Critical rationalism and the state of unawareness in managers' theories

D. Faran, D. Faran, Alphonsus B.J.M. Wijnhoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This essay highlights the state of unawareness to which the theories held by managers are susceptible. The essay opens up the question whether the critical rationalist approach, which specifically addresses the unawareness problem in science, is indeed inadequate for organizations as commonly argued. We suggest that organizations apply fragments of the critical rationalist approach anyway, but fail to make the whole because of certain obstructers. By specifying these obstructers we theorize that the critical rationalist approach is applicable once its obstructers are addressed properly. The most fundamental obstructer is the `mindless derivation¿, meaning the unawareness of the major premise in managers¿ theories, by which it cannot be critically discussed and consequently the theories cannot be systematically falsified. We draw an organizational theoretical system as a basis for systematic detection of unawareness and exercise it in a real illustrative case
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-514
Number of pages20
JournalManagement learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-288749
  • IR-79088


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