Training Programs

2016 PMR Course Description

December 8 – December 12, 2016
Building 2, Guanghua School of Management,
Peking University
Course email:

A Brief Description of Workshop and Course 

This workshop is to prepare faculty colleagues who are interested in teaching this doctoral level course on the Philosophy of Management Research.
The course is a brief introduction to scientific work in organizations and management. It focuses on a few of the key issues in the philosophy and the conduct of science. These are central to the work of a scientist in constructing understanding and explanation of important phenomena in our natural and social world. The issues pervade both natural and social sciences and they help us gain clarity on the role of scientific research in advancing the practice of management, which has the important role of integrating business technology and humanity, i.e., how firms may influence the wellbeing of both those working in them and those affected by them, i.e., employees, consumers, and society. The role of science or of the scientist, if not understood properly can impede our scientific work, impair knowledge and stall scientific discoveries.
The course explores some of these questions: What is scientific reasoning and explanation? What are the unique challenges in social science relative to natural science? How does progress and development in scientific knowledge come about? What is the development of science in the management and organization discipline? What role do values play in science? How does science contribute to both the progress and the demise of the human condition? How can we as scientists contribute to the progress in the science of management and organizations, and hence humanity? What does it mean to pursue a career in organization science?

Potential Participants for this Workshop and Commitments

The workshop is intended for business school faculty colleagues who are interested in potentially teaching this course to doctoral students in their schools. The faculty should have some empirical research experience with some publications in Chinese and international journals. Knowledge of philosophy is not necessary even though an interest in the nature of scientific work, history and progress in science would be helpful. Proficiency in reading English papers would be useful. Faculty colleagues in this workshop must commit to completing the readings and pre-work before attending the workshop. Attendance in all 4.5 days is expected.
Residence Requirements
Due to the evening assignments, we would like all participants to stay at the Guanghua Executive Education Hotel, including those who live in Beijing. Undivided attention is essential to gain the most benefits from this workshop.

Course Materials

Books (participants must buy these books)
1. Kuhn, Thomas (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions.3rdedition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (ISBN: 0-226-45808-3, paper)
2. Okasha, Samir (2002). Philosophy of science: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
3. Risjord, Mark (2014). Philosophy of social science: A contemporary introduction. New York: Routledge.
4. Smith and Hitt (2005). Great minds in management. New York: Oxford University Press.
Articles (see page 6 and download articles from course website)

Workshop Assignments

The participants will be put into six teams of 2 to 3 participants each team.
1. Participants will read a total of 18 articles or chapters from four books – 6 articles each day. The team responsible for leading the discussion writes a one-page summary (500 words or less) of the two assigned readings for each of the days of the workshop. The summary should include all the important ideas in the article or the book chapter. Then, write two questions related to the ideas in the chapter or article that you would like the class to discuss. It should be no more than 500 words and no more than one page, single-spaced. Send the summary to everyone by 9:30 pm the evening before the class session. The class will read the summaries before class. Other teams will be invited to elaborate on the answers or raise additional questions. We will devote 20-25 min to each reading. Please see Appendix 1 for reading summary assignments.
2. There will be three class debates. Each team will participate in one debate. The two teams write the 10-minute opening statement and send to everyone by 9:30 pm the evening before the debate session. Please see Appendix 2 for detailed instructions.
3. Visioning statement. Each participant will prepare a “Vision” statement about your career progression in the future 10-15 years. Imagine that it is now December 2030. There is a story about you in Management Insight – a popular bi-lingual magazine that is read by scholars, students, and executives in and out of China. It is a story of your life including your research, teaching, and consulting as well as the personal side of you. Please see Appendix 3 for detailed instructions on this “visioning statement”.
Workshop Schedule
It is critically important that the workshop participants will have read all the materials for the workshop before they come to the workshop. To facilitate the preparation, we ask that you prepare a statement (no more than 500 words or two pages) in support and another statement in opposition of each of the three debate statements. You must read all the readings for that topic before you prepare the statements. In total, you will prepare six 1-2-page statements. Please send the statements for each debate to by the due date indicated below:
a. Debate 1: October 20, 2016
b. Debate 2: November 10, 2016
c. Debate 3: November 30, 2016

