Changing Assumptions and Progressive Change in Theories of Strategic Organization

Nicolai J. Foss, Niklas L. Hallberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    A commonly held view is that strategic organization theories progress as a result of a Popperian process of bold conjectures and systematic refutations. However, our field also witnesses vibrant debates or disputes about the specific assumptions that our theories rely on, and although these debates are often decoupled from the results of empirical testing, changes in assumptions seem closely intertwined with theoretical progress. Using the case of the resource-based view, we suggest that progressive change in theories of strategic organization may come about as a result of scholarly debate and dispute over what constitutes proper assumptions—even in the absence of corroborating or falsifying empirical evidence. We also discuss how changing assumptions may drive future progress in the resource-based view.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalStrategic Organization
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)410–422
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Dynamic capabilities
    • Firm performance
    • Industrial economics
    • Resource-based view
    • Strategy content

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