Despite the sheer number of books published these days, the publication of a single book that changes the way a society confronts an issue or thinks about an entire topic remains a very rare occurrence. One such rarity was Thomas S. Kuhn’s 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As Ian Hacking observed in his introduction to the fourth edition, “Thomas Kuhn was out to change our understanding of the sciences—that is, of the activities that have enabled our species, for better or worse, to dominate the planet. He succeeded”.[i] Perhaps the most pervasive of the several influences that Structure has had is the way in which it re-defined the common understanding of the word “paradigm”. Prior to Structure, “paradigm” was used mainly in relation to grammar, where it described the base (or root word) of a set of forms that contained variations of this root. Today, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model; a world view underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject”.[ii] It is due to Structure that this contemporary definition exists.
Given the nature of this post-Structure definition, it is unsurprising that the word “paradigm” has become commonplace. In Hacking’s words: “Nowadays, paradigm, along with its companion paradigm shift, is embarrassingly everywhere. When Kuhn wrote, few people had ever encountered it. Soon, it became trendy…Today, it is pretty hard to escape the damn word”.[iii] Unsurprisingly, therefore, use of the word “paradigm” has become commonplace in discussion of strategy. However, those employing it have seldom defined or elaborated upon it. This omission is more significant that it may at first appear. At risk of oversimplifying for the sake of making a point, because a paradigm (as the word is understood today) establishes the common framework for understanding a problem and for developing solutions to it, the employment by a strategist of one particular paradigm instead of another can ultimately mean the difference between victory and defeat.
It was encouraging, therefore, to see Justin Kelly’s article “On Paradigms”, which elaborated on the subject, featured in an earlier edition of this journal.[iv] On closer scrutiny, however, it is apparent that Kelly’s article conflates “paradigm” with “theory”, an unfortunate result being that its discussion becomes muddled and in the process it misses several of the nuances of a “paradigm” as Kuhn construed it. This conflation is understandable: as Margaret Masterman later highlighted, Kuhn uses the word “paradigm” in no less than 21 different ways within Structure.[v] Kuhn himself, in a postscript first included in the second edition, asserted that “the paradigm as shared example is the central element of what I now take to be the most novel and least understood aspect of this book”.[vi] This author, too, has previously attempted to tackle Kuhn’s concept of paradigm in the military context, albeit through a discussion of limited scope.[vii]
Together, Kelly’s article along with my own prior research, have convinced me that Kuhn’s definition of a “paradigm” and its applicability to strategy needs to be further explored. This article conducts that exploration, providing an overview of Kuhn’s seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and the concept of “paradigm” that emerged from it. Subsequently the article considers how this applies to strategy. It then concludes by addressing the implications for strategists.
As its title suggests, Kuhn’s book set out to explain The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This “structure”, which culminates in the revolutions that Kuhn was interested in explaining, consists of the following sequence of events: (1) normal science, characterised by “puzzle-solving” within the confines of a paradigm; (2) the appearance of a significant anomaly; (3) crisis; and (4) revolution. In explaining this sequence of events, Kuhn challenged what had previously been the orthodox version of the history of the natural sciences, which postulated that science progressed in a linear fashion from one idea or discovery to another, with each building on those that had come before it.
Kuhn rejected this version of the history of science and asserted instead that scientific progression had lurched forward through a series of crises and revolutions, punctuated by (sometimes lengthy) periods characterised by little change at all. It is these periods of little change that Kuhn labelled “normal science”, asserting that the majority of scientists conducted the majority of their research during such periods:
“[N]ormal science” means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for further practise. Today such achievements are recounted, though seldom in their original form, by science textbooks, elementary and advanced. … Before such books became popular…many of the famous classics of science fulfilled a similar function. … [These texts] shared two essential characteristics. Their achievement was sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing models of scientific activity. Simultaneously, it was sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.[viii]
This type of problem resolving Kuhn subsequently referred to as “puzzle solving”. He also explained, in his first usage of the word “paradigm”, that “[a]chievements that share these two characteristics I shall henceforth refer to as ‘paradigms’, a term that relates closely to ‘normal science’”.[ix] Paradigms, as defined at this juncture in Kuhn’s text, are considered to be an overarching set of common beliefs that underlies a particular approach to the conduct of scientific research.
