Copyright © 2009 by Steven J. Spear. Click here for terms of use.

The term theory gets a bum rap among most managers because managers are practical people and theory normally is associated with the word theoretical, which has a connotation of impracticality. However, a good theory is consummately practical because a well-researched theory is a contingent statement of what causes what and why. The law of gravity, for example, actually is a theory. It is extremely useful because it allows us to predict in advance, without having to collect experimental data, that if we step off a cliff, we will fall. Good theories allow us to predict the result of an action accurately.

Even though most managers do not think of themselves as being theory-driven, ...

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