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Between Rigour and Relevance: Co-Existing Institutional Logics in the Field of Management Science


  • Alfred Kieser

    () (Mannheim University)


The paper builds on recent approaches in institutional theory on the co-existence of logics to analyse how field actors handle competing institutional demands in their practices. Business schools’ reactions to the critique that their research is not sufficiently relevant is analysed empirically. The logic of research in professional schools has been suggested as an alternative logic which is supposed to produce more relevant research than is possible under the logic that nowadays dominates management science in business schools: the logic of basic research. A contribution is made to institutional theory by showing how these two logics, even though competing, co-exist on the field level. The results of this exploratory study indicate that management scholars contribute to the co-existence of competing logics by separating the social spheres associated with a particular logic from each other, and by symbolically referring to a conflicting demand. The analysis of publication practices suggests decoupling as an underlying mechanism enabling the co-existence of two competing logics in the field of management science.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfred Kieser, 2011. "Between Rigour and Relevance: Co-Existing Institutional Logics in the Field of Management Science," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 33(2), pages 237-247, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:33:y:2011:i:2:p:237-247
    Note: Based on a lecture at Corvinus University, Budapest on January 24, 2011, on the occasion of receiving a honorary doctoral degree from Corvinus University. The lecture draws on a paper entitled “Between Basic Research and Research for the Profession” by Bernadette Bullinger, Alfred Kieser and Simone Schiller-Merkens.

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    Cited by:

    1. Breunig, Karl Joachim & Christoffersen, Line, 2016. "If x then why? Comparative analysis using critical incidents technique," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5141-5146.

    More about this item


    business schools; business research;

    JEL classification:

    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General


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