Rigor, Relevance, and Resilience in Management Research

Nandini Rajagopalan

Abstract:

In her introductory article, Kovoor-Misra observes that the debate around whether business school research has become increasingly less relevant has gained momentum in recent years. There is indeed a legitimate concern whether the attempt to become more rigorous and gain more scientific legitimacy has come at the expense of producing practically useful and actionable insights. I have no doubt that only research that meets the highest standards of scientific rigor can yield insights that endure over time and generalize across contexts. The question is not whether to conduct rigorous or relevant research. I believe there is increasingly a shared understanding among management scholars that research needs to be both rigorous and relevant. The challenge lies in how to conduct such research. Research that is rigorous, accessible, relevant, and enlightening may be rare, but we must conduct such research. More importantly, such research will stand the test of time and be resilient and impactful in the face of the many challenges noted in the introduction to this dialogue. Are there examples of such research topics? I believe there are and will identify some in the section that follows. Are there continued opportunities and threats to our ability to conduct such research? I will identify a few of these as well. Finally, can we do more to encourage impactful research? I will close this piece by sharing some observations on this question.