Empowering institutions: A case for connecting business and the academe through Phronesis

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Arguably World War II had a fundamental and profound impact on the Western culture, practices and institutions. One central feature of this impact was the disillusionment with the capacity of social sciences to help policymakers improve society. The past 60 or so years have seen a major crisis of identity throughout the disciplines of social science. On one hand, positivism stood on the premise that the war was a result of irrational and pseudoscientific totalitarian social theories; on the other hand, post-modernist (and various other "postisms") raised doubts about the possibility of social science being something more than just another variation of totalitarian ideology. This polarization has seen animated polemic and methodological confrontation with seemingly no victors. As a result, social science as a whole lost its reputation as a credible source of knowledge for successful action. A strand of social science reformers in various disciplines are trying to build alternative definitions of what social science ought to constitute which would accommodate claims of both warring sides. However, persuasive as these integrative attempts may be, such ideas are having a hard time of becoming the mainstream of social science. By borrowing from institutionalist perspectives, this paper constructs an argument that the reason for the lack of relevance of social science in business and policy is not so much a methodological weakness of the science as it is the incompatibility of institutionalized interest between business and the academe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Security and Sustainability Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • Applied social research
  • Institutional inertia
  • Institutionalism
  • Phronetic social science
  • Positivism
  • Structure-agency problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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