December 8, Thursday
Introduction to workshop objective, schedule, and preparation

5-6 pm Orientation to the workshop, form 6 teams
6-7 pm Dinner
7-10 pm Prepare debate 1 (2 teams) and write article summaries and discussion questions (4 teams, 2 readings/team)

December 9, Friday: Introduction to the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences
Induction-deduction, logical positivism, realism, constructionism, explanation, prediction, reductionism, normativity, naturalism
2 chapters from Okasha (2002) and 6 chapters from Risjord (2014)

9-12:30 pm Discussion of eight readings (led by four teams)
12:30-3 pm Lunch and prepare debate
3-4:30 pm Debate 1 (team 1 and 2)
4:30-5:30 pm Discussion of teaching issues
6-7 pm Dinner
7-9 pm Prepare debate 2; write summaries of 8 articles by 4 teams (2 per team)

Debate 1: “Social science is not different from natural science in terms of the goals of explanation, prediction, and seeking truth, as well as epistemology, ontology, and observational methods.” Take a position either FOR or AGAINST this statement and present your best arguments (citing relevant literature or evidence) to defend your position.

December 10, Saturday: Scientific Progress and Change

Scientific revolution, normal science, research programs, competition, history and education

10 chapters from Kuhn (treated as 6 readings); Popper and Lakatos chapters from Godfrey-Smith book

9 -12:30 pm Discussion of eight readings (led by four teams)
12:30-3 pm Lunch and prepare debate
3-4:30 pm Debate 2 (team 3 and 4)
4:30-5:30 pm Discussion of teaching issues
6-7 pm Dinner
7-9 pm Prepare debate 3; write summaries of 8 articles by 4 teams (2/team)

Debate 2: “Scientific change and scientific progress is slow because normal science and paradigms constraint the vision and worldview of scientists. They ignore anomalies due to the paradigmatic perspective.” Take a position either FOR or AGAINST this statement and present your best arguments (citing relevant literature or evidence) to defend your position.

December 11, Sunday: Management Scholarship and Values in Science
Progress and great theories in management, current status, epistemic and social values in science
3 chapters from Smith & Hitt (2005), 3 current status articles, and 2 values in science articles

9 -12:30 pm Discussion of eight readings (led by four teams)
12:30-3 pm Lunch and prepare debate
3-4:30 pm Debate 3 (team 5 and 6)
4:30-5:30 pm Discussion of teaching issues
6-7 pm Dinner
7-9 pm Prepare visioning statement

Debate 3: “According to the value-free ideal, science should be judged on epistemic values alone. Social (or contextual) values should be avoidable and are unnecessary to guide good science.” Take a position FOR or AGAINST this statement and present your best argument (citing relevant literature or evidence, and examples in management research) and defend your position.

Day 5, December 12, Monday: A life in Science and Society, Visioning
Career, roles and duties of a management professor, vision of future 10-15 years

9 am-12 noon Participants present visioning statement
12-1 pm Lunch
1-2 pm Discussion of course syllabus
2-3 pm Discussion of teaching issues
3-4 pm Community formation and continuing support/networking
4 pm Workshop conclusion

