SCHON’S INSTITUTIONAL EPISTEMOLOGY
(A "Positivist" Epistemology)
- Seeks to explain and predict phenomena
- Searches for regularities and causal relationships
- Methods used are scientific
- Researcher is separated from the object of inquiry
- Search for laws of human and social behavior
- Social Science is viewed as an objective enterprise
- Pieces of a concrete reality are cumulated over
- Immutable structures of a "real" social world are
- "Means – ends" relationships are established
- Knowledge generated is conceived as a "technical
- When applied – involves adjusting technical means
(ends are clear, fixed, and internally consistent)
- Intent – to control nature and control people
- Management education:
…promises "professional neutrality & objectivity"
…promises "certainty of control"
…offers prescriptions for the efficient realization of
- Instrumental action is not related to moral action
(managers are seen as "morally neutral technicians")
- Practice is "relational"
- Action has an "interdependent character"
(attempts to control generate counter control)
- Organizations are "uncertain," "complex," and "unique"
- The zone of practice is "soft" & "indeterminate"
- In the "swampy lowlands" technical rigor is out
- A world that is "uncontrolled," "problems – ill
the "actors are interested."