InterJournal Complex Systems, 350
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [350]
Submission Date: 424
Revised On: 519
The Quest for Novel Explanations in Organizational Sciences
Author(s): Hans J Scholl

Subject(s): CX.43, CX.44

Category: Article


Landmark scientific advancements in the past three decades mainly in the realm of natural sciences have sparked scholarly interest and a desire for adaptation of similar approaches to the field of social sciences. Among these ideas are Chaos Theory, the Theory of Complexity, and Autopoiesis Theory. Individual and organizational behavior and interaction comprises a high degree of complexity which traditional social science research has always had difficulty with. It is, hence, not surprising that a number of social science scholars have been receptive to novel methodologies and paradigms. However, the borrowing of scientific approaches from other fields has not always turned out to be successful. In cases where the adaptation remains narrative and in metaphorical domain, its value remains unproven. This paper discusses the problem with von Krogh and Roos's recent work as the case in point. In this paper we will demonstrate that audacious thinking and use of (borrowed) metaphors - as enabling as they may be for revitalizing or even pushing a discipline - shall also identify ways where it can perform certain "scientific legwork." Any theory that seeks to bridge academic disciplines finally must be grounded on some sort of empirical evidence and satisfy further requirements of academic rigor. Otherwise, the new thinking runs the risk of being discredited without demonstrating its potential. We will give a short overview over Maturana and Varela’s theory of autopoiesis and cognition which contributed to the fields of biology in general and neuroscience in specific. We will then investigate how von Krogh and Roos try to adapt elements of this theory to Organizational Science. We will identify some major inconsistencies in this adaptation, and conclude that the narrative-metaphorical attempt of such adaptation is not useful.

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