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Theory Building in Management Research

Course code
Course type
Doctoral Program Lecture
Weekly Hours
FS 2024
Prof. Dr. Nadine Kammerlander
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.
Most doctoral students in family business and entrepeneurship research are confronted with the need to build theory already early in their “PhD career.” No matter, whether the focus of the PhD project is on conceptual development, qualitative case work, or quantitative empirical analyses – almost all international management conferences and journals require a “substantial theoretical contribution” to consider an article as publishable. In this PhD course, we will cover questions such as: What is (or: is not) a theoretical development? How to build theory in a conceptual, case-based, or theory testing (empirical) paper? What are frameworks or “recipes” to come up with sound arguments that (positively) pass the reviewers’ desks?
Date Time
Wednesday, 28.08.2024 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday, 29.08.2024 09:00 - 17:00
Friday, 30.08.2024 09:00 - 17:00
By the end of the course the PhD students will have gained skills and knowledge in (a) precisely defining constructs, (b) linking various constructs through causal relationships and processes, (c) deriving new or extending extant theoretical models based on those relationships. While the focus of this course is on theory building based on extant literature (as necessary for conceptual as well as empirical papers), insights from this course will also be applicable to theory building from cases.
The PhD course will be delivered using a mixture of lecture-based and interactive teaching methods, including group assignments and feedback to PhD candidates on their own theory building.
  • 30% review of theory building in published paper (teamwork)
  • 40% presentation own theory building (individual work)
  • 30% classroom participation
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