This paper argues for the distinctiveness of management research and develops a perspective concerning management research policy. It argues that the key defining characteristic of management research is its applied nature, and that its central concern should be ‘the general (engineering) problem of design’. Because a key goal of management research is to improve the relationship between theory and practice, a fundamental concern lies with its diverse nature and the consequential difficulty of integration of sub‐disciplines, as well as with the issue of the relevance and the application of findings. As a policy paper, it aims to introduce a limited number of analytical frameworks in order to develop a policy position, thus helping frame the debate concerning the role of management research. Specifically, it achieves this, first by exploring the ontology of management research, examining its form, features, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies using Becher's conceptual schema for exploring the nature of disciplines; second by identifying a requisite form of social organization to support management research activity using the Gibbons et al. taxonomy of knowledge production systems; and finally, by identifying some conclusions, research policy implications, and suggesting a set of policy propositions concerning the conduct of management research.
British Journal of Management – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1998
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