Lakatos revisited: Innovation and ‘Novel facts’ as a foundational logic for the social sciences in an era of ‘Post-truth’ and pseudoscience
: In what seems to be a “post-truth” era this paper argues that management theory development is necessary to provide insights into how to manage the academic research, or discovery system, itself, as it no longer seems clear that its explicit purpose, as per Lakatos’s argument, is the development of theory that predicts “novel facts.” This logic questions the extent to which the social science research system is inherently innovative. To explore these issues, the topic of pseudoscience is used as a heuristic, in order to derive an understanding of how the purpose of the discovery system seems to be understood by different stakeholders. In doing so, this paper explores how researchers may need to manage their research fields to negotiate contested academic terrain and develop what Lakatos refers to as progressive research programmes. It is argued that hypervigilance and overly conservative gatekeeping in response to threats of pseudoscience can run deep in the structure of academic engagement, contributing to a paradigm of constrained innovation. Drawing from post-normal science theory, a conceptual framework is identified for how these problems might be addressed by a focus on the development of scalability in the research process itself, without compromising rigor.
Management theory development, innovation management, knowledge management, innovativeness, pseudoscience, Lakatos
Chris William Callaghan | (2019) Lakatos revisited: Innovation and ‘Novel facts’ as a foundational logic for the social sciences in an era of ‘Post-truth’ and pseudoscience, Cogent Business & Management, 6:1, 1672489