Management Research & Management Practice:  Is the Relevance Gap Closing? Prof Les Worrall Management Research Centre UWBS
Sources of management research income and funding to UK Business Schools
What are these market signals telling us? <ul><li>The private sector does not see the ‘value proposition’ of management re...
Problems with academic management research  <ul><li>Evidence that academic management research has had and continues to ha...
The fad/academic research dilemma <ul><li>While academic management research has a ‘utilisation problem’ fads do not – why...
Hambrick’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” analogy Hambrick (1993) – ‘we will find out that things might have worked out very well...
What are the problems with management research? <ul><li>Seen as problematic by ESRC </li></ul><ul><li>Heterogeneous and fr...
Problems with the social organisation of management research <ul><li>Business Schools – the cash cow at the forefront of c...
The effect of the RAE <ul><li>RAE has reified the traditional academic recognition system  </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing in...
The production and transfer of management knowledge <ul><li>Huge debates in the late 1990s about the need for new modes of...
Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (1) Applied and applicable research   Intervention research Production of new knowledge, theory...
Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (2) Simultaneous production and consumption: knowledge production and diffusion are interlinked...
Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (3) Simultaneous production and consumption: knowledge production and diffusion are interlinked...
Mode 1 and Mode 2 <ul><li>Mode 1 is ‘discipline based, university-centred, and dominated by highly trained individuals’; i...
What new modes of research organisation are needed? Laboratory based scientists Clinical practitioners Health care practit...
What new modes of research organisation are needed? Laboratory based scientists Clinical practitioners Health care practit...
What new modes of research organisation are needed? <ul><li>Starkey and Madan (2001) identified that significant instituti...
The rigour and relevance debate
A typology of research Mode 1 Mode 2
The Mode 1/Mode 2 debate <ul><li>It is not either Mode 1 or Mode 2 </li></ul><ul><li>We need a more symbiotic relationship...
A way forward? <ul><li>How can we achieve a better integration of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The scholarship of discovery (res...
Who will be the revelatory Clarence for management research? Will he ever arrive? Will there be a happy ending? Or will ac...
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Management Research & Management Practice

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Transcript of "Management Research & Management Practice"

  1. 1. Management Research & Management Practice: Is the Relevance Gap Closing? Prof Les Worrall Management Research Centre UWBS
  2. 2. Sources of management research income and funding to UK Business Schools
  3. 3. What are these market signals telling us? <ul><li>The private sector does not see the ‘value proposition’ of management research (in plain speak, do they think it’s useless?) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Easier to get’ public funding is displacing harder to get private sector funding </li></ul><ul><li>There are widening gaps between the (private sector) practitioner view and the (public sector) academic view </li></ul><ul><li>The public sector is more amenable to academic research </li></ul><ul><li>Central government exhortations to improve the transfer of knowledge from universities are just not working? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Problems with academic management research <ul><li>Evidence that academic management research has had and continues to have little effect on practice </li></ul><ul><li>Low face validity among potential users </li></ul><ul><li>A ‘utilisation problem’ </li></ul><ul><li>A ‘relevance gap’ </li></ul><ul><li>Management researchers and practitioners problematise management in different ways </li></ul><ul><li>The rigour-relevance “double hurdle” debate (Pettigrew) </li></ul>
  5. 5. The fad/academic research dilemma <ul><li>While academic management research has a ‘utilisation problem’ fads do not – why? </li></ul><ul><li>Even the most harmful of fads can (and do) run rampant </li></ul><ul><li>Are practitioners suckers for sophistry? </li></ul><ul><li>What mimetic properties do fads have that academic research does not possess? </li></ul><ul><li>Do managers lack the skills to differentiate sophistry from knowledge because of how they have been educated in business schools? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hambrick’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” analogy Hambrick (1993) – ‘we will find out that things might have worked out very well without us’ Where is our Clarence and our happy ending? How can we make more of a difference?
