Current Business Research Model Not Sustainable, New Paper Argues

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Professor Jerry Davis and colleagues say schools should encourage work that benefits society.

Jerry Davis

A new article examines how today’s business research ecosystem fails to encourage research that benefits society — and makes the case that schools need to change that dynamic.

Published in BizEd, the paper argues that much current research ignores practical applications that would improve the world. The article — titled “The Moral Dilemma to Business Research” — was written by Michigan Ross Professor Jerry Davis, Professor William H. Glick of the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, and Professor Anne Tsui of the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame.

“With a few notable exceptions, scholarly research rarely reaches the worlds of business or policy, and academic journals are neither read nor cited widely beyond the academic community. There is widespread agreement that the systemic incentives in place to encourage faculty research are designed more to enhance scholarly reputations, and less to produce returns for society,” the authors say.

The paper introduces an alliance called the Community for Responsible Research in Business Management, which advocates for change in the way schools view and fund research.

Business research has an opportunity to guide policy and practice toward more humane ends, say the authors. Moreover, its current funding system is facing increasing strains. “Not only do we believe that business research should be addressing the critical problems of business and society, we are convinced the current model will be unsustainable as business schools compete for resources in the future,” the authors say.

Jerry Davis is the Associate Dean for Business + Impact, the Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration, and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business.

Read the full paper

Media Contact: michiganrosspr@umich.edu