Metatheories in Management Studies: Reflections Upon Individualism, Holism and Systemism

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearch


Three metatheoretical positions, known as individualism, holism, and systemism, are salient in management research programs. The world views of individualism and holism in particular are a matter of controversy between social scientists, leading to serious shortcomings in the prevailing research programs. As we argue in this paper, neither view is adequate. A cogent alternative to both is systemism, which integrates the valuable insights of individualism and holism without their drawbacks. The paper illustrates the specific implications of each of these world views for knowledge management research.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)49-69
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2007
Externally publishedYes