Although normal science often encounters phenomena that it cannot explain, such problems are usually dismissed as “mere curiosities” and are often “just put aside”.[x] Eventually, however, normal science will encounter a particularly pervasive problem—or sometimes a series of related problems—that it not only cannot explain, but that is also so significant that it cannot be easily dismissed. Kuhn referred to such a problem as an “anomaly”, and asserted that the discovery of an anomaly often leads to a “crisis”. During a crisis normal science and its puzzle solving activities break down, as “scientists take a different attitude toward existing paradigms, and the nature of their research changes accordingly”.[xi]
Such a crisis precipitates a “revolution”, the core idea explored within Structure. As a result of a revolution, a crisis is resolved through the discovery and promulgation of a new paradigm that is capable of solving puzzles that the previous paradigm could not. A new period of normal science ensues, wherein the new paradigm means that an entirely new array of puzzles now exists to be solved. Kuhn famously also referred to this process as both a “paradigm change” and a “paradigm shift”, observing that “[w]hen the transition is complete, the profession will have changed its view of the field, its methods, and its goals”.[xii]
Kuhn on Paradigms
In light of the above summary of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, one could be forgiven for thinking that Kuhn’s construction of a “paradigm” was fairly straightforward. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite his upfront definition of the term, Kuhn then proceeded to use it in a variety of ways within Structure—21, according to Masterman—and this obfuscation has (understandably) crept into subsequent literature.
To resolve this confusion it is useful to turn to Kuhn’s subsequent writings on the topic, beginning with the postscript to the second edition of Structure. It is here that Kuhn asserts that many of the uses of the word identified by Masterman were due to “stylistic inconsistencies” that “can be eliminated with relative ease”.[xiii] Once this elimination has occurred, however, two major uses of the tem remain. As Kuhn explains:
[I]n much of the book the term “paradigm” is used in two different senses. On the one hand, it stands for the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques and so on shared by the members of a given community. On the other, it denotes one sort of element in that constellation, the concrete puzzle solutions which, employed as models or examples, can replace explicit rules as a basis for the solution of the remaining puzzles of normal science.[xiv]
The first of these major uses of the word “paradigm” is the one defined in the preceding section of this paper. Kuhn at this juncture refers to this as the “global” use of the word and explains that in this sense it describes a “disciplinary matrix”. Asserting the existence of numerous elements within this matrix, which together constitute a paradigm, he singles out four prominent elements for further examination: symbolic generalisations; shared commitments to certain beliefs; shared values; and shared examples.[xv] This last element Kuhn refers to as an “exemplar”, a term that he offers as a more suitable alternative to describe his second major use of the term “paradigm” in the original text of Structure—what he also refers to as the “local” use of the term.[xvi]
This second major use of the term “paradigm”—as descriptive of a shared example—is the usage that Kuhn considers with the benefit of hindsight to be most problematic, and he thus clarifies this usage in both the postscript to Structure and in another paper entitled “Second Thoughts on Paradigms”. In a nutshell, this use of the word paradigm refers to an exemplary example that can be employed by a scientific community as a means of conveying, or perhaps symbolising, the shared commitments (or common set of rules or beliefs) of that community.[xvii]
Here another problem arises regarding the scale of scientific communities. While the examples Kuhn gives in Structure start off on a grand scale—he cites the major works of likes of Copernicus, Newton and Aristotle—he progressively narrows down his definition to the point where he asserts that a scientific community may consist “of perhaps one hundred members, occasionally significantly fewer”.[xviii] It is from this part of Kuhn’s discussion that the perception has arisen that a paradigm and a theory are synonymous. For Kuhn, however, a theory only constitutes a paradigm if it establishes a framework for further problem solving within the scientific community that subscribes to it.
