The Epistemology of Management: An Introduction

Markus Reihlen*, Dennis Schoeneborn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


The epistemological foundations of management studies have been contested throughout the history of the discipline. In this chapter, we first introduce the core of epistemology – the problem of knowledge. The problem of knowledge includes, in fact, several interrelated problems that form a system, such as: What is knowledge? Who or what has the capacity of knowing? How much can be known? What are the sources of knowing? And what knowledge is considered best? We then cluster current epistemological positions in management studies by differentiating between four epistemological orientations that differ in how the scientific statements relate to empirical reality. We refer to these orientations as (1) epistemologies of representation, (2) epistemologies of interpretation, (3) epistemologies of imagination, and (4) epistemologies of intervention. These four orientations serve as a structure to the contributions of this handbook, and also offer a novel way of mapping contemporary epistemologies in management scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Philosophy of Management
EditorsCristina Neesham, Markus Reihlen, Dennis Schoeneborn
Number of pages21
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9783030766054
ISBN (Electronic)9783030766061
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesHandbooks in Philosophy


  • Epistemology
  • Knowledge
  • Epistemologies of representation
  • Epistemologies of interpertation
  • Epistemologies of imagination
  • Epistemologies of intervention

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