Theories of Psychology: Evolving Towards Greater Effectiveness or Wandering, Lost in the Jungle, Without a Guide?
Steven E. Wallis, Ph.D., Alumnus, School of Human & Organizational Development (2006)
Is the field of psychology truly advancing toward significant improvements in theory and practice? The present (preliminary) study uses Propositional Analysis in a cliometric metatheoretical analysis to analyze a set of highly cited theories of motivation over a span of about 90 years. Comparing those results with theories which have progressed through a paradigmatic revolution, it seems that the study of motivation is not advancing. Instead, there appears to be a trend toward simpler theories - perhaps due to the "false prophet" of parsimony. The call is made for theories of greater complexity that will lead to deeper understanding, more collaboration, and more rapid advancement of the field.