Impactful Theory: Pathways to Mattering

Juliane Reinecke*, Eva Boxenbaum, Joel Gehman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

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Abstract

Organization Theory is an academic journal dedicated to the development and dissemination of novel theory in the domain of organizational scholarship. At the same time, an increasing chorus of organizational scholars have advocated for “impact”—broadly defined as producing societal benefit beyond the realm of academia. In this editorial, we question the implicit dichotomy between theory, on the one hand, and impact, on the other, and critically explore the notion of impactful theory. Rather than seeing theory as inherently opposed to impact, we celebrate and elucidate theory as a meaningful way to achieve impact. Specifically, we unpack the apparent oxymoron of impactful theory, and articulate seven distinct pathways whereby theory can be impactful. We close by outlining several critical questions, both for individual scholars and our collective community, as well as future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Theory
Volume3
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
ISSN2631-7877
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Action research
  • Engaged scholarship
  • Impact
  • Organization theory
  • Performativity
  • Research-practice gap
  • Scientific activism
  • Theorizing

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