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What’s behind a theory?

A hands-on workshop explores how to build interesting and impactful theory.

One of the fundamental purposes of academic research is developing and testing theories that can explain the world around us. But what makes a good theory? And are there any principles that can help us construct new theory?

Deakin Business School was consequently proud to host a two-day BUiLD workshop on Theory Construction that was facilitated by Prof Ajay Kohli, a leading international theorist in the marketing discipline.

Held on 17-18 August, 2017, the workshop was designed to help participants understand the nature of a theory, the theory construction process, and to develop skills in building interesting and impactful new theory.

On day one of the workshop, participants took part in an interactive lecture exploring the characteristics of impactful theories and the process of constructing theories. During day two, workshop participants took part in a hands-on exercise where they engaged in the theory construction process to help them appreciate the nature of theory construction, the difficulties involved, and ways of addressing these difficulties successfully.

“This session made me think about theory in a much more structured way,” said Alfred Deakin Professor Michael Polonsky.

“Prof Kohli is an engaging presenter,” said Ms Shadi Habibi, a PhD student in the Department of Marketing. “He has made me think about my PhD research in new ways.”

Prof Kohli, the workshop facilitator, is the former Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Marketing, the premier broad-based academic journal in marketing. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, Senior Editor of the International Journal of Research in Marketing, and sits on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Marketing. He is among the 100 most cited authors in the fields of Business and Economics, with two of his papers being among the ten most cited marketing articles in the past quarter century.

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