Intervention as a research strategy

October 2019 | Oliva, Rogelio

The Journal of Operations Management (JOM) has made design science central to its development strategy, creating a department to incubate papers using this methodology. An inaugural editorial published in 2016 called for papers with a generic design supported by a design proposition that provides pragmatic guidelines to bridge the gap between the case specific and the universal. In this article, I propose ways in which the scope of interventions can be expanded beyond the editorial’s proposal to foster theoretical developments and better align with JOM’s mission. I propose that, rather than focus on the design propositions, we explore the role that interventions (the ultimate manifestation of design science) can play in testing and developing theory (the ultimate goal of an academic endeavor). Taking as a point of departure the principles of action research and the explanatory framework of process theories, I propose two modes of research for leveraging interventions as a mechanism for testing existing theory and develop theories about organizational and system transformation. I illustrate the application of these two frameworks in the context of a previously published article.



Journal of Operations Management, 65(7):710-724.

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