Impact of B-School Research
| 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.