Paradigms, the Social Sciences and Incommensurability
Before progressing to an examination of paradigms in strategy, two remaining conceptual issues need to be addressed. The first regards the applicability or otherwise of the term “paradigm”—both its global and local uses—within the social sciences. This issue arises because of Kuhn’s role as a philosopher and historian of the natural sciences. These two disciplines serve different purposes and employ different methodologies. Because strategy, understood herein to be the linking of strategic ways and military means to achieve political or policy ends, sits within the social rather than the natural sciences, there is a need to determine whether or not Kuhn’s conception of “paradigms” is actually applicable to strategy.
Again the starting point for resolution of this issue is Kuhn himself, this time in a short paper published well after Structure. Here Kuhn argued that paradigms do exist within the social sciences (which he calls the “human sciences”), however they function differently. This is because while the physical sciences seek to discover laws, the social sciences seek to understand behaviour. In Structure, Kuhn hypothesised that puzzle solving within a paradigm constitutes normal science, which is where the majority of scientists work. A crisis is the exception in the natural sciences, and a revolution may not even be recognised until well after the paradigm has changed. In the social sciences, however, the aim is to identify and challenge the paradigm, to propose a better means of understanding and by doing so to change the paradigm.[xix] As a result—and Kuhn admitted that this hypothesis was untested—there may be no equivalent to normal science and puzzle solving within the social sciences. (This hypothesis did not, however, rule out the existence of paradigms themselves).
Masterman offered an alternate possibility in her own study of paradigms. Asserting the existence of “multiple paradigm sciences…in which, far from there being no paradigm, there are on the contrary too many”, she stated that “[t]his is the present overall situation in the psychological, social and information sciences”. In the social sciences this state of affairs results in each paradigm covering a narrower area of research than in the natural sciences, however normal science and problem solving nevertheless exist. This situation increases progress on puzzle solving and results in an increased rate of local paradigm change, but also in a slower rate of change to global paradigms over the longer term.[xx] As will be shown in the next section, Masterman’s hypothesis appears to be accurate in the case of strategy.
The second issue that needs to be addressed before examining paradigms within strategy concerns what Kuhn referred to as “incommensurability”. This is one of the most important aspects of Structure, although many of those subsequently seeking to apply Kuhn’s conceptualisation of a paradigm have overlooked it. In a nutshell, Kuhn asserted that a core characteristic of paradigms is that they are irreconcilable with one another, as each sees the world in a different and often conflicting way. (This does not mean that one is right and the other wrong; rather, it simply means that each understands reality differently).[xxi] In subsequent writings he elaborated on this point, asserting that “incommensurable…does not mean ‘incomparable’”. Analogising paradigms to different languages he explained that that people may speak more than one language, that languages are translatable into other languages, that they may have certain elements in common, but that two languages cannot communicate directly.[xxii] The next section will show that in the case of strategy the incommensurability of paradigms functions in this manner, and that the incommensurability of their respective paradigms underlies some of the prominent debates between strategists.
Paradigms in Strategy
This paper has thus far explored Kuhn’s work on “paradigms” to enable a greater appreciation of the nuances of the term. This section discusses how paradigms apply within the field of strategy. The above exploration having consumed most of the available space (a justifiable measure given its importance), this section is by necessity brief and should be considered an overview rather than a panacea.
Turning first to global paradigms, an initial observation is that the very definition of “strategy” constitutes a paradigm. Strategy is the linking of strategic ways and military means to achieve political or policy ends. Or is it? In fact, this understanding of the word “strategy” has evolved slowly over time from antiquity to the present, and for much of history the contemporary meanings of the words “strategy”, “operations”, “tactics” and “military instructions” have been muddled and interchangeable.[xxiii] The “anomaly” and “crisis” that led to the separation of these definitions and terms was the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century and their unprecedented scale in particular. It was in their wake that Clausewitz declared that war is “a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means”.[xxiv] This set the scene for today’s generally accepted understanding of the term strategy to take hold more-or-less by the end of the 19th century.
