Multiparadigm perspectives on theory building

Dennis A. Gioia, Evelyn Pitre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

799 Scopus citations


Traditional approaches to theory building are not entirely consistent with the assumptions of alternative research paradigms that are nowassuming more prominence in organizational study. We argue for a multiparadigm approach to theory building as a means of establishing correspondence between paradigms and theory-construction efforts. Because of the implications of the multiparadigm approach, we also examine ways of bridging across blurred paradigm boundaries. In addition, we explore a metaparadigm perspective that might allow disparate approaches to theory building to be considered together. Such a perspective can produce views of organizational phenomena that not only allow scholars to recognize inherent and irreconcilable theoretical differences, but also can encourage them to adopt a more comprehensive view by accounting for those differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-602
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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