Handbook of Collaborative Management Research
Publication Year: 2008
This handbook provides the latest thinking, methodologies and cases in the rapidly growing area of collaborative management research. What makes collaborative management research different is its emphasis on creating a close partnership between scholars and practitioners in the search for knowledge concerning organizations and complex systems. In the ideal situation, scholars and their managerial partners would work together to define the research focus, develop the methods to be used for data collection, participate equally in the analysis of data, and work together in the application and dissemination of knowledge. The handbook contains insightful reflections on the state of the art as well as detailed descriptions of the collaborative efforts of an international group of leading edge academics and their practitioner counterparts. The applications of collaborative ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Promise of Collaborative Management Research
- Chapter 2: From Actionable Knowledge to Universal Theory in Management Research
- Chapter 3: Following the Second Legacy of Aristotle: The Scholar-Practitioner as an Epistemic Technician
- Chapter 4: Insider/Outsider Team Research: The Development of the Approach and Its Meanings
- Chapter 5: Collaboration and the Production of Management Knowledge in Research, Consulting, and Management Practice
- Chapter 6: Toward Interdependent Organizing and Researching
- Chapter 7: Collaborating for Management Research: From Action Research to Intervention Research in Management
- Chapter 8: Learning Mechanisms as Means and Ends in Collaborative Management Research
- Chapter 9: The Research Circle Approach: A Democratic Form for Collaborative Research in Organizations
- Chapter 10: Academic-Practitioner Learning Forums: A New Model for Interorganizational Research
Part III: Exemplars: Cases and Projects
- IIIA. Collaborative Research in a Single System
- Chapter 11: Coaching for Sustainable Change
- Chapter 12: Dynamic Strategic Alignment: An Integrated Method
- Chapter 13: From Collaborative Design to Collaborative Research: A Sociotechnical Journey
- IIIB. Collaborative Research in Complex Networks
- Chapter 14: Collaborative Participatory Research in Gender Mainstreaming in Social Change Organizations
- Chapter 15: Collaboration in the Innovative Region
- Chapter 16: Collaborative Research and the Trade Unions: The Challenge of Entering Social Partnership
- Chapter 17: Connecting Research to Value Creation by Bridging Cultural Differences between Industry and Academia
- IIIC. Collaborative Research in Government and Society
- Chapter 18: Monetary Policy and Academics: A Study of Swedish Inflation Targeting
- Chapter 19: Bridging the Academic-Practitioner Divide: A Case Study Analysis of Business School Collaboration with Industry
- Chapter 20: Improving the Management of Ignorance and Uncertainty: A Case Illustrating Integration in Collaboration
- Chapter 21: Collaborative Research in and by an Interorganizational Network
- Chapter 22: Building Partnership: Critical Reflections on the Action Research Center (ARC)
- Chapter 23: Collaborative Research in Pharmacy Operations: The Kaiser Permanente Experience
- Chapter 24: The Collaborative Learning Cycle: Advancing Theory and Building Practical Design Frameworks through Collaboration
- Chapter 25: The Multiple Voices of Collaboration: A Critical Reflection
- Chapter 26: Collaborative R&D in Management: The Practical Experience of FENIX and TruePoint in Bridging the Divide between Scientific and Managerial Goals
- Chapter 27: Toward a More Rigorous, Reflective, and Relevant Science of Collaborative Management Research
- Chapter 28: Quality and “Actionability”: What Action Researchers Offer from the Tradition of Pragmatism
- Chapter 29: Collaborative Management Research through Communities of Inquiry: Challenges and Skills
- Chapter 30: Toward Building a Collaborative Research Community
Copyright © 2008 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Handbook of collaborative management research/editors, A. B. Shani … [et al.].
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
ISBN 978-1-4129-2624-9 (cloth)
1. Management—Research—Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Research teams—Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Shani, Abraham B.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
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If Kurt Lewin was correct that the best way to understand something is to change it, then we ought to have a lot of opportunities to develop new understandings in our 21st-century world, with more on the way. The rate of change and the criticality of developing new knowledge about management and organization have never been greater. The development of a global economy has radically transformed the practice of managing organizations, is introducing change that challenges the viability of longstanding social and governmental practices, and is threatening the global and local ecologies that make possible life and society as we know them. Surely this amount of change brings all kinds of requirements and opportunities to develop greater understanding. And yet, the field of management studies is not adequately responding to the challenges and opportunities that are being presented. Practice is moving far faster than traditional academic approaches to research. Even when scientific breakthroughs occur, their dissemination through publications and executive education programs is painfully slow and not likely to be recognized by the vast majority of managers of organizations and systems. We believe that obtaining superior knowledge about how organizations and systems can be helped to achieve their immediate goals while at the same time advancing the practice of managing complex systems should be of key concern to scientists, managers, policy makers, and citizens.
