Approaches to Testing Theories of Organization Design
Among conventional approaches to testing theories of organization design is the pilot plant study, a field approximation to the laboratory investigation. Problems of ethics are raised by the experimental manipulation of people in continuing role relationships that have significance for their self-definitions. Small-group studies or more abstract investigations of mathematical models of theoretical conscruccs provide variables. Computer simulation provides a vehicle for assessing the dynamic implications of relatively large systems of theoretical constructs. Translating a verbal formulation into the more precise language of a computer model enables the theorist to pre-test experimental manipulations, introduce a broader range of variables than ordinarily feasible in laboratory studies, and run numerous replications in order to acquire evidence concerning the extended outcomes that follow logically from the hypothesized processes of his formal system. (Author).
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