Design and Normative Claims in Organization Studies: A Methodological Proposal

  • Francesca Ricciardi
Part of the Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation book series (LNISO, volume 1)


This paper focuses on the pivotal role of Design Claims in scientific research. In fact, Design Claims link the adoption and/or use of a specific artifact (for example, a procedure, or a belief) to measurable and relevant effects. By doing so, Design Claims continuously spot gaps in theory, and then force to scientific advancements. This paper suggests that the dramatic lack of Design Claims (and consequently of Normative Claims) in Organization Studies not only results in lack of relevance, but also deprives our discipline of the beneficial epistemological interplay that should take place between design, normative and descriptive statements. This epistemological teamwork, where present, results in a “mirroring effect” that makes other fields of studies, such as Medicine, viable and relevant. Models and frameworks developed in Organization Studies, on the contrary, often result in epistemological dead ends: once emanated, their specific influence in the real world is rarely object of further specific interest. It is just as if Medicine scholars, after developing a theory on a certain health issue, were not interested in measuring how the adoption of that specific theory in the world of practice performed. Some methodological suggestions are then provided, to encourage a stronger presence of Design Claims in both qualitative and quantitative Organization Studies research.


Design claims Normative claims Artifact adoption Epistemological status of organization studies 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università Cattolica del S. CuoreMilanItaly

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