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Epistemological perspective

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The epistemological perspective tells us how to understand the nature of the world (Easterby-Smith,
Thorpe & Jackson, 2012). It proposes two ways of conducting research i.e. positivism and social
constructionism. Positivism argues that research should be carried out through objective measures
rather than through reflection or intuition. But the social constructionism approach disagrees, in that it
believes that reality is not objective rather socially constructed and can only be understood through
people. Social constructionism focuses on the shared experiences and feelings of people. It argues
that issues can have different meanings, interpretations and solutions depending on peoples�

understandings and beliefs.

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Reply 2
The research approach chosen to complete a study to a great extent determines the
outcome of the research. This essay effectively differentiates between positivism and social
constructionism as provided under the epistemological perspective. It clearly outlines the
characteristics of each approach and the probable results likely to be obtained.

Based on this essay, it is possible to understand the epistemological perspective and
how the use of positivism and social constructionism can influence the study outcome.
Easterby-Smith and Jackson (2014) call for researchers to effectively understand the nature of
research to ensure that the method chosen can yield expected results. The writer achieves this
effectively, having established the type of approach to take in conducting research.

The writer and I have a similar preference for social constructionism, which promises
to obtain valuable information by not restricting responses to objective measures. As noted by
Granero-Molina, et al (2014), positivism is too rigid and it limits research possibilities by
restricting information. The objectivity in positivism limits consideration of intuitions and
differences in understanding, meanings interpretations and reflections that often characterize
social research (Cruickshank, 2011). This could affect the outcome of social research, which
is more likely to yield information that is varied and unique depending on the participants’
characteristics and the nature of the research (Moore, 2013; Moon & Blackman, 2014).

It makes great sense to choose social constructionism in answering the question on
rewards and how they are linked to performance. This is because where researches related to
management outcomes are concerned, there is no definite response and the possibilities may
differ significantly depending on the organization’s culture and environment. Easterby-Smith,
Thorpe and Jackson (2014) note that human understanding of issues varies depending on the
individual and their surroundings. Accordingly, one respondents’ views cannot be

Reply 3
generalized. It therefore becomes difficult to use positivism which postulates that there is a
single explanation to phenomena.

In conclusion, a researcher should be open-minded when conducting management
research to ensure that information gathered provides valuable insights on the subject under
study. This can only be achieved through the use of social constructionism.

Reference List

Reply 4
Cruickshank, J. (2011), Positioning positivism, critical realism and social constructionism in

the health sciences: a philosophical orientation, Nursing Inquiry, 19 (1), pp. 71-82

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