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    Reconsidering the rigour-relevance gap: the need for contextualised research in risk societies

    Galavan, Robert and Harrington, Denis and Kelliher, Felicity (2016) Reconsidering the rigour-relevance gap: the need for contextualised research in risk societies. Irish Journal of Management, 35 (2). pp. 159-164. ISSN 1649-248X

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    This paper addresses the debate on rigour and relevance in management research to identify barriers to progress and identify the challenges and opportunities in moving forward. We identify strong calls from both North American and European literatures for a move to close this gap. It has, however, been 20 years since Hambrick asked scholars ‘What if the academy actually mattered?’ during his Presidential address to the Academy of Management. Despite both the time and the consistency of calls, there has been only modest progress in closing this rigour-relevance gap. We argue that this is not because of any lack of willingness or capacity but is shaped by systemic issues. We find the narrative of the business school framed as either professional or social sciences a core issue. Each brings with them a tradition of different ontological perspectives and epistemological processes, protected by gatekeepers, which supports, even if unintentionally, the maintenance of the gap. We go on to discuss the challenge of management education and research in a postmodern context, the need to examine our conception of rigour, and to challenge the definition of management as a profession given its strategic win-lose orientation. We conclude with a discussion on the relationship between society and business and lay out the challenges ahead for richly contextualised scholarly work that may be defined as both rigorous and relevant.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: epistemology; management research; mode 2; ontology; rigour–relevance gap; risk society;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Business
    Item ID: 7924
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Professor Robert Galavan
    Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2017 14:36
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Journal of Management
    Publisher: Irish Academy of Management
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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