business school research and teaching
Matt Symonds at Forbes.com wonders whether funding academic research is a worthy pursuit of business schools. Given the hard economic times (and yes, even the wealthy business schools are having to cut back), it might seem odd that research budgets are one expenditure most top schools are not willing to cut. In the article a number of business school professors and deans speak out, justifying the importance of research to actual MBA training. The usual arguments appear, including the idea that business school training should be more about professionalizing management than providing soft or hard skills. According to this vision research should be tightly linked to the professionalization process.
Since joining the Academy of Management several years ago, one major difference I’ve noticed between b-school academics and sociologists is the priority Academy members give to integrating research with teaching. Although there are some movements within the ASA to improve teaching and link what goes on in the sections to what goes on in the classroom, this is mostly treated as a low status endeavor. It doesn’t work in the same way in the Academy. Teaching, perhaps because our constituency is paying so much more for a good education than what you see in most undergrad social science departments and because of the related resource dependence, is an important part of the management scholar’s identity. Because research is also valued and because there is some distance between what we research and what we actually teach, b-school scholars spend a lot of time thinking about how we can integrate the two. It seems especially important for org. theorists because the gap between research and relevance is somewhat bigger (compared to, for example, strategy scholars). As evidence, check out the useful list of teaching resources the OMT Division has made available.