Semantic Apparatus – Untangling Infinite Regress and the Origins of Capability

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Regress Thyself to the Mean. I don't usually write about well… | by G  Gordon Worley III | Map and Territory

Abstract by Niklas L. Hallberg, Teppo Felin

We argue that strategic management in general—and capability theory in particular—suffers from problems of infinite regress that can be traced to an unsatisfactory specification of initial conditions. We argue, first, that this has led to an overemphasis on path dependence, experience, and history, without sufficient attention on initial conditions: more proximate, decision-oriented punctuation points that can be used for better theoretical explanation. Second, we show how the initial conditions of theories are often not distinctively different from what is being explained, which prevents theory from providing credible specifications of causal mechanisms. Third, we highlight how the regress problem has led to a relatively casual borrowing of concepts from neighboring disciplines, which has created a mismatch between the aims of management theory and relevance to practice. We suggest research heuristics for how to deal with infinite regress problems, in order to develop more rigorous and relevant theories of capability and strategic management.

Publication: Western Academy Of Western Management/Sage Publications (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: October 23, 2017 Doi: (Research Article)

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