  7. 7. What are the problems with management research? <ul><li>Seen as problematic by ESRC </li></ul><ul><li>Heterogeneous and fragmented </li></ul><ul><li>Management not a discipline but a confluence of fields of enquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks scientific identity and has multiple ontologies and epistemolgies </li></ul><ul><li>2001 RAE over 1,500 journals cited in the B&M Unit of Assessment </li></ul>
  8. 8. Problems with the social organisation of management research <ul><li>Business Schools – the cash cow at the forefront of commodified education </li></ul><ul><li>Economics, psychology etc departments often transferred (unwillingly) into Business Schools </li></ul><ul><li>Tensions between teaching & research due to the intensification of academic work – more (and weaker) students, less funding per student </li></ul><ul><li>Academics’ research time and resources are being increasingly squeezed particularly in B&M </li></ul>
  9. 9. The effect of the RAE <ul><li>RAE has reified the traditional academic recognition system </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing in top journals is the ‘gold standard’ </li></ul><ul><li>But little applied management research will get published in the top journals </li></ul><ul><li>RAE emphasised transdisciplinarity but very little was produced </li></ul><ul><li>The RAE has distorted management research and it has swallowed up masses of academic time </li></ul>
  10. 10. The production and transfer of management knowledge <ul><li>Huge debates in the late 1990s about the need for new modes of management knowledge production and transfer (paradoxically, since then funding from the private sector has declined faster) </li></ul><ul><li>Became encapsulated in the Mode 1/Mode 2 debate </li></ul><ul><li>Debates about how to ‘bridge the gap’ between those who develop substantive theory and those who attempt to deploy it </li></ul><ul><li>The need for complementary ‘substantive theories’ (episteme) and ‘theories of action’ (techne) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (1) Applied and applicable research Intervention research Production of new knowledge, theory building, adding to the base of disciplinary knowledge, replicability, validity Aim Academics and practitioners Academics often within a prescribed discipline and often a much smaller sub-field of ‘experts’ Stakeholders and audience Transdisciplinary, permeable Often situationally specific Single discipline, impermeable, paradigmatic conformity Often a-contextual Research boundaries Mode 2 Mode 1 Aspect
  12. 12. Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (2) Simultaneous production and consumption: knowledge production and diffusion are interlinked and may be multi-modal Production precedes consumption May never be used to support practice Potential use does not influence research design Usage Transfer into practice, practitioner-oriented journals, dissemination often through professional bodies, multiple publics Peer reviewed journals controlled by other academics, well defined and institutionalised channels, single and limited public Dissemination Team based Externally defined research agenda Heterarchic, networked Often individualist Research agenda set autonomously Hierarchic Substantial commitment to extant bodies of knowledge Organisation Mode 2 Mode 1 Aspect
  13. 13. Mode 1 and Mode 2 compared (3) Simultaneous production and consumption: knowledge production and diffusion are interlinked and may be multi-modal Elitist, exclusive Orientation Validation in use Defined by the academic discipline Methodology Applicability, perceived usefulness by research users and contribution to practice by practitioners Validation through peer review and publication Validation through an authority structure Validation Pluralist, participatory Excellence as determined by peers, disciplinary norms and quality audits (e.g. the RAE) Evaluation criteria Mode 2 Mode 1 Aspect
  14. 14. Mode 1 and Mode 2 <ul><li>Mode 1 is ‘discipline based, university-centred, and dominated by highly trained individuals’; it is ‘primarily cognitive, carefully validated by peer review, and applied later, by others, if it is applied at all’. Huff (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Mode 2 leads to cultural change in host organisations as ‘managerial choices, endeavours and evaluations are progressively designed with increased scientific awareness’ </li></ul><ul><li>With Mode 2 'there is no better method to reduce misleading mimetic behaviour, blind compliance to gurus or fashion in management practice‘ ( Hatchuel, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Research organisation differs in some French and Swedish business schools with a stronger emphasis on transfer </li></ul>
  15. 15. What new modes of research organisation are needed? Laboratory based scientists Clinical practitioners Health care practitioners
  16. 16. What new modes of research organisation are needed? Laboratory based scientists Clinical practitioners Health care practitioners Management
  17. 17. What new modes of research organisation are needed? <ul><li>Starkey and Madan (2001) identified that significant institutional, structural and cultural changes are needed to engender Mode 2 involving: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The reform of business education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moving towards interdisciplinarity away from silos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restructuring academic institutions to improve knowledge exchange and dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating new cross-disciplinary, impact-focused journals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing new measures of ‘academic impact’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating academic/practitioner forums to facilitate the co-production of knowledge </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. The rigour and relevance debate
  19. 19. A typology of research Mode 1 Mode 2
  20. 20. The Mode 1/Mode 2 debate <ul><li>It is not either Mode 1 or Mode 2 </li></ul><ul><li>We need a more symbiotic relationship between Mode 1 and 2 </li></ul><ul><li>There are key issues to be resolved about the social organisation of management research </li></ul><ul><li>There a key questions to be resolved about academic recognition systems which rightly value rigour but under-value relevance and applicability </li></ul>
  21. 21. A way forward? <ul><li>How can we achieve a better integration of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The scholarship of discovery (research) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The scholarship of integration (synthesis) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The scholarship of practice (application) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The scholarship of teaching (pedagogy) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ the only alternative to any form of ideological absolutism lies in intellectual pluralism, which is likely to lead to both better research and to broadened usefulness’ (Ghoshal, 2005) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Who will be the revelatory Clarence for management research? Will he ever arrive? Will there be a happy ending? Or will academics become increasingly marginalised in the knowledge production business?
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