Epistemological and Management Research Problem

1851 Words May 26th, 2015 8 Pages
In what ways does the choice of an epistemological perspective or stance influence the formulation of a management research problem?

Epistemology is all about knowledge. It is defined by Bonjour (2002) as “the philosophical study of knowledge; its nature, its requirements and its limitations”. Knowledge is about what you know. How you know what you know is dependent on your perceptions, your views, your reasoning and the reality of it. The first time I came across the question “what is knowledge?” it virtually looks like a simple question that I could easily provide an answer to but in the real sense of it, I realized I was dealing with a complex question which requires a difficult answer. Knowledge is vast but the reality of it is
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All these fall under different categories of; Intuitive knowledge, Authoritarian knowledge, Logical knowledge and Empirical knowledge as identified by epistemologists (Tee, 2004). The source of knowledge is very important because if there is any form of skepticism about the validity of the product of knowledge, one may take to the origin or source of the knowledge. This does not mean that certain sources of knowledge are unreliable. In fact, a single study or research work can employ the use of all the sources of knowledge but this depends on the researcher. Therefore, for a management research problem to be formulated, the chosen epistemological perspective has a great part to play because the identification of the problem and the definition of the problem have to be linked to the knowledge expected to yield them. As illustrated by Easterby –Smith, Thorpe& Jackson (2012), of all the various features of a project or a research work, epistemology is one of those that are “progressively less visible” but provides alongside with ontology and methodology the decisions and assumptions that the method and techniques of the projects depend on.

Epistemology presents two approaches to a research problem. The first is the positivism approach which as explained by Easterby –Smith, Thorpe& Jackson (2012) carries the assumption that there is a reality which exists independently of the

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