Training Programs

2018 Philosophy of Management Research Teacher Training Workshop-Schedule and Syllabus

Preliminary Syllabus and Schedule

(For information, content may change)

Philosophy of Management Research Teacher Training Workshop

December 13– December 17, 2018

Tongji University, Shanghai, China

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 Philosophy of Management Research course is to introduce doctoral students to the nature of scientific work in organizations and management. It focuses on a few of the key issues related to philosophy of science and principles of scientific research. These issues play a pivotal role in guiding researchers’ understanding and explanation of important phenomena in our natural and social world. Understanding these issues will help participants gain clarity on the role of scientific research in advancing the practice of management, which plays an important role in linking insights from business research and the advancement of humanity. Failing to have a proper understanding of the role of science or of the scientist can impede scientific work, undermine knowledge creation and accumulation, and stall scientific discoveries. The primary purpose of this course is to develop a new generation of social scientists for business schools.

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 empirical research publications in English language 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 require all participants to stay at the designated hotel near Tongji University, including those who live in Shanghai. 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. 3rd edition. 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. Tsui, et al., (2018). Responsible Research in Management: Philosophy and Practice (Chinese). Peking University Press.

Selected Articles (See Appendix 1)


Most of the reading materials are in English except the book by Tsui, et al. (2018) which is in Chinese. However, most of the chapters are translations from original English article. Participants who prefer to read them in English may download them from their university libraries. If they are not available, they may request them from the TA of the course.

The class discussion will be primarily in English but Chinese may be used as necessary or preferred.

Workshop Assignments

The participants will be put into six teams of three 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 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, they should write two questions related to the ideas in the chapter or article that they would like the class to discuss. It should be no more than 500 words and no more than one page, single-spaced. Participants should send the summary to everyone by 9:30 pm the evening before the class session. Everyone should read the summaries before class. During 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 assignment and summary instruction.
  2. There will be three class debates. Each team will participate in one debate. The two teams will 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 20 years. Imagine that it is now December 2038. 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. You are now in a reunion of your December 2018 workshop when you learned to teach the Philosophy of Management Research course. You are sharing your life of the past 20 years with each other. Please see Appendix 3 for detailed instructions on this “visioning statement”.

Schedule Overview

Detailed 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 on a single page) in support and another statement in opposition (one single page) of the position presented in 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-page statements. Please send the statements for each debate to by the due date indicated below:

  1. Debate 1: Sept 15, 2018
  2. Debate 2: October 15, 2018
  3. Debate 3: November 15, 2018

December 13, Thursday: 

Orientation 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 (teams 1 and 2) and write article summaries and discussion questions (teams 3 to 6, 2 readings per team)

December 14, 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 (teams 1 and 2)

4:30-5:30 pm   Discussion of teaching issues

6-7 pm             Dinner 7-9 pm

Prepare debate 2 (teams 3 and 4); write summaries of 8 articles by teams 1, 2, 5 and 6 (2 readings 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 15, 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 (teams 5 and 6); write summaries of 8 articles by teams 1 to 4 (2   reading per 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 16, Sunday: 

Management Scholarship and Values in Science Progress and great theories in management, current status, epistemic and social values in science 8 chapters from Tsui, et al (2018)

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 avoided 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 17,Monday: 

A life in Science and Society, Visioning Career, roles and duties of a management professor/scholar, vision of future 15 years

9 am-12 noon  Participants present visioning statement

12-1:30 pm      Lunch

1:30-3  pm       Discussion of course syllabus and teaching issues

3-4 pm             Community formation and continuing support/networking

4 pm                Workshop conclusion

Appendix 1: Reading assignments for summaries and discussion leadership

Day 2, December 14, Friday

  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

Day 3, December 15, Saturday

  1. Kuhn, Chapter 2 & 3 – The route of normal science Kuhn; The nature of normal science
  2. Kuhn, Chapter 4 & 5 – Normal science as problem solving; The priority of paradigms
  3. Kuhn, Chapter 6 & 7 – Anomaly and emergence of scientific discoveries; Crisis and …
  4. Kuhn, Chapter 8 & 9 – Response to crisis; Nature and necessity of scientific revolution
  5. Kuhn, Chapter 10 – Revolution as change of world view
  6. Kuhn, Chapter 11 – The invisibility of revolution
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Day 4, December 16, Sunday

  1. Zhong & Jin, 2018. Introduction to values in management research.
  2. Ghoshal, S. 2005. Why bad management theories are driving out good management practices.Academy of Management Learning & Education. 4(1): 75-91.
  3. Hambrick, D. 2007. The field’s devotion to management theory.Academy of Management Review, 50(6): 1346-1351.
  4. Merton, R., 1973. The moral structure of science.
  5. Douglas, H. 2014. The moral terrain of science.
  6. 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.
  7. Li & Jia, 2018. Voice of editors of leading journals on credibility.
  8. Responsible research in business and management, 2018 (download from

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) – December 17, 2018, Monday

The statement is a reflection back on your career 20 years from now (2038). You are at a re-union of the participants of this course. Your Management Insight article about you just came out. Each person is invited to share his or her life as summarized in this MI article. Each of you will have 8-10 minutes to tell your story. You do not have to cover all the point in the story (or the questions in the instructions below), just share the most meaningful ones for you. Then, your fellow participants may ask you some questions (5 minutes). 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.

Part 1:  Overview of your career before Dec 2018 (1 PPT slide)

Please give a brief summary of your most important experiences since you started your academic career till Dec 2018. What were your major accomplishments and challenges during those years?

Part 2: Your research (1-2 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 to date? 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 (1-2 PPT slides)

How did you approach your teaching of research to your students (this course or other courses)? How did the PMR course affect your approach to education in general? Did it affect your approach to consulting or writing of papers or books for managers? What ideas 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 PPT slides)

What are you passions in life driving you to become the person you are in 2030? What would you like to be remembered for, personally and professionally?