Five potentials of critical realism in management and organization studies

Dennis Jim Frederiksen*, Louise Brøns Kringelum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
403 Downloads (Pure)


There is a lack of research explicitly demonstrating the potential of applying critical realism in qualitative empirical Management and Organization Studies (MOS). If scholars are to obtain the explanatory value that can be developed through detailed applications of critical realism, the existing gap between the philosophical foundation, methodological recipes and hands-on practices of applied critical realism must be bridged. Through a literature review and analysis of existing applications of critical realism in MOS studies, this paper presents five particular potentials of applying critical realism. The five potentials each address significant aspects of critical realism that, when explicitly applied in a research process, can contribute to the understanding of management and organizations. Following the analysis, we discuss what characterizes a detailed application and how this can add to the future of critical realism in MOS studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)18-38
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2021


  • Critical realism
  • management
  • qualitative
  • organization
  • review
  • case study


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