So encompassing is this paradigm today that any paper seeking to address strategy must comply with this understanding of the term. Otherwise by default it is discussing something other than strategy. This global paradigm therefore corresponds to what Kuhn called “the most global community of all natural scientists”. Here, the paradigm is so broad that it does not readily present major empirical problems. These emerge at lower levels, with the next down from the most global community being that of “the main scientific professional groups”.[xxv] The equivalent to these groups within the field of strategy is the major types of strategist. From the divisions that exist within many of the major textbooks on strategy, one may deduce that these types include (at a minimum) maritime strategists, land power strategists, air power strategists and nuclear strategists. To these older and more established communities may potentially be added the more recent and numerically smaller communities of space power strategists and electronic warfare (or dare one say it, cyber) strategists.[xxvi] Each of these “communities” of strategists has its own global paradigms and its own accompanying views of reality.
Within each community there are, of course, sub-communities, sub-sub-communities and so on, each with their own paradigms. For example, within the community of land power strategists a major division presently exists between advocates of conventional warfare and advocates of unconventional or “small wars”.[xxvii] While working towards a common goal of determining the best way to prepare for and prosecute land warfare, members of these sub-communities nevertheless adhere to incommensurable paradigms, a factor that explains the intensity of the animosity between them. Ultimately, according to Kuhn’s definition of incommensurability, neither of these communities’ views of reality is “right” nor “wrong”, despite what members of each community regularly say about one another. Both communities simply see the world differently and both are as theoretically valid as each other. What is important is therefore not which paradigm is “right” per se, but which is more useful for the conduct of strategic planning for the future. The cases made by members of either community may well be stronger if they developed more fully this aspect of their respective perceptions of reality, in preference to directly attacking and attempting to undermine one another’s arguments.
Once one has delved sufficiently into the constituent elements of each sub-community, local paradigms begin to reveal themselves. Although space constraints prevent a detailed analysis from occurring here, some examples of local paradigms include the battleship, aircraft carrier and submarine schools in maritime strategy, the city bombing, military targeting and leadership decapitation schools in air power strategy, and the offensive and defensive schools in land power strategy. Debate between proponents of some of these paradigms continues to rage while in other cases it does not (allowing for multiple paradigms to coexist and each address their own set of internal problems, as Masterman hypothesised). Other paradigms have through process of crisis and revolution been discarded, most often because of either the failure of practise to live up to the expectations of theory (as in the case of conventional city bombing), or because technological advances have precipitated a “paradigm shift” (as in the case of the shift in dominance from battleships to aircraft carriers during the Second World War).
So far this description of paradigms in strategy has been linear and hierarchical, with a global community of strategists divided into major communities and those into sub-communities, etc., each with their own global or local paradigms (or both). It will come as no surprise to most strategists, however, that the situation is actually not this simple. Some ideas seem to transcend the communities and paradigms previously discussed. For example, Beatrice Heuser determined that older communities have influenced more recent ones, leading in one case to the air power and nuclear strategy communities’ “adapting primarily the [maritime] concepts of blockade, deterrence and the ‘fleet in being’”.[xxviii] In this case, the concepts are not paradigms; rather, variants of them are applicable within different paradigms. Each variant fits within each paradigm’s unique world view and is formed accordingly to suit that view, in the same way that the English language has adapted certain parts of French to suit its speakers’ own linguistic purposes.[xxix]
Heuser also asserted the existence of what she called “the Napoleonic paradigm”, which emphasises the centrality of decisive battle, the concentration of forces against key enemy weaknesses (what Clausewitz called the “centre of gravity”) and the pursuit of total (rather than limited) victory over an opponent as an end in itself. Importantly, Heuser has argued convincingly that this paradigm dominated the global community of strategists from the mid 19th century until at least the end of the First World War. Just as importantly, she has noted that multiple challenges to this paradigm have emerged since the end of the Second World War.[xxx] This may indicate that a major (i.e. global) paradigm shift is underway, and possibly has been for the last 70 years![xxxi]
It is also possible in light of Kuhn’s writings in and after Structure to determine that not all military theories are paradigms. In fact the opposite is true: most of the “popular” strategic theories at any point in time are not actually paradigms at all. Instead they are shaped by the beliefs and values that underlie the paradigm to which their proponents subscribe. For example, the Revolution in Military Affairs, Network Centric Warfare, the Effects Based Approach to Operations and AirSea Battle are all manifestations of what could be labelled the “technological solution” paradigm, which (as the label used here implies) advocates that the application of new technology is the best means to solve strategic problems.[xxxii] This is another example of a paradigm that appears to transcend the aforementioned strategic communities. Yet on closer examination it can be seen that over time it has developed its own community of adherents who have brought with them background knowledge from the other communities (and who resultantly speak two languages, to continue Kuhn’s analogy).
