Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Balancing relevance and excellence: Organizational responses to link research with decision making


Author Info

  • Frenk, Julio
Registered author(s):


    Research faces the challenge of balancing relevance to decision making and excellence in the strict adherence to the norms of scientific inquiry. This paper examines the organizational responses that can be undertaken to promote integration of these potentially conflicting goals. We posit that there seem to be structural barriers to effective communication between researchers and decision makers, such as differences in priorities, time management, language, means of communication, integration of findings and definition of the final product of research. These barriers must be overcome through solutions aimed at the organization of research. In this respect, there are three possible models to approach the tension between excellence and relevance: academic subordination, segregation and integration. Only the latter makes it possible to reconcile the advantages of proximity to decision making with the procedures to assure academic quality. In addition to organizational design and institutional development, a strategy to promote research must include a set of incentives to prevent the 'internal brain drain', that is, the tendency of researchers to move to managerial positions. There are four guiding principles to address this problem: parallel careers, academic autonomy, administrative sacrifice and inverted incentives. The complexities of health problems demand that we create new organizational formulas to finally balance relevance and excellence in research.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 35 (1992)
    Issue (Month): 11 (December)
    Pages: 1397-1404

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:35:y:1992:i:11:p:1397-1404

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Order Information:

    Related research

    Keywords: health research organizational design brain drain public policy;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Walsh, Julia & Simonet, Maryse, 1995. "Data analysis needs for health sector reform," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 295-306.
    2. Landry, Rejean & Amara, Nabil & Lamari, Moktar, 2001. "Utilization of social science research knowledge in Canada," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 333-349, February.
    3. Brousselle, Astrid & Champagne, Fran├žois, 2011. "Program theory evaluation: Logic analysis," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 69-78, February.
    4. John, Peabody & Tauiwalo, Mario & Robalino, David & Frenk, Julio, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Care in Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 12252, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jansen, Maria W.J. & De Vries, Nanne K. & Kok, Gerjo & Van Oers, Hans A.M., 2008. "Collaboration between practice, policy and research in local public health in the Netherlands," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(2-3), pages 295-307, May.
    6. Tran, Nhan T. & Hyder, Adnan A. & Kulanthayan, Subramaniam & Singh, Suret & Umar, R.S. Radin, 2009. "Engaging policy makers in road safety research in Malaysia: A theoretical and contextual analysis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 58-65, April.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:35:y:1992:i:11:p:1397-1404. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.