Analyzing Complex Organizational Arguments with Logical Model Building

Part of the FGF Studies in Small Business and Entrepreneurship book series (FGFS)


This chapter demonstrates the application of a qualitative formal method, logical formalization, to organization and management theory. Organizational arguments are usually phrased out in some natural language in the first place. After separating the premises (facts, definitions) of a natural language argument from its conclusions (predictions), this preprocessed text is translated into a logical language. Then, experimentation can begin if the logical formulae standing for the verbal premises imply the putative conclusions as formal theorems. If not, what kind of modifications can make these outcomes follow? What other theorems are implied from the same argument core? A substantial advantage of using symbolic logic over many branches of applied mathematics is that logical models can quite closely map the intended meaning of assertive sentences, while the deduction of conclusions can proceed with the rigor of mathematical proofs. The examples highlight how different logical languages, different dialects, can be used to the idiosyncrasies of the subject. The proof and the translation process from natural language statements to logical models are supported by user-friendly theorem-prover softwares. The appliers of the method need not be logic experts; what they need are analytical skills, sharp eyes at formula evaluation, and some stamina. The promise of using symbolic logic is combining the flexibility of qualitative reasoning with exactness in drawing conclusions from complex arguments. The chapter is to show how and in which extent logical formalization can fulfill this promise.


Deductive reasoning Logical model Organization science 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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