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Presenting Post Hoc Hypotheses as A Priori: Ethical and Theoretical Issues

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 February 2015

Kwok Leung*
City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Presenting post hoc hypotheses based on empirical findings as if they had been developed a priori seems common in management papers. The pure form of this practice is likely to breach research ethics and impede theoretical development by suppressing the falsification process. Two other forms may be more tolerable: deletion of rejected hypotheses and refinement of hypotheses inspired by empirical findings. To address this problem, the field should provide stronger recognition of replication, descriptive research, rejected and post hoc hypotheses, and critical tests of competing hypotheses. These positive changes require the concerted effort of researchers, management associations, and journal editors and reviewers.

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Copyright © International Association for Chinese Management Research 2011

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