Bridging the Chasm between Management Education, Research, and Practice: Moving Towards the ‘Grounded Theory’ Approach

Maital, S and Prakhya, S and Seshadri, D V R (2008) Bridging the Chasm between Management Education, Research, and Practice: Moving Towards the ‘Grounded Theory’ Approach. Vikalpa, 33 (1). pp. 1-18.

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Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of best-practice research methodology in management. It is argued that management research should follow what is known as ‘grounded theory’, or what Harvard Business School Professor, Robert Kaplan, termed as “innovation action research.”Today, management research is found following an inappropriate model, the hypotheticoscientific method designed for laboratory research in the natural sciences. This is unsuitable for management and not aligned with case-based pedagogy, action learning or reality-based executive programmes. The result is a painful disconnect between management research and management teaching.There is an increasing divergence and separation between educators and researchers, when in fact these endeavours should be integrated and converging. While educators use case studies intensively, researchers reject N=1 qualitative methods and instead employ N ≥ 25. It is indeed strange that sometimes the educator and the researcher are the same person. This strange methodological schizophrenia needs a remedy.For management, world is the laboratory. It therefore requires a worldly. research methodology. Management educators seek to use reality-based tools; yet, they often do research that is abstract and diffused. Some of the leading management tools taught by management educators originated, in fact, in best-practice innovations in organizations. Why not adopt this as general best-practice?And why, then, does management research pay lip service to the natural sciences, when its most powerful theories and tools emerged from clinical, not laboratory, settings?This paper offers an alternative, a new way forward, based on the familiar concept of grounded theory. Through examples and case studies, it shows how this approach might be applied and how teaching and research can become tightly integrated. It concludes with some poignant thoughts on the way forward, including finding robust ways to partner between management researchers, educators, and practitioners (who are participants of executive education programmes in most business schools). For instance: There would be a need for extensive collaboration between these three constituents.Management education and research must include extensive team work, rather than the common phenomenon of each educator doing his ‘solo’ act in management education programmes and moving on.There should be relevant and well-thoughtout themes that facilitate high quality dialogue between the three constituents (educators, researchers, and practitioners), where there is intense learning on the part of all of them.Significant mindset changes on the part of companies sponsoring their managers for management education programmes would be necessary.It is hoped that this paper would generate a lot of dialogue resulting in positive changes that would bridge the existing chasm between management education, research, and practice.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
ISB Creators:
ISB CreatorsORCiD
Seshadri, D V RUNSPECIFIED
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of IIM Bangalore.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Innovation-Action Research, Grounded Theory, Phenomenological and Positivist Approaches, Action Learning, Case Study Method, Management Educator-Researcher Scientist-Practitioner, Balanced Scorecard
Subjects: Marketing
Depositing User: Veeramani R
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2019 07:35
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 08:59
URI: http://eprints.exchange.isb.edu/id/eprint/777
Publisher URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0256090920080101
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