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0266

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0143-2095

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/smj.2789

Citation Source

  • Scopus