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Problematizing ‘relevance’ in the business school: the case of leadership studies

Butler, Nick LU ; Delaney, Helen and Spoelstra, Sverre LU (2015) In British Journal of Management 26(4). p.731-744
Abstract
In recent years, the discourse of ‘relevance’ has risen to prominence in the university-based business school. At the heart of this discourse is the suggestion that management researchers should align their research practices more closely with the needs of practitioners in external organizations. One important but under-researched strand of this debate focuses on the way in which ‘relevance’ is pursued by business scholars via forms of practitioner engagement such as management consulting, corporate presentations, executive education and personal coaching. Drawing on extensive semi-structured interviews, this paper explores the motivations, rewards and tensions experienced by leadership scholars in the process of engaging with... (More)
In recent years, the discourse of ‘relevance’ has risen to prominence in the university-based business school. At the heart of this discourse is the suggestion that management researchers should align their research practices more closely with the needs of practitioners in external organizations. One important but under-researched strand of this debate focuses on the way in which ‘relevance’ is pursued by business scholars via forms of practitioner engagement such as management consulting, corporate presentations, executive education and personal coaching. Drawing on extensive semi-structured interviews, this paper explores the motivations, rewards and tensions experienced by leadership scholars in the process of engaging with practitioners. This study suggests that the pursuit of ‘relevance’ may come into conflict with norms of scholarly conduct, which in turn gives rise to a series of trade-offs and compromises. Ultimately, the authors argue that the prevailing discourse of relevance provides an alibi for scholars to orient themselves towards practitioners in ways that contravene their academic identity and research ethos (whether post-positivist, interpretivist or critical). (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
British Journal of Management
volume
26
issue
4
pages
731 - 744
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000365402400010
  • scopus:84944280543
ISSN
1467-8551
DOI
10.1111/1467-8551.12121
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6c7c4423-52f6-4a57-ac15-3b8ec4e4e958 (old id 8302936)
date added to LUP
2015-12-08 15:13:20
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:21:41
@article{6c7c4423-52f6-4a57-ac15-3b8ec4e4e958,
  abstract     = {In recent years, the discourse of ‘relevance’ has risen to prominence in the university-based business school. At the heart of this discourse is the suggestion that management researchers should align their research practices more closely with the needs of practitioners in external organizations. One important but under-researched strand of this debate focuses on the way in which ‘relevance’ is pursued by business scholars via forms of practitioner engagement such as management consulting, corporate presentations, executive education and personal coaching. Drawing on extensive semi-structured interviews, this paper explores the motivations, rewards and tensions experienced by leadership scholars in the process of engaging with practitioners. This study suggests that the pursuit of ‘relevance’ may come into conflict with norms of scholarly conduct, which in turn gives rise to a series of trade-offs and compromises. Ultimately, the authors argue that the prevailing discourse of relevance provides an alibi for scholars to orient themselves towards practitioners in ways that contravene their academic identity and research ethos (whether post-positivist, interpretivist or critical).},
  author       = {Butler, Nick and Delaney, Helen and Spoelstra, Sverre},
  issn         = {1467-8551},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {731--744},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {British Journal of Management},
  title        = {Problematizing ‘relevance’ in the business school: the case of leadership studies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12121},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2015},
}