Responsible Research

Imagine a world in which business schools, management scholars and social scientists worldwide have transformed their research toward producing useful and credible knowledge that addresses problems important to business and society

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A Vision of Responsible Research for Better Business and a Better World (1)

Imagine a future in 2030 where …

  • Business and management schools worldwide are widely admired for their contributions to societal well-being
  • Business and management research has become instrumental in addressing society’s challenges
  • Management research contributes regular, valuable knowledge to support humanity’s highest aspirations within the planetary boundaries, including poverty alleviation, access to food, clean water, education, sustainable consumption and responsible use of natural resources, greater gender and social equality, inclusion, growing prosperity, fair wealth distribution, and a responsible and resilient financial sector
  • Management research has developed effective systems leading to high and responsible economic performance, great innovations, positive employee and customer well-being, a thriving natural environment and strong communities
  • Business leaders and government officials are frequent guests in business and management schools, seeking advice on policies and offering support for research on issues that need understanding
  • Management research is a model of “responsible science” after a major transformation that began in 2017

What motivated this future imagination? Isn’t this our reality today? Sadly, for the past three decades, some management research has suffered mounting criticism around its low relevance to practice and questionable research practices – with the results of half of published studies may be of doubtful quality (2).

Fortunately, science engages in self-correction. Currently, there is strong aspiration in the
academic community to change the status quo by many individuals and groups. We call this the responsibility “turn” in business and management research. One influential group is the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM), a virtual global community of 24 senior scholars in the disciplines of accounting, finance, management, marketing and operations from 23 universities in 10 countries. Supporting them are leaders of AACSB, EFMD, Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, and PRME of Global Compact.

The community was formed in early 2015 and is dedicated to the advancement of high-quality and useful research in business and management worldwide and has written a position paper to propose solutions on how business and management research can contribute to better business and a better world.

The solutions include seven principles to guide responsible research and specific actions by different groups of the research ecosystem.

The paper invites discussion and debate on the prospect of creating a responsible research ecosystem to realise this future vision when business and management research has become a force for change towards a better world.

After a six-month consultation period from April to September 2017, the paper gained the support of 85 co-signers who contributed to refining the ideas in the paper. They included senior scholars from 75 institutions in 21 countries with over 30 deans and senior leadership as well as distinguished business leaders. We invite you to read this position paper – a full paper of 15 pages and an executive briefing of two pages – on the RRBM website www.rrbm.network, to share your reactions and to offer support by endorsing the paper individually or institutionally as a partner. Come and join us in this debate. Hopefully, it is not about whether we should, but how we can, make the world a better place through contributing credible and useful knowledge to develop better business, management and organisational practices that benefit all stakeholders.

Footnotes

(1) The list of 28 authors of the paper “A vision of responsible research in business and management: Striving for useful and credible knowledge” – the basis of this brief announcement – can be found on rrbm.network

(2) Please see the bibliography of the position paper (appendix A) on rrbm.network. This bibliography is a partial list of published papers or books that discuss the issues of usefulness and credibility of research in business and management

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