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Bridging the Rigour-Relevance Gap in Management Research: It's Already Happening!


  • Gerard P. Hodgkinson
  • Denise M. Rousseau


Kieser and Leiner (2009) maintain that the rigour-relevance gap in management research is fundamentally unbridgeable because researchers and the researched inhabit separate social systems. They argue that it is impossible to assess the relevance of research outputs within the system of science and that neither action research nor related approaches to collaborative research can succeed in producing research that is rigorous as well as relevant. In reply, we show how their analysis is inconsistent with available evidence. Drawing on a diversity of management research domains, we provide counter-illustrations of work where researchers, in a number of cases in collaboration with practitioners, have generated knowledge that is both socially useful and academically rigorous. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2009.

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  • Gerard P. Hodgkinson & Denise M. Rousseau, 2009. "Bridging the Rigour-Relevance Gap in Management Research: It's Already Happening!," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 534-546, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:46:y:2009:i:3:p:534-546

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    2. A. Georges L. Romme & Gerard Endenburg, 2006. "Construction Principles and Design Rules in the Case of Circular Design," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(2), pages 287-297, April.
    3. Joan E. van Aken, 2004. "Management Research Based on the Paradigm of the Design Sciences: The Quest for Field-Tested and Grounded Technological Rules," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 219-246, March.
    4. Alfred Kieser & Lars Leiner, 2009. "Why the Rigour-Relevance Gap in Management Research Is Unbridgeable," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 516-533, May.
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    1. repec:eee:touman:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:379-389 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Guiette, Alain & Vandenbempt, Koen, 2013. "Exploring team mental model dynamics during strategic change implementation in professional service organizations. A sensemaking perspective," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 728-744.
    3. Robin Fincham & Timothy Clark, 2009. "Introduction: Can We Bridge the Rigour-Relevance Gap?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 510-515, May.
    4. J. -C. Spender, 0. "BSchools and Their Business Models," Humanistic Management Journal, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-18.
    5. Holloway, Sjana S. & van Eijnatten, Frans M. & Romme, A.Georges.L. & Demerouti, Eva, 2016. "Developing actionable knowledge on value crafting: A design science approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1639-1643.
    6. Timothy Clark & Mike Wright, 2009. "So, Farewell Then . . . Reflections on Editing the "Journal of Management Studies"," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-9, January.
    7. E. Schumacher & David Wasieleski, 2013. "Institutionalizing Ethical Innovation in Organizations: An Integrated Causal Model of Moral Innovation Decision Processes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 15-37, March.
    8. Olejniczak Tomasz, 2015. "Rigour and Relevance: A PhD Student’s Perspective," Management and Business Administration. Central Europe, De Gruyter Open, vol. 23(4), pages 113-130, December.
    9. Schiele, Holger & Krummaker, Stefan, 2011. "Consortium benchmarking: Collaborative academic-practitioner case study research," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(10), pages 1137-1145, October.
    10. Paul Edwards, 2015. "Industrial relations, critical social science and reform: I, principles of engagement," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 173-186, May.
    11. Alexander T. Nicolai & Ann-Christine Schulz & Thomas W. Thomas, 2010. "What Wall Street Wants - Exploring the Role of Security Analysts in the Evolution and Spread of Management Concepts," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 162-189, January.
    12. repec:eee:proeco:v:194:y:2017:i:c:p:228-236 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Irwin, Richard L. & Ryan, Timothy D., 2013. "Get real: Using engagement with practice to advance theory transfer and production," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 12-16.
    14. Mingers, John, 2015. "Helping business schools engage with real problems: The contribution of critical realism and systems thinking," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(1), pages 316-331.

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