Management Research & Emperor’s New Clothes…


As an aspirant to a Doctoral degree in Management, I have been reading Working Papers across a broad spectrum of research in Organization Design, Org Behavior, Strategy, Operations, Decision & Sense Making in Teams as well as Customer behavior in complex product usage.

What surprises me is the number of papers that get published in converting common sense into statistically proven models riddled with disclaimers. I wonder if this is what is required to be called a ‘Scholar’. Or does this type of research happen because we have people with little or no experience trying to analyze organization issues and problems through the lens of a research pedagogy. To give you an example, I recently saw a paper that after a lot of statistical analysis confirms a fact that any manager with a couple of years of experience will tell you – That ’ People become more involved in Problem Solving when managers communicate more regularly and that ‘ People tend to report issues more often when there is a legal risk associated.’

The other issue I often is the tendency that leadership and management researchers often show – The tendency of building etymological models & semantics for leading and managing without an operating focus on the implementation. There is tons of research that is being done unaligned to any practical purpose.. Unlike pure sciences or fine arts, management is an ‘application oriented discipline’. The Managerial Body of Knowledge doesn’t operate in a vacuum without the gusts and winds of a dynamic environment. Every Managerial Unknown is often a factor of multiple known as well as unknown factors.. In that sense, Managerial research is more about discovery and innovation than it is about Invention.. So why do so many researches invest humungous time and effort in research that tends to shrink into models and then label it with so many disclaimers that the model barely stands on its feet.

What concerns me is that we are spending lots of research funds in management related research that is of very little consequence and squandering away valuable talent in pursuit of ‘non-problems’.

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~ by exploreamaze on October 5, 2009.

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