Faculty News & Research

Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice with a New Business Journal

By Bob Needham

An ambitious new journal aims to bring management insights from academic research into the hands of working business leaders. 
 

This innovative publication, called Management and Business Review, was cofounded by Wally Hopp, the C.K. Prahalad Distinguished University Professor of Business and Engineering and professor of technology and operations at the Ross School of Business.

“The ultimate goal is to promote more and better communication between management scholars and business leaders. By providing a platform for scholars to share insights from their research with practitioners, and for practitioners to share perspectives and needs with scholars, our expectation is MBR will foster both more effective management practice and more relevant management research,” said Hopp.

Management and Business Review debuted online in late 2020, and a print edition will follow soon this year. The inaugural issue was themed “Preparing for a World Transformed,” with articles on topics like addressing climate change and having difficult conversations about race. A second issue is expected in the spring, with future issues planned quarterly.

In addition to its practical approach, the new journal is also unusual in that it covers a wide range of business topics, Hopp noted. Established journals almost exclusively focus on a single discipline, such as accounting, or are tied to a single university. MBR publishes articles in any area of business, and is being run as a cooperative venture of 12 partner business schools.

In one of several testimonials included in the first issue, Janet Foutty, executive chair of the board of Deloitte U.S., said, “I’m delighted to see this caliber of international collaboration for a new kind of journal that brings the views and research of academics and business practitioners together. At a time when business leaders are faced with new levels of diverse and complex challenges that they need to solve, this will serve as a great learning resource from an impeccable roster of contributors.”

A decade in the works

The genesis of MBR took place more than 10 years ago, when Kalyan Singhal of the University of Baltimore approached Hopp with the idea for a practice-oriented journal. At the time, both were editors of prestigious academic publications.

“It took him a minute and a half to convince me that academics shouldn't just write for each other, but should also write for the people that actually do management,” Hopp recalled. “But it took us more than a decade to recruit all the people and resources we needed to create the right kind of journal.

“With Kal’s unrelenting energy and the support of multiple Ross deans over the years, we convinced 12 premier business schools to sponsor us and signed over 300 thought leaders from top business schools and companies around the world to our editorial/advisory board. This diversity makes MBR more inclusive and flexible than any other publication in this space.” 

In addition to Hopp, other Michigan Ross professors among the thought leaders who are shaping the new journal include Fred Feinberg, Ted London, Andy Hoffman, and Dave Ulrich. Michigan College of Engineering faculty members Brian Denton and Robert Bordley are also part of the MBR Advisory Board.

Initial reaction to the journal has been extremely positive, Hopp said: “There was a real appetite for this. When we approached eminent leaders in the various management disciplines and asked, ‘Will you write an article?’ almost everyone said yes. We have quite a good pipeline of articles in the works and are actively recruiting more.” 

Hopp and his colleagues are currently focused on two priorities, distribution and recruitment. On distribution, they are trying to get the first issue into the hands of as many business students, scholars, and managers as possible. This issue is free to access on the MBR website, and readers are encouraged to share it with anyone they think may be interested.

On recruitment, they are continuing to seek out new articles, and they welcome submissions from business practitioners as well as academics. Interested authors are encouraged to contact any of the editors-in-chief or departmental editors listed on the MBR website.

“In addition to getting academics to describe the practical insights of their research, we really want people in industry to speak to our greatest needs. Which issues are big challenges, things that we don't understand? Examples could include experiences with positive business practices, different minimum wage policies, or any controversial issues that are being debated in business," Hopp said. “If we get people with real credibility in industry writing about these issues in MBR, I'm pretty confident that we will see academics who will follow up with research dealing with the issues.”

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Featured Faculty

Wally Hopp
  • C.K. Prahalad Distinguished University Professor of Business and Engineering
  • Professor of Technology and Operations
  • Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering