Inductive top-down theorizing: A source of new theories of organization

Dean Shepherd, Kathleen Sutcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Building on coherence theory and a pragmatist tradition, we offer an inductive model of top-down theorizing that can be a source of new theories of organization. We explain how an initial hypothesis is refined to enhance its potential contribution (consistent with abduction). But, unlike abduction, we explain how inquiry begins-how research tensions are carved out of the flux of the vast literature-and how constant comparison facilitates an abductive process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-380
Number of pages20
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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