Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Exploring Consensus on the Validity Status of Mintzberg’s Configuration Theory After a Negative Test
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article explores the degree of consensus on the validity status of Mintzberg’s configuration theory following a test in which the theory was refuted. The 218 articles that have cited the award-winning article by Doty, Glick, and Huber, and 89 articles and 12 books published by Mintzberg after the test, are reviewed. None of the reviewed articles contained any discussion about the implications for Mintzberg’s theory. It is then discussed whether the test was exhaustive and whether the lack of debate should be interpreted as tacit agreement with Doty et al. Normative aspects of a silent research community are also discussed. It is argued that it has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the test is exhaustive and that there are sociological explanations for the lack of debate other than “silence implies agreement.” Finally, it is argued that it would have been fruitful if the test had stirred debate.