I did some additional investigation after reviewing this week’s course materials. I agree with the following description of a theory.
“According to Rychlak (1968), at the most liberal definitional level,
A theory may be thought of as a series of two or more constructions (abstractions), which have been hypothesized, assumed, or even factually demonstrated to bear a certain relationship, one with the other. A theoretical proposition, which defines the relationship between constructions (now termed “variables”), becomes a fact when that proposition is no longer contested by those individuals best informed on the nature of the theory, and dedicated to study in the area of knowledge for which the theory has relevance. Theories vary in their levels of abstraction, objectivity-subjectivity, realism-idealism, perspective, and formality-informality. (p. 42)” (Gelso, 2006).
Gelso (2006) continues by explaing that a theory is made up of the following ingredients.
“Descriptive ability: Fully describes the phenomena being theorized about.
Explanatory power: Clarifies the “why” of things—what causes what.
Heuristic value: Generates scientific research.
Testability: Contains propositions that can be tested and disconfirmed through research.
Integration: Organizes ideas into coherent and logically consistent picture.
Parsimony: Includes only the constructs and ideas that are necessary to explain the phenomena in the theory. No excess baggage.
Clarity: States its ideas clearly, explicitly, and precisely.
Comprehensiveness: Thoroughly specifies the relationships within its domain.
Delimitation: Contains clear boundaries as to what is included and studied”.
Real life situations are complex. Applying a theory to a real life situation can help to distinguish the various components involved. Dissecting the situation can bring clarity to what the fundamental factors are.
Theory can inform the actual practice of management. For example, I find Theory Y very useful. One of my past managers was a Theory Y manager. He approached each team member as a partner and he gave each of us the room to experiment and to be inventive. Team members were fully engaged and made personal investments in what they were doing by putting in extra effort to see their projects through. The manager was always available to coach us with encouraging words. I felt like a valued contributor and enjoyed my work.