Should knowledge of management be organized as theories or as methods?

In Robert Trappl (ed.), Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal. Austrian Society for Cybernetics Studies. pp. 2--492 (2002)
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The philosophy of science has traditionally assumed that knowledge should be organized in the form of theories. From theories propositions can be deduced that can be tested in experiments. Most propositions deduced from theories take the form of if-then statements. For example, if variable A increases, what happens to variable B, assuming that all other variables are held constant? However, an alternative way of organizing knowledge, in the form of producer-product relationships, was proposed by the philosopher E.A. Singer, Jr. and advocated by two of his students, C. West Churchman and Russell L. Ackoff. Whether to structure knowledge in the form of theories or methods is related to the question of whether there is a fundamental difference between the natural and the social sciences. As opposed to Karl Popper’s doctrine of the unity of method, this paper argues that structuring knowledge in the form of methods is appropriate in applied fields, particularly in management where a large part of the task is to achieve agreement among a group of knowing subjects on an appropriate set of actions.
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