Middle range theories of social systems

  • Weick K
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Abstract

Argues that several analytical biases provide false positive evidence supporting systems theory. False positives are likely when nouns exceed verbs in theoretical language, the analogy of thermostats is used indiscriminately, phenomenology of causation is ignored, need-specific interdependencies are neglected, organizational routines are mistaken for feedback systems, and when a more coarse-grained analysis is done of effects than of origins. Awareness of biases favoring false positives should result in interdependence being treated as a variable rather than a constant and to specification of conditions under which systems theory does and does not apply. With these changes, social systems theory would become a discrete confirmed theory that applies to limited ranges of data, consolidates segregated hypotheses, and is itself available for consolidation with other apparently discrete theories. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Systems Analysis
  • Theory Formulation
  • analytical biases, middle range social systems the

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Authors

  • Karl E Weick

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