Useful Research; Advancing Theory and Practice

See on Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

For decades there has been an ongoing, at times heated, debate over how relevant to real-world organizational concerns academic organizational research should be. The contributors to this book argue that in order to keep organizational research relevant to both theory and practice, research must deviate from the orthodoxy of traditional positivistic research. The true test of whether knowledge is useful to practice is not whether it is “theoretically” impactful but whether it is theoretically impactful and results in improved organizational effectiveness.


This collection examines how useful research can be achieved and argues that in order to keep organizational research relevant to theory and practice, the approach must deviate from the orthodoxy of positivistic, “pure” research approaches. The contributing authors were selected for their demonstrated ability to conduct useful research, and they bring their unique professional experience to their chapters by describing the choices they make and the tactics they employ.


The core message of this book is that in order to conduct research that is useful, researchers must learn from practice and intentionally position their work so that it finds a pathway to practice. While each chapter can stand alone, the book is crafted to provide multiple complementary perspectives on the topic of useful research. It does an outstanding job of describing what it takes to bridge the gap between theory and practice. It goes beyond advocacy, theoretical debate, and restatements of the problem to focus on the types of research methods that produce useful research. Topics include crafting research programs to yield useful knowledge, academic careers that yield useful knowledge, pathways to practice, institutional agents such as MBA programs and journals.


Table of Contents

Section I: Introduction and Framing
1 )Introduction: The Value Stream of Organization and Management Science: Edward Lawler & Sue Mohrman (CEO, USC)

Section II: Exemplars
2) Rob Cross, University of Virginia
3) Amy Edmundson, Harvard University
4) CEO exemplars—Sue and Monty Mohrman (CEO)
Commentary: Richard Hackman, Harvard University

Section III: Bodies of Work that have Influenced Practice
5) Ed Lawler, CEO and Phil Mirvis, Boston College
6) C.K. Prahalad, University of Michigan
7) Mike Beer, Harvard University, emeritus & TruePoint Commentary: Thoughts on an Academic Career with Impact – Jim O’Toole, University of Denver

Section IV: Pathways: Research to Practice
8) Books with Impact – George Benson, University of Texas, Arlington
9) Collaborations with Consulting Firms/The Role of Consulting Firms – Ruth Wageman
10) Evidence Based Management/Sticky Concepts—Denise Rousseau, Carnegie Mellon
11) Classroom—impact of education—conditions for application, etc. –Paula Jarzabkowski
12) Professional Associations—Workshops and Tools — Wayne Cascio
13) Organization Development—Chris Worley and Tom Cummings Practitioner Perspective: Pathways with Impact—Roundtable of Practitioners Commentary: Gary Latham

Section V: Barriers and Enablers
14) Business Schools/MBA programs – Chris Worley, CEO, and Tom Cummings, USC
15) Journals—Theresa Welbourne, CEO Roundtable Discussion of Deans, Department Heads and Journal Editors in Attendance Commentary: Sarah Rynes

Section VI: Putting it All Together – Section Framing by Lawler and Mohrman
16) Reflective Chapter – Andy Van De Ven, University of Minnesota
17) Mohrman and Lawler –Learnings from the Conference and Book: What Academic Research Would Look Like if We Took Seriously a Mandate to do Research that Impacts Theory and Practice.




Titel Fast Fundamentals: Useful Research: Research for Theory and Practice: Framing the Challenge
Berrett-Koehler Series
Susan Albers Mohrman, Edward E. Lawler III
Uitgever Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011
ISBN 1605096008, 9781605096001

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About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context, my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: Here is my other weblog on impact of research:

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