theory theo‧ry [ˈθɪəri ǁ ˈθiːəri] noun theories PLURALFORM
1. [countable] an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain why something happens or how it works:
theory of

• The book is called "An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change".

• The theory is that a healthy employee is cheaper and more productive.

2. [uncountable] the general principles or ideas of a subject:

• They found that theory and practice are two different things (= things do not always happen according to the theory ) .

ˈcontent ˌtheory HUMAN RESOURCES
[uncountable] a theory that tries to explain employees' behaviour
ˌeconomic ˈtheory ECONOMICS
1. [uncountable] all the different ways of explaining and understanding economics:

• One lesson from economic theory is that high-saving economies grow quickly.

2. [countable] a particular way of explaining economics or an economic activity:

• an economic theory known as `optimal planning'

ˌElliott ˈwave ˌtheory [singular] ECONOMICS
the idea that prices on the stockmarkets go up and down over time in a regular way, like a series of waves. People who believe in this theory think it can be used to see how stockmarket prices will change in the future and to say when particular shares will reach their highest and lowest price
emˈployment ˌtheory [uncountable]
ECONOMICS the part of economics concerned with the level and type of employment in an economy, what causes it to change etc
ˈgame ˌtheory [uncountable] STATISTICS
a method of guessing how the activities of competing organizations could affect your own company. It involves imagining what other companies will do and calculating the economic results of these actions:

• Game theory is different from other forms of theorizing because it recognizes that the outcome of a transaction often depends on what other people are doing.

ˈmonetary ˌtheory [uncountable] ECONOMICS
ideas about how monetary systems operate, what effect monetary policies have etc:

• In simple monetary theory, the growth in the money supply equals the growth in the economy plus the rate of inflation.

ˈprice ˌtheory
[uncountable] ECONOMICS the study of how prices are set and how they go up and down in relation to changing supply, demand etc
ˈqueuing ˌtheory also queueing theory [uncountable] STATISTICS
ideas to do with the way in which people wait in line for goods and services, used for example by service organizations to make the best use of employees so that customers do not wait for longer than necessary — see also Cost of Production Theory of Value

* * *

theory UK US /ˈθɪəri/ noun (plural theories)
[C or U] a formal statement of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event, or how something works: »

He has four theories to explain organizational change and development.

economic/political theory »

Economic theory says that there is little connection between the euro's value against the dollar or the yen and the success of monetary union itself.

a theory of sth »

In this article the authors develop a theory of high-performing organizations.

[C or U] a formal statement of the rules or principles on which an activity or a subject of study is based: management/organization theory »

This case study has important implications for management theory


the theory and practice of running a department

[C] a statement of an opinion or an explanation of an idea that is believed to be true, but might be wrong: »

The theory is that staff react better to praise than to criticism.


People will buy the product if you put it in the right place - well, that's the theory anyway.

in theory — Cf. in theory
See also CONTENT THEORY(Cf. ↑content theory), ECONOMIC THEORY(Cf. ↑economic theory), EXPECTANCY THEORY(Cf. ↑expectancy theory), ELLIOTT WAVE THEORY(Cf. ↑Elliott wave theory), EMPLOYMENT THEORY(Cf. ↑employment theory), GAME THEORY(Cf. ↑game theory), HERZBERG'S TWO-FACTOR THEORY(Cf. ↑Herzberg's two-factor theory), MONETARY THEORY(Cf. ↑monetary theory), ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY(Cf. ↑organizational theory), PRICE THEORY(Cf. ↑price theory), QUEUING THEORY(Cf. ↑queuing theory)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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