Evidence in Management Research: Some Conceptual Issues

Evidence in Management Research: Some Conceptual Issues

Vasant V. Bang (DELTA M Management R&D Lab, Pune, India) and Milind T. Phadtare (School of General Management, National Institute of Construction Management and Research, Pune, India)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJKBO.2017010104


Scholars point out a fundamental difference between research in disciplines of management and natural sciences. Using stakeholder framework, in this paper, the authors first define domain of management research from practitioners' perspective. Then, they highlight contextual nature of management and argue that practitioners and researchers differ in terms of extent of generalisation they are interested in. The authors present a framework which links management research to practice and identify conceptual issue related to reliability and validity. Statistical techniques generally try to decipher a pattern. But innovation by definition amounts to breaking free from the pattern. A formula which led to success of one organisation at one point of time can be intentionally disrupted by managers in competing organisations. This is possible because human beings are endowed with three unique characteristics of cognition, judgment and intention. This explains limitations of management research in predicting future on the basis of valid explanations of today. That is why even if managers try to search for a common reality in a replicable fashion, managerial practice may not necessarily benefit.
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Defining Domain Of Management Research With A Focus On Practice

According to Rousseau, Manning and Denyer (2008) management & organisational science encompasses theory and research on organizations and associated human behaviours, as workers, managers, and customers. Clarckson (1995) goes a step further as he visualises corporation as a system of primary stakeholder groups and observes that a corporation’s survival & continuing success requires that various stakeholder groups continue as a part of corporation’s stakeholder system. This in turn depends upon ability of a corporation’s managers to create sufficient wealth, value or satisfactions for the stakeholders. He also acknowledges power of secondary stakeholder groups like media which can harm a corporation. Clarckson (1995) observes that corporate data is available in terms of relationship of organisation with respect to various stakeholder groups since most corporations define obligations, responsibilities, & accountability for managers with respect to these groups. Hence, in this paper we use ‘stakeholder framework’ to classify managerial practices. We believe that using ‘stakeholder management’ as an organising principle for domain of management research can be a starting point in reducing the research – practice gap. Organisational practices can be broadly classified as external stakeholder (Customers, Suppliers, Investors, Government, Public, etc.) related (ESP) and internal stakeholder related (employees) (ISP). Generally, research on external stakeholders related practices includes domains of marketing, finance & strategy, while research on internal stakeholders includes domains of human resources, operations & systems.

A core aim of scientific research is to arrive at objective, true beliefs about the subject matter of the discipline: about what sorts of entities are to be found, what their properties are, and what causal relations obtain among them (Daniel, 1993). This clearly indicates that identifying causal relations among entities is one of the goals of research though not the only goal. Hence we propose that from the point of view of reducing gap between management research & practice, domain of management research be described in terms of internal & external stakeholder related practices besides their antecedents, moderators and consequences.

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