In Praise of the Mystery House

Image: Winchester Mystery House by Cullen328, via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Image: Winchester Mystery House by Cullen328, via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

[Ed note: This is the fourth of six articles in a virtual panel on Who should benefit from organizational research?]

by Paul Hirsch

I agree with my colleagues’ statements and would just add the following.

It seems clear to me that research on organizations, especially by sociologists, does not have as a goal aiding managers in running their organizations.  Indeed, many of the articles published in Administrative Science Quarterly, which Jerry edits, do not seem to have that in mind either.  Of equal interest, of course is what role do organizations play in society, how do they treat their employees and consumers, how do they and their leaders come to achieve the power they exert, and what kinds of values and ethics do they encourage and transmit?  It is true the field may look like the Winchester Mystery House –  but considering the alternative proposed in the article we are commenting on (i.e. to do managers jobs for them better), I prefer we continue with the variety of topics, and multiple pillars and points of view found in our own academic version of that mansion.

Paul Hirsch is the James L. Allen Professor of Strategy & Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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