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[Review] Max Alvesson, Yiannis Gabriel, Roland Paulsen (2017) Return to Meaning: A social science with something to say
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 12:21 authored by Dennis TourishDennis Tourish
Concern about the quality and purpose of research in the social sciences is widespread. David Courpasson (2013), in a parting editorial in Organization Studies, bemoaned ‘the lack of political and social relevance of much research conducted in the field’ (p.?1244). Rather, he argued that a culture of productivity had become dominant in which publishing for its own sake was more important than what he called ‘passionate scholarship’. More recently, the Open Science Collaboration (2015) replicated 100 studies in psychology. Although 97% of the original papers reported statistically significant results, these could only be obtained in 36% of the replications. Effect sizes were also much lower. Some responses to this have been unconvincing. Stroebe and Hewstone (2015) stressed that statistical power in many of the original studies was probably low, and argued that this could be the main reason for the failure to replicate their results. But surely this suggests that the papers should have been framed more cautiously in the first place. Retractions of publications for many reasons – plagiarism, mistakes in data analysis, self-plagiarism and outright fraud – are also on the rise, including within management and organization studies. These retractions are now documented, sometimes gleefully, on the website http://retractionwatch.com. If all this falls short of a crisis, it is at least a thunderstorm in the distance that could yet overwhelm us. It is the background noise to the book here under review. Why do we do what we do, and does it have any real value?
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