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Reflections on Epistemic-Ontological Alignment in Theorizing Process: the Case of RBV

Abstract

Although from a philosophical perspective, many reflections can be brought up about the theorizing process, in this essay, we aim to reflect on the importance of the alignment between ontology and epistemology. This is particularly relevant because deeper discussions about the philosophical roots that underlay the theorizing processes remain as a lack in organizational and management studies. To support our work, we adopted the epistemic-ontological alignment model as a conceptual tool and the Resource-Based View (RBV) and some of its questionings as an example to carry out a reflection exercise about its epistemic-ontological alignment. RBV is a theory that plays a prominent role in management studies, especially in the strategy field. Nevertheless, discussions regarding RBV philosophical foundations are not common in the mainstream of strategic management. After our analysis, we advise that scholars care about the philosophical roots of their theoretical proposals to promote constructive dialogue in their research communities. This can avoid empty discussions and criticisms based on incongruous worldviews. Our reflections also suggest that future research should embrace the plurality of paradigms as a source of renewal and transcendence in the production of knowledge. A multi-paradigmatic movement towards more eclecticism in Administrative Science can help produce new and underexploited combinations of knowledge in the theorizing process.

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da Costa Júnior, J.C., da Silva Nascimento, L., de Barros Jerônimo, T. et al. Reflections on Epistemic-Ontological Alignment in Theorizing Process: the Case of RBV. Philosophy of Management (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40926-021-00181-1

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Keywords

  • Epistemology
  • Ontology
  • Theory building
  • Resource-based theory
  • Strategic management