Sub-Plenary 2-5

The Imperfections and Beauty of Theory

When:  Friday, July 8, 2022, 16:00–17:30 CEST
Where: LC.0.100 Festsaal 1 ---> WU interactive campus map

The Platonic ideals of Goodness, Truth and Beauty have guided philosophical thought for centuries. In organization theory, a crude adaptation might equate the quest for truth with rigor and the quest for goodness with relevance, but what space does that leave for beauty?
We envisage this sub-plenary session to tackle various aspects of beauty and perfection as they relate to our theories and forms of theorizing.

  • If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what constitutes “beautiful” theory? Is beauty even a relevant category for theorizing?

  • Are there trade-offs between truth, goodness, and beauty in terms of creating “perfect” theories?

  • And, if so, what does perfection entail; an ever-increasing abstraction or a rich and detailed narration of organizational life as it is lived and experienced?

  • How can we make room for more diverse theories and forms of theorizing?

  • Do dominant understandings of truth, goodness, and beauty prevent certain forms of knowledge from being considered, and certain forms of theorizing from being published?

  • And, finally, how do our understandings of article formats and conceptions of good writing affect what we consider as beautiful forms of theorizing; can a theoretical product be judged as separate from such practices, or do such form-related aspects determine the perceived quality of the theorizing as a whole?


Ruth V. Aguilera

Northeastern University, USA


Joep P. Cornelissen

Erasmus University, The Netherlands


Santi Furnari

Bayes Business School,
United Kingdom


Maja Korica

Associate Professor
Warwick Business School,
United Kingdom


Sherry Thatcher

Professor & Editor-in-Chief of AMR
University of South Carolina,