Developing Theory and Theoretical Contributions


1. To have a basic understanding of management and organizational theory; what theory is, and what its core components are.

2. To develop reflective skills in theory development; including basic argumentation and the formulation of propositions, construct clarity and persuasive writing.

3. To develop creative skills in developing theory through specific forms of reasoning such as conceptual blending and counter-factual reasoning.


Theory and theory development are seen as crucial to making meaningful academic contributions to bodies of knowledge in management and organizational research. Despite its prominence, the processes through which we theorize are often left implicit, and not typically discussed or taught in doctoral training programs. The course tries to address this very point; participants will through a series of exercises, practical assignments and readings be trained in ‘reading’ theory in journal articles, and will also develop skills in the development of theory as part of their own research.


Paper-based assignment.


Reading list.

Additional info

The timetable for the Group 1 (Autumn, not open for registration) of this course can be found here. The next run of this course will be in September/October 2021 (Thursday afternoons 13:00-17:45 on 9, 16, 23, 30 September and 7, 14, 21 October). Registration will be open in July 2021.

ERIM PhD candidates can register for this course via Osiris Student.

External (non-ERIM) participants are welcome to this course. To register, please fill in the registration form and e-mail it to the ERIM Doctoral Office by four weeks prior to the start of the course. For external participants, the course fee is 260 euro per 1 ECTS credit.

Please note that the number of places for this course is limited. In case the number of registrations exceeds the number of available seats, priority is given to ERIM PhD candidates.