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Good Theories Fit In With Empirical Data

We conclude that in order to identify productivity-optimal management practices, we need a theory of information flow and processing in organizations. Our fundamental challenge in creating such a theory is that the basic unit of economic and social organizations is a human being, whose functioning is forbiddingly complex. Thus, in order to keep the working framework manageable, we must pick a limited number of aspects out of the inifinite complexity of human behavior. How, then, should one choose among the different possibilities? We propose to identify aspects of behavior which are a)well-supported by the empirical data; b)coincide with the scientific intuition, and c)ultimately lead to useful managerial advice. The first two requirements correspond to strong links between theory and observation in the following diagram:

In summary, a scientist should form theoretical hypotheses that explain and are strongly motivated by the empirical data on communication networks.

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