This Handbook reflects our desire as an editorial team to bring attention to a mode of research that tightly links practice and theory development, generating knowledge that builds on established theory and empirical knowledge of the academy but is tightly coupled with the actions that organizations take in real time as they develop solutions. We are advocating a truly combinatorial knowledge-production process—putting knowledge into context, and acknowledging that true advances in understanding, particularly if they are to be more than esoteric academic exercises, require that the knowledge from many fields of the academy and of practice need to be combined if we are to understand and deal with the complexity of the systems that need to change in today's world.
The original idea for this Handbook dates back to a 2004 symposium on collaborative research at the annual conference of the Academy of Management. It centered on the insights from a recently published book titled Collaborative Research in Organizations: Foundations for Learning, Change, and Theoretical Development (Adler, Shani, & Styhre, 2004). The book captured the insights from five years of ambitious and innovative collaborative research endeavors, most of which were conducted within the context of a long-standing tradition of boundary spanning between management researchers and companies in Sweden. The dialogue with the audience at the symposium triggered the realization that many more [Page x]academics and practitioners around the globe have been involved in an emerging research paradigm that we label “collaborative management research.”
Collaboration is not a new approach to research. Indeed, many of the early advances in management and organizational sciences came from academics who were working very closely with companies that were beginning to rationalize their production and administrative practices (Taylor and scientific management, Mayo and the human relations model, and Trist and Emery and the sociotechnical systems school, for example). These studies involved managers, organization members, and researchers who were investigating issues of mutual interest and resulted in changes in practice at the participating companies and widespread dissemination of the frameworks that resulted. More broadly, it can be argued that over the years, the field of organization development has incorporated collaborative research methods into the diagnostic phase of many of its methodologies.
Research institutes have been set up to house collaborative research, and all of the editors have been associated with such centers. For example, noting that practice was leading theory, and that academic studies were in danger of becoming irrelevant, Edward Lawler in 1979 established the Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) at the University of Southern California for the express purpose of setting up collaborative research relationships. In their foundational book Doing Research That Is Useful for Theory and Practice (Lawler, Mohrman, Mohrman, Cummings, & Ledford, 1985), Lawler and the other researchers at CEO argue that the greatest progress in the organizational sciences will occur when researchers bring strong theoretical and empirical perspectives to bear on the problems that companies are actually facing. They also advocate that the research be collaborative, with academics and practitioners working together with the joint goals of testing and advancing theory while contributing to and studying the changes that companies make to address complex problems. The FENIX Centre in Sweden was established in 1997 and had a similar mission. Its goals were to create a transdisciplinary program of research in management, to intensify collaboration between managers and researchers throughout the research process, to advance theory by linking research and action, to develop new collaborative research methodologies, to deliver scientific training to managers, and to more broadly influence the course of management research in universities. The organizational behavior department at Case Western Reserve University was founded in 1964 by Herb Shepard and became known for its action research and later appreciative inquiry methodologies, which encouraged students and faculty to work closely with organizations and systems in formulating research, theory, and action. Many other centers have been founded in universities and institutes around the world to address complex management problems, in some cases with a purposefully collaborative approach.
We are impressed with the growing influence of research programs that are addressing critical organizational and societal problems and at the same time furthering organizational theory and developing new research methodologies. For example, the collaborative work at Harvard of Wheelwright and Clark about new product development and of Cohen, Gibson, and Mankin at CEO about virtual teams have introduced frameworks that are in use in companies around the world. In England, academics such as Andrew Pettigrew and Paul Bate are applying the knowledge of the organizational sciences to transform the National Health Services and, in the process, engaging in many different research collaborations. Researchers at Case Western Reserve, FENIX, and many [Page xi]other academic institutions are engaging deeply with practitioners to understand, define, and learn how to achieve environmental sustainability. It is safe to say that the kinds of problems that these scholars are dealing with can be neither understood theoretically nor solved without combining theory and practice.
