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Press Release: Theory Building in Applied Disciplines by Richard Swanson & Thomas Chermack

Theory Building in Applied Disciplines

by Richard A. Swanson , Thomas J. Chermack

Theory Building in Applied Disciplines is a long-overdue book. Swanson and Chermack have made a truly significant contribution to the development of practice-based theories that will enrich applied disciplines.”
- Marshall Scott Poole , Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Theory matters in applied disciplines: management, social work, health care, human resource development, education, and many others. Because these disciplines deal with human beings in the real world, a flawed theory can result in actual harm to people and institutions.

When faced with a professional problem, practitioners resort to the latest fad or simply throw everything and anything at it because of the lack of sound theory. On the other hand, Scholars deal with problems by slicing them into small segments to study them but fail to address the practical implications. What’s needed is a way to unite research and practice to create robust theory.

This is exactly what Richard Swanson and Thomas Chermack offer here: a complete, five-step method for developing sound, field-tested theory in applied disciplines. Unlike many existing methods, which cover only the initial conceptualization of a theory, the authors offer a complete approach, from conceptualizing a theory to applying the theoretical concepts in the real world, and using that experience to further refine and improve the theory. The method is not restricted to any single discipline, nor is it beholden to any research ideology.

Swanson and Chermack provide a set of tools for each phase of the process, making this book accessible and applicable to a wide audience. And in addition to examples in each chapter, they offer two extended case examples of complete theory building. With flawed theories impeding the development of many applied disciplines, this book is desperately needed.

Richard A. Swanson is Professor Emeritus of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of fourteen books.

Thomas J. Chermack is Associate Professor of Organizational Performance and Change and Director of the Scenario Planning Institute at Colorado State University. He is the author of Scenario Planning in Organizations.

Publication date: August 2013, $39.95, paperback, 256 pages, 5 ½" x 8 ½"
ISBN 9781609947132 Business/Managing