Reconnecting theory and practice in a pluralistic organizing context : issues and Aristotelian considerations
Bredillet, Christophe, Tywoniak, Stephane, & Dwivedula, Ravikiran (2014) Reconnecting theory and practice in a pluralistic organizing context : issues and Aristotelian considerations. In EURAM 2014 - 14th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management, June 4-7, 2014, Valencia, Spain.
The overall purpose of this paper is to contribute to the theory - practice gap debate in organization studies, especially in pluralistic contexts such as project organizing. We briefly outline some of the current debates, i.e. modernist and postmodernist proposals, and the prevalent dichotomous thinking stance assumptions to better move beyond it, anchoring our contribution in the Aristotelian ethical and practical philosophy. We introduce the current state of the debate, part of the broad question of “science that matters”, and the various discourses between practice and academia within social sciences and more specifically organizational studies. We briefly critically summarize some main features of the two main philosophical stances (modernism, postmodernism), before presenting some key aspects, for the purpose of this paper, of the Aristotelian pre-modern practical and ethical philosophy. Then, we build on the foundations above established, discussing propositions to reconnect theory and practice according the Aristotelian ethical and practical philosophy, and some key implications for research notably in the following areas: roles played by practitioners and scholars, emancipatory praxeological style of reasoning, for closing the “phronetic gap” and reconnecting means and ends, facts and values, relation between collective praxis, development of “good practice” (standards), ethics and politics. We conclude highlighting the role of the suggested shift to an Aristotelian emancipatory style of reasoning for reconciling theory and practice.
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