Appendix 1: Reading assignments for summaries and discussion leadership
1. Okasha, Chapter 2 – Scientific reasoning
2. Okasha, Chapter 3 – Explanation in science or chapter 4 – Realism and anti-realism
3. Risjord, Chapter 1 – Introduction to philosophy of social science
4. Risjord, Chapter 3 – Theories, interpretations, and concepts
5. Risjord, Chapter 4 – Interpretive methodology
6. Risjord, Chapter 6 – Reductionism: structure, agents, and evolution
7. Risjord, Chapter 7 – Social norms
8. Risjord, Chapter 9 – Causality and law in the social world
9. Kuhn, Chapter 2 & 3 – The route of normal science Kuhn; The nature of normal science
10. Kuhn, Chapter 4 & 5 – Normal science as problem solving; The priority of paradigms
11. Kuhn, Chapter 6 & 7 – Anomaly and emergence of scientific discoveries; Crisis and …
12. Kuhn, Chapter 8 & 9 – Response to crisis; Nature and necessity of scientific revolution
13. Kuhn, Chapter 10 – Revolution as change of world view
14. Kuhn, Chapter 11 – The invisibility of revolution
15. Popper, Conjecture and refutation. In Godfrey-Smith, P. 2003. Chapter 4 An introduction to the philosophy of social science: Theory and reality. The University of Chicago Press.
16. Lakatos, Lauden, Feyerabend. In Godfrey-Smith, P. 2003. Chapter 7. An introduction to the philosophy of social science: Theory and reality. The University of Chicago Press.
17. Smith & Hitt, Student choice (e.g., Upper Echelon Theory, Hambrick)
18. Smith & Hitt, Student choice (e.g., Goal setting theory, Locke and Latham)
19. Smith & Hitt, Student choice (e.g., Transaction Cost theory, Williamson)
20. Ghoshal, S. 2005. Why bad management theories are driving out good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education. 4(1): 75-91.
21. Hambrick, D. 2007. The field’s devotion to management theory. Academy of Management Review, 50(6): 1346-1351.
22. Bettis, R.A., Ethiraj, S., Gambardella, A., Helfat, C. and Mitchell, W. 2016. Creating repeatable cumulative knowledge in strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 37(1): 257-261.
23. Douglas, H. 2009. Chapter 4 – The moral responsibilities of scientists. Science, policy, and the value-free ideal. University of Pittsburgh Press.
24. Tsui, A.S. 2016a. Reflections on the so-called value-free ideal: A call for responsible science in the business schools. Cross Cultural and Strategic Management Journal, 23(1): 4-28.
Please feel free to read other articles in the Guanghua syllabus to prepare your debates.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6
December 9 Debate 1 Debate 1 Readings 1&2 Readings 3&4 Readings 5&6 Reading 7&8
December 10 Readings 9&10 Readings 11&12 Debate 2 Debate 2 Readings 13&14 Readings 15&16
December 11 Readings 17&18 Readings 19&20 Readings 21&22 Readings 23&24 Debate 3 Debate 3

Appendix 2: Instructions for debate (in teams)

The pro team will make a 10-minute argument in favor of the given statement. The con team will make a 10-minute argument against the statement. Then, the Con team and the class can question the Pro team for 10 minutes, followed by questioning of the Con team by the Pro team and the class for 20 minutes. The class will take a 10-minute caucus while the two teams prepare a 5-minute closing statement to summarize their key arguments (taking into account the information emerged from the questioning period). Each debate team will put your basic arguments in writing and send to everyone by 9:30 pm the evening before the debate session.

Appendix 3: A visioning statement (individually)
The statement should consist of four main parts.
Part 1: From degree to now (1 to 2 PPT slides)
Please give a brief summary of your most important experiences since you started your academic career. What were your major accomplishments and challenges?
Part 2: Your research (1 to 2 PPT slides)
Reflect on how learning about the Philosophy of Management Research and teaching this course has changed how you approach research. What issues in the philosophy of social sciences were most meaningful or relevant for your research? What kind of epistemology and ontology underline the research that you have done, why? What were your major intellectual contributions? What were your most frustrating challenges? How has your research lived up to the idea of “good science” – reliable knowledge that contributes to a better society?
Part 3: Your teaching, service, and consulting (1 to 2 PPT slides)
How did you integrate your research into your teaching? Did you do any consulting or write any papers or books for managers? What are you known for in the management world? How do your students describe you as a teacher? What kind of professional services (e.g., association leadership, editing, etc.) did you engage in? How did you manage your time between research, teaching, consulting, and service? How did you manage your work-family demands?
Part 4: A portrait of you as a person (1-2 PPT slides)
What are you passions in life driving you to become the person you are in 2030? Who were the most important people that have influenced you? What would you like to be remembered for, personally and professionally?
Each person shares with the class the vision statement in 8-10 minutes. Each person has 5 minutes for feedback and discussion. Participants should honor the confidentiality of the vision statements. We are your friends to listen to your story, give you support and congratulate you on your successful life, as a scientist, a teacher, and as a person.