Management Research


Management Research

Between 1995 and 1998, the British Academy of Management (BAM) embarked upon a widespread debate about the increasing distance of research from its user base and a concomitant decline in its ability to influence policy development and practice. Much of the discussion focused on ontological issues. What makes management research unique and different from associated disciplines such as economics, sociology, social psychology, psychology or anthropology? What makes for good quality management research? How might one recognize the boundaries of management research? How might we best recover the support and involvement of our user base? These themes have since been taken up by the US Academy and have been the focus of further debate in this journal The initial discussions were led by the BAM Research Policy Committee and subsequently developed in Council, culminating in a paper by David Tran field and Kenneth Starkey. The paper aimed to stimulate further debate on the nature of management research and highlight the potential of so-called mode-2 practice as an avenue for fruitful development

This paper offers a response to Tran field and Starkey’s discussion piece and contributes to the ongoing debate in two ways. First, we believe that the social sciences have an established tradition of conducting research in mode 2, albeit expressed in different terms. Indeed, some forms of management research might be said to be at the leading edge of a broader movement towards increased levels of mode 2 knowledge production. Whilst there is undoubtedly a wealth of material on approaches such as action research, cooperative inquiry and clinical method, a mapping of these practices onto the methodological territory of mode 2, as laid out by

Gibbons remains noticeably absent from the literature. The other gap in the literature is the lack of empirical accounts specifically related to the detailed features of mode 2 proposed