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Advocacy and Objectivity in Science


  • JS Armstrong

    (The Wharton School)


Three strategies for scientific research in management are examined: advocacy, induction, and multiple hypotheses. Advocacy of a single dominant hypothesis is efficient, but biased. Induction is not biased, but it is inefficient. The multiple hypotheses strategy seems to be both efficient and unbiased. Despite its apparent lack of objectivity, most management scientists use advocacy. For example, 2/3 of the papers published in a sampling of issues of Management Science (1955-1976) used advocacy. A review of the published empirical evidence indicates that advocacy reduces tire objectivity of the scientists. No evidence was found to suggest that this lack of objectivity could be overcome by a 'marketplace for ideas' (i.e., publication for peer review). It is recommended that tire method of multiple hypotheses be used.

Suggested Citation

  • JS Armstrong, 2005. "Advocacy and Objectivity in Science," General Economics and Teaching 0502060, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0502060
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ian I. Mitroff, 1972. "The Myth of Objectivity OR Why Science Needs a New Psychology of Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(10), pages 613-618, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. JS Armstrong, 2005. "Barriers to Scientific Contributions: The Author’s Formula," General Economics and Teaching 0502057, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Armstrong, J. Scott & Lusk, Edward J., 1987. "Return Postage in Mail Surveys: A Meta Analysis," MPRA Paper 81693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. JS Armstrong & Edward J. Lusk, 2005. "Return Postage in Mail Surveys: A Meta Analysis," General Economics and Teaching 0502041, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. JS Armstrong, 2004. "Strategies for Implementing Change: An Experiential Approach," General Economics and Teaching 0412026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Woodside, Arch G. & Sharma, Manish, 2017. "Case-based modeling of prolific liars and constant truth-tellers: Who are the dishonesty and honesty self-reporters?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 142-153.
    6. JS Armstrong, 2005. "The Importance of Objectivity and Falsification in Management Science," General Economics and Teaching 0502055, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. JS Armstrong, 2005. "Research on Scientific Journals: Implications for Editors and Authors," General Economics and Teaching 0502059, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    advocacy; objectivity; science; publication;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching

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