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Strengthening Theory through Isolation and Subsequent Confrontation. The Case of French Convention Theory

Abdul A. Rasheed, Richard L. Priem & Anne-Catherine Provost (2022)

In: Michael Pirson, David M. Wasieleski & Erica L. Steckler (eds.), Alternative Theories of the Firm. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 184-216.

Abstract. This chapter revisits French Convention Theory (FCT) to inform the theory of the firm. This chapter argues that geographically or otherwise isolated scholarly communities, initially, can benefit from closure that allows them to nurture nascent theories. Subsequent confrontation with theories representing other scholarly communities is necessary, however, for the full development of robust new theories. Instead, academic parochialism leads scholarly communities to rally around their long-cherished views and avoid confrontation with new ideas. This chapter illustrates the potential benefits of even an incremental step toward increased intellectual engagement among scholars representing differing theory traditions. FCT, developed in relative isolation, serves as an example of a theory that could productively confront both economics-based and behaviorally based North American organization theories. The chapter first describes FCT and then shows how institutional theory and stakeholder theory each could benefit from a confrontation with it, because of potential new theory development, theory extension, or theory reinforcement. Lastly, this chapter discusses the benefits and implications of such theory confrontations for strengthening organization science.

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