Process Theory and Research: Exploring the Dialectic Tension

Christian De Cock*, Robert J. Sharp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We contest that although the notion of process is increasingly being applied to the study of organizations, these attempts are hampered by significant methodological shortcomings. We claim that the value of process theory is under-utilized because most attempts to apply process theory end up reverting to conventional non-process methods. We suggest that the cause of this reversion is primarily the challenge of making sense, of fixing the world, propelling us from process into the world of substance. To break free of these limitations we propose an approach that takes the researchers’ audience alongside the subject processes rather than attempting to clinically intersect them. We illuminate this paper with our own story vignettes concerning the fortunes of an idea that passes by the name of value based management (VBM).1 These vignettes are meant to both exemplify and disrupt the theoretical narrative.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)233-250
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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