Paradigms Lost: Incommensurability vs Structurationist Inquiry

Gary R. Weaver, Dennis A. Gioia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Although some organizational scholars invoke the alleged incommensurability of metatheoretical paradigms in order to legitimize a plurality of approaches to the field, others have called for cross- or multi-paradigm inquiry into organizations while yet maintaining the essential incommensurability of paradigms. As long as the incommensurability thesis itself is maintained, however, calls for cross- or multi-paradigm inquiry are compromised, and legitimate goals of theoretical and metatheoretical diversity are poorly served. The problem is not with such calls for broader but still diverse perspectives, but with the incommensurability thesis to which they infelicitously are tied. Giddens' structurationist metatheory pro vides a means to honour both calls for a broader, more unified perspective and demands for metatheoretical and theoretical pluralism, without resorting to the self-stultifying incommensurability thesis. A structurational analysis enables us to give up the idea of impermeable and imperialistic paradigms, while yet main taining distinctive perspectives within organizational inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-589
Number of pages25
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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