Conceptually, what ties all of these paradigms together is that they are either (in the case of local paradigms) the exemplars that Kuhn ultimately preferred to label them, or (in the case of global paradigms) they constitute a disciplinary matrix. To fit within this matrix, global paradigms are at once symbolic generalisations, shared commitments to certain beliefs, shared values and shared examples. The words beliefs and values in particular underlie one final and very important point that needs to be made, which is that the existence of some paradigms is not necessarily consciously realised by those adhering to them. Recent observations about the difference between “design” and the “military planning process” have brought one of these previously unacknowledged paradigms to the fore: that most strategic (and for that matter military) planning is based on a positivist world-view.[xxxiii] Although this article is not the forum for debate about this observation, it is nevertheless pertinent to note that paradigms in strategy, as elsewhere, may operate without their adherents realising that this is the case.
Ultimately the employment of paradigms by strategists is not an option, as paradigms contain the world-views that dictate how they react to the environment and events around them. Strategist therefore cannot develop strategy without employing some kind of paradigm when doing so. Although paradigms may be (and often are) subconsciously applied by strategists acting in accordance with their beliefs, values, intuition or the like, developing an explicit knowledge of the paradigms they are applying allows strategists to better answer such questions as “is this strategy the best available?” and “what assumptions have I made in developing this strategy?”
Developing an explicit understanding the nuances of paradigms, and subsequently applying this understanding during the development of strategy, therefore provides strategists with a very powerful tool to assist in ensuring that ways and means are best suited to the desired end. The debate that has unfolded within the US military establishment over the last decade or so about whether conventional or unconventional (specifically counterinsurgency) ways and means are better for prosecuting war in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan is an example of a debate between adherents of different paradigms. As far as paradigms are concerned, however, this debate has not yet entered the realm of explicit consideration. A move to explicit consideration of these competing paradigms may well reveal new and hitherto unrealised aspects of each paradigm, in the same way that the aforementioned critique of traditional military planning as positivist in nature emerged through the conduct of analysis using previously underemployed mechanisms such as philosophy and systems theory.
The operation of paradigms within strategy is both more subtle and more complicated than has been previously acknowledged. Perhaps most importantly, it is worth remembering that theories are not necessarily tantamount to paradigms, yet they are where the majority of analysis seems to be focused. In modern military bureaucracies, a great deal of jostling by various interest groups (particularly where the push for funding is concerned) often leads to the rebadging of old theories and their presentation as new, when in fact they sit neatly within an established paradigm, sometimes even one whose prior theoretical and conceptual manifestations have been thoroughly discredited. In particular, many of the theories developed within the technological solution paradigm identified above tend to follow this pattern.
The development of a more detailed and explicit knowledge of paradigms—especially global paradigms—may therefore offer new insights that allow for the evaluation of theory from a fresh and, importantly, an intellectually coherent perspective. As the employment (either consciously or otherwise) by a strategist of one particular paradigm instead of another can ultimately mean the difference between victory and defeat, a better understanding of the operation of paradigms will help maximise the chances of strategists’ developing sound paradigms before the employment of military means, rather than in the wake of defeat as is so often and tragically the case.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are the author’s own and are not necessarily those of the Australian Defence Organisation or any part thereof.
[i] Ian Hacking, “Introduction”, in: Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th ed., Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012, p. viii.
[ii] Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 1275.
[iii] Original emphasis. Hacking, “Introduction”, p. xix.
[iv] Justin Kelly, “On Paradigms”, Infinity Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Summer 2011), pp. 11-13.
