Building theory about theory building: What constitutes a theoretical contribution?

Kevin Corley, Dennis Gioia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

563 Scopus citations


We distill existing literature on theoretical contribution into two dimensions, originality (incremental or revelatory) and utility (scientific or practical). We argue for a revision in the way scholars approach the utility dimension by calling for a view of theorizing that would enable theories with more "scope" (both scientific and practical utility). We also argue for an orientation toward "prescience" as a way of achieving scope and fulfilling our scholarly role of facilitating organizational and societal adaptiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-32
Number of pages21
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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