The General Method of Theory Building Research Order Instructions: Theory contextualizes certain ideas into set scenarios in an attempt to explain why & how things they are, which can be speculative & tentative as its development is constantly influenced by the evolution of science and the new facts/data that come within (Stewart, 2010).
The theory is connected with facts via establishing hypothesis between concepts & principles, tested/verified via experiments and viewed in various forms (casual relationship/pseudoscience/IBE/etc), depends on the subjective view of users who has limited access to the complete information. how the concept is defined can be largely individual/incompatible and it can be difficult for a theory to address multiple homogeneous concepts defined in a distinguished way (Onofri, 2016). Therefore Stewart (2010) considers theory’s algorithm, applicability & validity remains contextual.
It is therefore important for management researcher to have a clear view of the field of research and focus on the theoretical framework and the theories developed within that particular segment. For example, a management theory studies the principle-agent relationship between employee & business owner in an attempt to ensure essential compliance (Wilson, 2016), which applies to the business environment. A change theory, on the other hand, focuses on understanding human interaction and how it links with their motivation to make behavior changes, which can support the society in achieving long term goals and is usually employed by a social scientist, NGO and government researcher (Hoffman-Miller, 2013). Theories developed under each of these distinguished focus frameworks vary widely and serve different research purpose.
Describe at least two theoretical frameworks you might choose for your research problem and why:
There are three theories I consider would support my research problem: the applicability of operation modeling/simulation technology in a complexed business environment with heavy human intervention, featuring manufacturing/demand forecasting
Theory of constraint (TOC): A theory focuses on identifying and resolving the constraint of the business process by restructuring organization resources/process. This theory is highly applicable in manufacturing environment since constraint is termed as a bottleneck in the factory and always remains a key focus to deliver continuous improvement from. TOC emphasizes a holistic view of looking at the entire end to end business process instead of a particular section in order to deliver maximum improvement. Therefore it sets the key tone for the entire dissertation by focusing on identifying bottlenecks and how they weight in the entire system and interact with each other via modeling/simulation.
Queuing Theory: A operation research theory studies the effect of waiting for lines (queues) in a model: The time & resources it consumes and impacts on business. Queuing theory is technically critical as it provides the basic methodology to project real life business process into a software modeling/simulation environment, which is the main body of the dissertation. Each work station/process is symbolized & connected via input-process-output model in the form of job size/number of servers/time consumption. Analysis can only be carried out after a model is established/simulated with data output available.
Resource-based view theory: A theory focuses on identifying critical strategic resources of a company and analyze the possible combinations to seek the best business results. In the context of the manufacturing environment, resources typically refer to machines, materials & labors. And indeed these 3 elements are the constant struggle of any factory to draw a strategic balance between. By employing this theory, it gives a new perspective in the simulation process: What will be the different outcomes if a certain element is modified – A crucial step to produce valuable suggestions later on.
How will your choice(s) of theoretical frameworks affect the manner in which you conduct your research?
The theory of constraint’s reflection in a manufacturing environment as put by Laguna (2013) is to balance the flow of product with market demand rather than focusing on capacity. A similar concept is seen on lean management, where just in time theory emphasizes the criticality of keeping consistency across all workstations. So TOC offers a good prospect in linking with other management theory to critically discuss the concept of business process design. Queuing theory and resource-based view theory provide access into how the real-life business process will be modeled, simulated and tested on the computer and offer different discussion points: Queuing theory potentially on factory design (layout) & resource based-view on resources disposal. Most importantly all the assumptions and experiments these theories require are compatible with available software and first-hand data to compare with. The research, therefore, will be conducted more in a quantitative manner.
The General Method of Theory Building Research Reference
Hoffman-Miller, P. (2013), Change theory, Salem Press Encyclopedia
Laguna, M. & Marklund, J. (2013), Business process modeling, simulation, and design, 2nd ed, CRC Press. Taylor & Francis Group
Onofri, A. (2016) ‘Two constraints on a theory of concepts’, International journal of philosophy & official organ of the ESAP, 70 (1), pp.3-27, Available from https://liverpool.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://dx.doi.org.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/1746-8361.12125 (Accessed: 04 June 2016).
Stewart, J., Harte, V. & Sambrook, S. (2010) ‘What is a theory?’, Journal of European Industrial Training, 35 (3), pp.221-229, Available from:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1108/03090591111120386 (Accessed: 04 June 2016)
Wilson, R.L. (2016), Management theory, Salem Press Encyclopedia
The General Method of Theory Building Research Sample Answer
Reply to student post
In this post, in describing the meaning of theory in his own words, the student has correctly stated that theory is linked to facts through establishing hypothesis between principles and concepts, corroborated through experiments and viewed differently. To add on what the student has noted, the theory can be described as the set of propositions, suppositions, or accepted facts which try to offer a logical or reasonable explanation of causal relationships, that is cause-and-effect relationships, amongst a group of observed phenomenon (Lynham 2013). Moreover, theory comprises an idea or a set of ideas aimed at explaining events or facts (Weick 2014). This is what the student has indicated in the post, citing reputable sources, which is for the most part correct.
The student intends to utilize the Theory of Constraint, Queuing Theory, and Resource-Based View Theory to investigate the research problem. According to the student, the Theory of Constraint can be used to identify the constraint of a business process and resolve that constraint by means of restructuring organization process/resource. According to Goldratt (2011), Theory of Constraint gives emphasis to a broad perspective of looking at the whole end-to-end business process rather than looking at a specific section so as to ensure maximum improvement. It is essentially a management paradigm which considers any management system as being restricted or constrained in attaining more of its objectives by a few constraints. This is what the student has noted in his post, which is actually true. The Queuing Theory, as the student has rightly indicated in the post, is concerned with problems that involve waiting or queuing (Adan 2015). The Resource-Based View Theory is basically a model which considers the resources of an organization as vital to the organization’s superior performance, (Adan 2015) a point which the student has also rightly noted in his post. All in all, the student has provided a clear and convincing explanation of how the three theories or theoretical frameworks would be used to examine the research problem and complete the research study effectively. This is commendable.
The General Method of Theory Building Research References
Adan, I 2015, Queuing Theory. New York City, NY: North River Press.
Goldratt, EM 2011, Theory of Constraints. Great Barrington, MA: North River Press
Lynham, SA 2013, The General Method of Theory-Building Research in Applied Disciplines. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 4(87): 221-241;
Weick, KE 2014, The Work of Theorizing. In Theorizing in Social Science: The Context of Discovery. Richard Swedberg, editor. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.