[v] Margaret Masterman, “The Nature of a Paradigm” in: Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave, Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 61-65.
[vi] Kuhn, Structure, p. 186.
[vii] This scope was limited to military doctrine. Aaron P. Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine: Change and Continuity in Understanding the Practice of Warfare (Fort Leavenworth: US Army Combat Studies Institute, 2013), pp. 87-90.
[viii] Kuhn, Structure, pp. 10-11.
[ix] Kuhn, Structure, p. 11.
[x] Hacking, “Introduction”, p. xxvi.
[xi] Kuhn, Structure, p. 91.
[xii] Kuhn, Structure, p. 85.
[xiii] Kuhn, Structure, p. 181.
[xiv] Kuhn, Structure, p. 174.
[xv] Kuhn, Structure, pp. 181-186. See also: Thomas S. Kuhn, The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1977), pp. 293-301.
[xvi] Kuhn, Structure, p. 186.
[xvii] Kuhn, Structure, pp. 186-190; Hacking, “Introduction”, pp. xvii-xxv. Kuhn’s “Second Thoughts on Paradigms” is located in: Kuhn, The Essential Tension, pp. 293-319.
[xviii] Kuhn, Structure, p. 11, pp. 176-177.
[xix] Thomas S. Kuhn, “The Natural and the Human Sciences” in: David R. Hiley, James F. Bohman & Richard Shusterman, eds., The Interpretive Turn: Philosophy, Science, Culture (Ithica & London: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 17-24.
[xx] Original emphasis. Masterman, “The Nature of a Paradigm”, p. 74.
[xxi] Kuhn, Structure, pp. 147-149.
[xxii] Kuhn, “Reflections on My Critics” in: Lakatos & Musgrave, Criticism, pp. 267-270.
[xxiii] Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 3-9.
[xxiv] Carl von Clausewitz, On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard & Peter Paret (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 87.
[xxv] In the natural sciences these professional groups include physicists, chemists, biologists, etc. Kuhn, Structure, pp. 176-177.
[xxvi] The division of strategists into these types has been made following an analysis of the division of the content of several texts that discuss the evolution of strategy. Even those sources consulted that proceed chronologically tend to include separate chapters or sections dedicated to the evolution of strategic thought within each of the major communities identified here. For example, see: Peter Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986); Azar Gat, A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Heuser, Evolution of Strategy; Elinor C. Sloan, Modern Military Strategy: An Introduction (London and New York: Rutledge, 2012); J. Boon Bartholomees, Jr., ed., US Army War College Guide to National Security Issues: Volume I: Theory of War and Strategy (Carlisle: US Army War College, June 2012). The division between these communities is also evident between (and within) each of the Services. Carl H. Builder, The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis (Baltimore MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1989).
[xxvii] It must be noted that numerous terms are used by members of each of these sub-communities to describe themselves and their competing paradigms. For a summary of the debate between them, see: Mark N. Popov, “COIN or Conventional? Resolving the Small Army Conundrum”, Canadian Army Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn 2012), pp. 95-107.
[xxviii] Heuser, Evolution of Strategy, pp. 503-504.
[xxix] This example is thus comparable to the linguistic analogy Kuhn used when discussing incommensurability between paradigms and serves as evidence that incommensurability operates in this manner within the field of strategy.
[xxx] Heuser, Evolution of Strategy, parts III & VIII.
[xxxi] Perhaps this is what Masterman meant when she observed that multiple paradigm sciences exhibit a slower rate of long term change to their global paradigms.
[xxxii] On the history of this paradigm and the various exemplars that it has encapsulated, see: Antoine Bousquet, The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity (London: Hurst and Co., 2009).
[xxxiii] Positivism advocates a methodology in which the subjects of study should be observed from a neutral viewpoint, with the results of observation being subsequently assessed in a rational and objective manner to allow the researcher to determine the universal laws governing the relationships between them. This methodology is generally reductionist, linear and relies on predictable cause-and-effect relationships. Phil Johnson & Joanne Duberley, Understanding Management Research: An Introduction to Epistemology (London: Sage Publications, 2000), pp. 11-37.