The epistemological stance that could be implemented in the case of management research is related to the study of knowledge. Epistemology is a formidable branch of philosophy that is concerned with the varying sources of knowledge and the possibilities, sources, nature, and limitations associated with research studies. A comprehensive interpretation of the definition of epistemology suggests the approaches for the estimation of origins, structure, validity, limits, and feasibility of the information (Bryman & Bell, 2015).
The responsibility of the management researcher is directed towards determining the possibilities of the occurrence of an event or behavior as well as a relevant framework for the same. The following report attempts to validate the influence of the epistemological stance on the formulation of a management research problem.
The requirement of information in a research activity is imperative and thus the necessity of determining an epistemological stance for formulating the approach to resolve a management research problem becomes profound. The definition of knowledge can be illustrated as the information, facts, and skills that are acquired through education, experience, or inherent competencies. The distinct categories of knowledge in the context of research activity in management refer to the diverse implications that can be drawn from an epistemological stance. As per Dawson, intuitive knowledge is associated with the acquisition of information from the inherent faith, beliefs, and values of an individual. Factual information has a limited role in the formulation of intuitive knowledge (Dawson, 2014).
Logical knowledge is another form of knowledge that can be observed in the context of business management research. According to Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson, logical knowledge is obtained through the application of logical reasoning in practical business management research topics which could be used for addressing complex aspects of the management research problem (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson, 2015). Empirical knowledge is noticed in the outcomes that an individual could derive from objective facts and is dependent on experimental situations from which innovative approaches to the perception of knowledge can be developed. Authoritarian knowledge is related to the information that could be extracted from supervisors and business management literature.
An interpretation of the basic definitions of knowledge and varying categories of knowledge can provide a cognizable reference to the approaches followed for collecting knowledge. In the context of a specific research activity, data is considered the major indicator of knowledge and is acquired through qualitative or quantitative data collection methods according to the scope of the research. As per Evertson & Weinstein, the consideration of an epistemological stance in research activity is reflective of the requirement to classify the available sources of knowledge and the different routes from which the information is collected. As highlighted above, logical information, authoritarian information, intuitive information, and empirical information serve as formidable influences on the resolution of the management research problem (Evertson & Weinstein, 2013).
Logical knowledge is acquired in the context of an organization with references to logical reasoning applied in specific situations to derive plausible outcomes that can be applied in research. The primary sources for logical knowledge could be observed in case studies related to specific management issues. Empirical knowledge can be derived from management research journals and analysis of specific business issues which is considered solid input for management research activities. Gummesson said that Authoritarian knowledge is associated with the information that is documented in research journals and books. The researcher could acquire authoritarian knowledge from supervisors who have had proficient experience in management research (Gummesson, 2000).
Academic journals and research publications about management research are indicative of the sources for acquiring authoritarian knowledge. Intuitive knowledge is derived from the inherent values and beliefs of an individual which are subject to experiences of the researcher in academic activities and previous research assignments. However, it is imperative to observe that the researcher has the privilege of integrating the different sources of knowledge within a specific management research problem (Karlsson, 2016). Examples of knowledge acquisition in a research problem could be observed in the collection of authoritarian data through a literature review of the research while the conclusion of research activities could be accounted as empirical knowledge.
The statement is a promising definition of epistemology and therefore it suggests the approach followed for acquiring knowledge including structure, methods, and feasibility of the information. The information specific to a management research problem could be dependent on the research philosophy and an interpretation of what knowledge is alongside the methods that can be used for acquiring knowledge to serve as validation for the fact. The different approaches involved in the research philosophy include pragmatism, realism, positivism, and interpretivism. The influence of an epistemological stance on the acquisition of knowledge could be validated through the distinct approaches for collecting information. Positivism is associated with generalizations, observable facts, and data as the acquired knowledge while realism refers to the use of contextual explanations primarily related to subjective meanings and social phenomena (Myers, 2013).
Therefore these factors have to be associated with the process efficiency in which information is acquired and ‘we know what we know’. Interpretivism is associated with the interpretation of situation details, the subjective definition of motivational practices, and the rationale for the situation. Pragmatism is related to the knowledge acquisition methods of practical research and the inclusion of varying perspectives for data interpretation as well as the derivation of credible data and information from profoundly noticeable events. Therefore the credibility of the information collected in a management research problem could be validated on grounds of empiricism.
Many people have apprehended that knowing is impossible since certain philosophical concerns related to information and challenges are imperative. However certain scenarios could depict the forcing of opinions on the researcher while extending the same opinions and judging them in comparison to others. In such instances, the justified beliefs of the researcher as well as the approaches for acquiring knowledge can be limited and thereby the use of the word ‘I know’ can be excluded from the researcher’s vocabulary (Tedeschi, 2013).
Despite the criticisms, it can be concluded that consideration of knowledge as impossible could lead only to ambiguities in business research since the persuasion of research objectives would become intangible due to lack of precise evidence. On the contrary, the consideration of the viability of true beliefs, absolute deep understanding, and certainty are also indicative of scenarios where knowledge can be considered impossible.
The report was reflective of the impact rendered by the epistemological stance on a management research problem through an illustration of the definition of knowledge, possible sources for acquiring knowledge, approaches for the collection of knowledge, and the probabilities of knowledge being impossible.
Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2015. Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.
Dawson, J.F., 2014. Moderation in management research: What, why, when, and how. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(1), pp.1-19.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P.R., 2015. Management and business research. Sage.
Evertson, C.M. and Weinstein, C.S. eds., 2013. Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues. Routledge.
Gummesson, E., 2000. Qualitative methods in management research. Sage.
Karlsson, C. ed., 2016. Research Methods for Operations Management. Routledge.
Myers, M.D., 2013. Qualitative research in business and management. Sage.
Tedeschi, J.T. ed., 2013. Impression management theory and social psychological research. Academic Press.Order Now