Has Management Studies Lost its Way? Ideas for More Imaginative and Innovative Research

25 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012

Date Written: January 2013

Abstract

Despite the huge increase in the number of management articles published during the three last decades, there is a serious shortage of high‐impact research in management studies. We contend that a primary reason behind this paradoxical shortage is the near total dominance of incremental gap‐spotting research in management. This domination is even more paradoxical as it is well known that gap‐spotting rarely leads to influential theories. We identify three broad and interacting key drivers behind this double paradox: institutional conditions, professional norms, and researchers' identity constructions. We discuss how specific changes in these drivers can reduce the shortage of influential management theories. We also point to two methodologies that may encourage and facilitate more innovative and imaginative research and revisions of academic norms and identities.

Keywords: interesting theories, problematization, research methods, research problems, research questions, theory development

Suggested Citation

Alvesson, Mats and Sandberg, Jörgen, Has Management Studies Lost its Way? Ideas for More Imaginative and Innovative Research (January 2013). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 50, Issue 1, pp. 128-152, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2191396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01070.x

Mats Alvesson (Contact Author)

Lund University ( email )

S-220 07 Lund, SC Skane
Sweden

Jörgen Sandberg

University of Queensland

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