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Limitations of the Scientific Method in Management Science



The scientists who have suggested improvements of the techniques of managerial analysis and decision making through the application of the "scientific method" have called attention to a worthwhile and important goal. Their proposals are bound to initiate a process of self-analysis and re-appraisal of the current methodical foundations of managerial policies. But the challenge in itself--even if made in a very determined manner--is no proof of its correctness and adequacy though this seems to be the opinion of some of the challengers. In order to arrive at a final conclusion it is essential to determine whether the scientific method is as applicable and valuable in the managerial field as it has proven to be in the physical sciences. The basic assumptions and procedures of the scientific method must be examined as a prerequisite for such a determination. No comprehensive analysis of such a broad problem is possible within the scope of this paper. The presentation will have to be restricted to a few characteristic examples to indicate the fundamental trends. Much more work will have to be done as a preliminary for reaching results which may be widely accepted. The principal purpose is to encourage such work.

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