Management professor publishes journal article
The article reviews conceptions of research legitimacy and impact as manifestations of the strategic intent of business schools.
Research authored by Matthew Valle, the Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Business and professor of management, has been published in The Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education (Vol. 12, No. 2).
In this paper, I review conceptions of research legitimacy and impact as manifestations of the strategic intent of business schools (exploration focus or exploitation focus), and reframe discussions of research impact in terms of an underlying strategic orientation to the institution’s primary stakeholders. I review conceptions of legitimacy and impact within the field of management, define a continuum of strategic orientations to stakeholder groups who are the primary customers for research outputs, note some concerns regarding the tendency toward isomorphism in research generation and publication, and close with a call to administrators and educators to better define and implement strategies to maximize the impact of their institution’s research contributions in light of the choice of strategic orientation.
Institutions in each market domain can exhibit varying degrees of legitimacy/impact, depending on the outputs most valued by the majority of their stakeholders. For the exploration-focused institutions, value is defined by the incidence of high-impact, discipline-based research produced by the institution’s faculty (Aguinis, SuarezGonzález, Lannelongue, & Joo, 2012). For the exploitation-focused institutions, value is defined primarily by factors related to instruction and community/stakeholder service. In summary, it is primarily the institutions focused on exploration that have the most impact on management knowledge creation. Conversely, institutions focused on exploitation engage primarily in activities that disseminate the outputs of exploration research.
There are distinct advantages to having separate groups of institutions with separate research and teaching foci. But there are also problems with relying on one model for educating, socializing and staffing faculty bodies for different market domains, and these problems disadvantage both the development of management theory and the practice of management. The threats associated with this distinct delineation of research orientations include a reduction in research diversity and approaches to research, a decrease in the interactions and information sharing between the two groups, and a proliferation of research based on a rational-deductive model from the exploration domain which does not suit the resources, perspectives and needs of stakeholders in the exploitation domain.
We must begin to modify the conversation concerning legitimacy by adjusting the definition and measures of legitimacy and impact in the exploration domain (e.g., journal rankings, impact factors) to domain-specific measures of impact on stakeholders and constituents in the exploitation domain (e.g., business organizations improved, jobs saved). The former are based on product-centric considerations, while the latter should be based on customer-centric considerations (Galbraith, 2005).
ABSTRACT Stakeholders continue to question the value of higher education policies, practices and costs in an era of declining enrollments and shrinking budgets. In addition, they question the very nature of the knowledge creation mechanisms (e.g., research) that lie at the heart of the value proposition for post-secondary educational institutions. The purpose of this paper is to review the role of conceptions of research legitimacy and impact as manifestations of the strategic intent of business schools, and to reframe discussions of research impact in terms of an underlying strategic orientation to the institution’s primary stakeholders. Implications for a more mission-focused implementation of research activities are discussed.