Theoretical Contribution in Organisational Research: Opportunity and Paths



Theoretical contribution and theory development have been an enduring concern in organisational research. Dr. Zhang summarises the morphology of theories in natural science, and therefore develops a typology of different theory forms in mature disciplines. He then diagnoses the problems of existing theories in organisational research with this tool, and calls for changes in the paradigm and methodology of organisational research. Following a trajectory map of theoretical evolution, he suggests that the dynamic perspective from self-organisation theory should be combined with fundamental assumptions about human nature in organisational research to promote the prosperity of behavioural theories. Leadership and goal theories are exemplified for detailed discussion.

Dr. Kai Zhang is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Chair of Organisation and Human Resource Department at School of Business in Renmin University of China. He received his Ph.D. in educational psychology, and he had his undergraduate education in chemistry. He ever worked as a visiting scholar at University of Washington in USA and McMaster University in Canada. He was elected by Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University, P. R. China. His areas of expertise include complexity and behavioural dynamics, leadership theory, goal theory, and creative thinking. His papers were judged as the best conference papers twice in the Division of Organisational Behaviour of the Academy of Management in 2006 and 2010 respectively. He and his co-workers also won the Best Paper Award from the Administrative Science Association of Canada in 2009. He ever worked as Consultant at the Personnel Department of Beijing Organising Committee for the 29th Olympic Games in 2003 and 2004. Now, he acts as Representative-at-large for Mainland China of International Association of Chinese Management Research (IACMR).