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When do Theories Become Self-fulfilling? Exploring The Boundary Conditions of Performativity

Marti, E. and Gond, J-P. (2017). When do Theories Become Self-fulfilling? Exploring The Boundary Conditions of Performativity. Academy of Management Review, doi: 10.5465/amr.2016.0071

Abstract

Management researchers increasingly realize that some theories do not merely describe, but also shape social reality; a phenomenon known as "performativity." However, when theories become performative or even self-fulfilling is still poorly understood. Taking this gap in the research as our starting point, we develop a process model to show that new theories will only become self-fulfilling (1) if they motivate experimentation, (2) if experimentation produces anomalies, and (3) if these anomalies lead to a practice shift. On that basis, we identify six boundary conditions that determine whether theories will shape social reality. To illustrate our argument, we explore the conditions under which theories that postulate a positive link between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance may become self-fulfilling.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Anomalies, boundary conditions, corporate social performance (CSP), experimentation, performativity, socially responsible investing (SRI)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/17819
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