PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore how the notion of “relevance” is produced, distributed and consumed in the field of management research by applying a critical discourse analysis (CDA) as a theoretical lens. A CDA perspective offers a way to scrutinize the power relations that emerge with journal rankings and how these influence how the relevance discourse develops.Design/methodology/approachThis paper illustrates how a CDA perspective can be fruitfully applied to the relevance literature, exemplifying such an application with two illustrative texts. The texts represent two distinct cases; one is a fictive story informally distributed among scholars, and the other is an extract of a published review on the relevance debate.FindingsA CDA lens sheds light on how academic power relations are maintained in the production, distribution and consumption of the “relevance” notion. It shows the importance of individual awareness among management researchers of how the discourse is shaped.Research limitations/implicationsTo increase the generalizability of the study, a CDA lens could be applied to a larger amount of texts in the relevance literature. The findings imply that the relevance literature would benefit from contributions bridging the gap between rigor and relevance, and questioning how power relations are maintained.Originality/valueCDA adds a new perspective to the relevance debate, revealing how academic power relations are maintained with management scholars’ adherence to journal norms and the implications of this act.
European Business Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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