Speak the Language of the Universe

Peter Rosbjerg(CC BY-ND 2.0)

Even if you’re not mathematically inclined, it is difficult to not feel inspired by Galileo’s famous statement that “mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe”—and according to an article in Organizational Research Methods (ORM), this piece of wisdom is more relevant to your work as an organizational scholar than you might realize.

Jeffrey B. Vancouver and Justin M. Weinhardt, both of Ohio University, published “Modeling the Mind and the Milieu: Computational Modeling for Micro-Level Organizational Researchers” on July 9, 2012 in ORM. To see more OnlineFirst aticles, click here. The authors argue that computational models—which are “algorithmic descriptions of process details…typically operationalized as computer programs”—are an advantageous tool not taken seriously enough in organizational research:

Unfortunately, we argue that this relative absence of computational modeling has undermined the quality of theory in the organizational sciences. In particular, organizational scholars often develop verbal dynamic theories, but there is little discussion of how the dynamic relationships play out over time. Moreover, there is a growing body of research showing that even well-educated individuals are poor at understanding the effects of dynamic processes without external aids (e.g., Cronin, Gonzalez, & Sterman, 2009; Hintzman, 1990). In contrast, computational models force scholars to operationalize the underlying assumptions of their theories (Lewandowsky & Farrell, 2011). This can highlight unrecognized problems or advance understanding.

Read the complete article here. To learn more about Organizational Research Methods, please follow this link.

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