Useful Research
Advancing Theory and Practice
By Susan Albers Mohrman, Ed Lawler
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Final Release Date: April 2011
Pages: 450

For decades there has been an ongoing, at times heated, debate over how relevant to real-world concerns organizational research should be. The contributors to this book deviate from the orthodoxy of traditional positivistic research, arguing that the true test of whether knowledge is useful to practice is not whether it is rigorous but whether it is rigorous and results in improved organizational effectiveness.

The contributors were selected for their demonstrated ability to conduct useful research and their distinguished academic careers. Part I features researchers who describe the choices they make and the tactics they employ to ensure that their work advances both theory and practice. In part II, five highly respected researchers reflect on how they were able to have a broad impact on practice and still maintain academic rigor. Part III describes pathways to bring academic knowledge to practice—working with consultancies, executive PhD programs, OD specialists, and professional associations, as well as framing academic concepts in ways that are attention grabbing, memorable, and credible to practitioners. Part IV looks at the prospects for doing useful research in traditional academic settings like business schools and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals. Finally, Part V sums up the themes of the book and the challenges and opportunities facing researchers who aspire to do research that advances both theory and practice.

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