Impact of B-School Research

22 February 2008 at 11:20 am 4 comments

| Peter Klein |

The AACSB has released its Impact of Research Task Force Report. Key excerpt:

The Task Force believes that it is critical for business schools to find ways to continuously enhance the value and visibility of scholarship and research of all types — basic, applied, and pedagogical. Through its analysis, the Task Force has uncovered five issues that, if addressed by AACSB International, its member schools, and other organizations, could assist business schools to achieve their fullest potential from scholarship and research. First, current measures of intellectual contributions focus on inputs rather than outcomes. That is, the focus is on how faculty spend time (engagement in scholarship) and not on the value of outcomes produced (impact of scholarship on intended audiences). Second, business school and individual faculty incentives tend to create an overwhelming emphasis on discipline-based scholarship at the expense of contributions to practice and to pedagogical development. Third, the relationship between management research and teaching and the
mechanisms to support their interaction, especially when these functions are not always performed by the same people, are not well-understood. Fourth, there are inadequate channels for translating academic research to impact practice. Fifth, opportunities to support deeper, more continuous interaction between faculty and practicing managers on questions of relevance have not been fully developed.

The recommendations are fairly generic — require accredited schools to demonstrate the impact of faculty research, find ways to reward faculty for producing high-impact work, study more closely the links between scholarship, education, and practice, and so on. There’s less detail on exactly how impact should be measured, however. A few examples are given:

  • number of practitioners or firms adopting new approach or developed practice
  • awards by industry or professional associations
  • adoptions and integration in curricula of schools
  • sales of book
  • number of regional/national/international presentations
  • reviews in magazines (e.g., BusinessWeek, Forbes)

These are all fine, but it’s difficult to imagine criteria that can be applied consistently across disciplines, across types of research (basic versus applied), and so on.

Here is some commentary from Inside Higher Ed.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Education, Institutions. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. brayden  |  22 February 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I can tell that I’m going to have an uneasy relationship with this AACSB thing.

  • 2. Donald A. Coffin  |  22 February 2008 at 1:12 pm

    This is another of the things that make me glad I’m retiring in the near future.

  • 3. tf  |  22 February 2008 at 10:58 pm

    I don’t quite understand the current “practical relevance” craze. Isn’t there a healthy division of labor already: some folks act as translators of ideas (as e.g., the likes of Gladwell have done with much social science research), many academics consult (presumably diffusing good research into practice), and some do the ‘basic’ research. Thats perhaps too simplistic.

  • 4. REW  |  25 February 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Relevance in research (in whatever metrics AASCB can conjure) permits deans of business to brag to external audiences when their MBA program is not rated in the top 30. Since B-school ratings are now currently driven by MBA rankings, this is a small step to convince the knuckleheads that there is more to the school mission. Maybe in Brayden’s lifetime will all research be treated with the same respect in B-schools that it has now in every other college/school/faculty in the multidivisional university, without recourse to whether it can be sold as consulting, exec ed, or a Barnes and Noble bestseller.

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