Useful Research

Book description

For decades there has been an ongoing, at times heated, debate over how relevant to real-world concerns organizational research should be. The contributors to this book deviate from the orthodoxy of traditional positivistic research, arguing that the true test of whether knowledge is useful to practice is not whether it is rigorous but whether it is rigorous and results in improved organizational effectiveness.

The contributors were selected for their demonstrated ability to conduct useful research and their distinguished academic careers. Part I features researchers who describe the choices they make and the tactics they employ to ensure that their work advances both theory and practice. In part II, five highly respected researchers reflect on how they were able to have a broad impact on practice and still maintain academic rigor. Part III describes pathways to bring academic knowledge to practice—working with consultancies, executive PhD programs, OD specialists, and professional associations, as well as framing academic concepts in ways that are attention grabbing, memorable, and credible to practitioners. Part IV looks at the prospects for doing useful research in traditional academic settings like business schools and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals. Finally, Part V sums up the themes of the book and the challenges and opportunities facing researchers who aspire to do research that advances both theory and practice.

Table of contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction
  6. One: Research for Theory and Practice: Framing the Challenge
  7. Part I Exemplars of Useful Research
    1. Two: Crossing Boundaries to Investigate Problems in the Field: An Approach to Useful Research
    2. Three: Collaborative Organization Design Research at the Center for Effective Organizations
    3. Four: A Ten-Year Journey of Cooperation
    4. Five: Commentary: Walking on Three Legs
  8. Part II Bodies of Work That Have Influenced Theory and Practice
    1. Six: Rigor and Relevance in Organizational Research: Experiences, Reflections, and a Look Ahead
    2. Seven: Can Relevance and Rigor Coexist?
    3. Eight: Making a Difference and Contributing Useful Knowledge: Principles Derived from Life As a Scholar-Practitioner
    4. Nine: On Knowing and Doing: A Perspective on the Synergies between Research and Practice
  9. Part III Pathways: Research to Practice
    1. Ten: Academic-Consultant Collaboration: Doing Research across the Divide
    2. Eleven: Integrating Theory to Inform Practice: Insights from the Practitioner-Scholar
    3. Twelve: Organization Development Scholar-Practitioners: Between Scholarship and Practice
    4. Thirteen: Professional Associations: Supporting Useful Research
    5. Fourteen: Sticky Findings: Research Evidence Practitioners Find Useful
    6. Fifteen: Popular and Influential Management Books
    7. Sixteen: Commentary: Observations Concerning Pathways for Doing “Useful Research”
    8. Seventeen: Practitioner Perspectives: Comments from a Panel Discussion
  10. Part IV Barriers and Enablers
    1. Eighteen: How Business Schools Shape (Misshape) Management Research
    2. Nineteen: Counterpoint: Now Is a Great Time for Conducting Relevant Research!
    3. Twenty: On the Verge of Extinction: Some Final Reptilian Thoughts
  11. Part V Putting It All Together
    1. Twenty-One: Reflections on Research for Theory and Practice: From an Engaged Scholarship Perspective
    2. Twenty-Two: What We Have Learned
  12. Acknowledgments
  13. Index
  14. About the Center for Effective Organizations (CEO)
  15. About the Editors
  16. Footnotes
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Product information

  • Title: Useful Research
  • Author(s): Ed Lawler
  • Release date: April 2011
  • Publisher(s): Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • ISBN: 9781605096018