Today, more and more voices in the academic literature are calling for a shift in the way research is conducted. “Contemporary writings in the natural, social, and management sciences indicate some fundamental changes in the social production of knowledge” (Pettigrew, 2004). These changes center on who is involved in the knowledge production process, the types of available knowledge, new settings for data collection, and new opportunities for knowledge dissemination and use. The emerging changes in the nature of knowledge production rest on broad theoretical and empirical arguments that are anchored in the coevolutionary process between science and society (Gibbons et al., 1994; Hatchuel & Glise, 2004). These changes are being contested and debated in the natural, social, and managerial sciences. The historical model of research, in which the experimenter completely controls the variables that affect experimental outcomes, is still the dominant paradigm. Against this paradigm, researchers in the social sciences have learned that there can be no best way in which to frame, produce, disseminate, and use knowledge (Pettigrew, 2004). Moreover, we have begun to recognize that the methodologies and technologies that exist at a certain point in time are inadequate for addressing all the problems that are experienced at that moment, not to mention challenges that will appear in the future. The current millennium's social science concerns are increasingly focused on phenomena that are caused by complex interactions among variables that are not easily controlled by an experimenter. In these situations, it is recognized that methodologies will be required take into account such factors as human beliefs, aspirations, and whims. We believe that collaborative approaches to management research are an integral part of the emerging paradigms of research.
We (the editors) began our journey with the basic belief that broader and deeper collaboration between academic researchers, managers of organizations, union leaders (when they are a part of the system), management consultants, and other stakeholders can yield significant benefits to all parties involved. Researchers would have access to organizations to discover and test new theories and hypotheses, thereby advancing knowledge and using it to enhance undergraduate, graduate, and executive education. Managers would learn much more about how organizations function and new approaches to managing complex systems, thereby improving their individual and organizational performance. Managers, union leaders, and other stakeholders would learn how to enhance partnerships, and management consultants would gain access to new management knowledge and models that could become the basis for their practices—a key way that such knowledge becomes widely disseminated. Our discovery is that collaborative management research is even more powerful than we initially envisioned.
What we did not realize at the time we began this effort was how much we would learn about collaborative management research from our colleagues who have contributed manuscripts to this volume and how much we would learn from one another as editors. In essence, our collective efforts have begun to build a global collaborative research community that is framing the field of study, describing its evolution, illuminating its scientific discovery mechanisms, and shaping its present and future direction. The 30 chapters in this Handbook were written by 82 authors, conducting collaborative management research in [Page xii]13 countries, involving a wide variety of organizations and systems, in diverse industries and regions. Researchers involved in these studies came from 20 different universities and eight different research, training, or consulting institutions. The rich and diverse set of projects reviewed here, seen through the lenses of a multidisciplinary group of researchers, led to the discovery that our contributors have very different ideas about what constitutes collaborative management research. Nevertheless, all share a common belief in the merit of collaborative management research as a scientific discovery process that generates knowledge relevant to both science and practice.
We have had internal debates about the wisdom of calling this collaborative management research. Some of us were focused on for-profit organizations, while others were concerned about broader community, regional, and global issues. In some of these larger, more complex systems, it would be difficult to identify who the “manager” of the system is; and yet, the processes that shape how these systems operate can be influenced and therefore, to some extent, “managed.” We decided to use the term management to refer to intentional efforts to influence a system (any system) toward its purposes and goals. Actors of all kinds, individuals and groups, aspire to influence the behavior or performance of a given organization, and thus are engaged in managing the system, even if they are not officially designated as “managers.”
Researchers are actors who aspire to understand and explain these same systems. Collaborative management research looks upon knowledge creation as a joint undertaking between researchers and managers. The basic premise is that scientific discourse is likely to benefit from the perspective of those applying management theories, and that managerial practice will benefit from more systematic research regarding which methods produce improvements in the operation of complex systems.
As this Handbook will demonstrate, collaborative management research requires skills and methodologies that may be new to the traditional researcher. Creating productive collaborative research partnerships that produce mutual benefits for scientists and practitioners requires that a great deal of effort be put into the relationship between the parties, the formulation of research plans and methods, and the interpretation, application, and diffusion of results. As it turns out, these things are more easily said than done. Despite these hurdles, we believe that collaborative management research provides perhaps the most promising new approach to advancing knowledge of how to make organizations and systems more effective in an increasingly competitive and chaotic (some would say dangerous) world.
Existing research methods have not provided the needed knowledge, and while there is no guarantee that collaborative management research will do so either, it is our hope that this new collection of methodologies will advance our ability to make the contributions to knowledge and practice that are so badly needed. We consider the development of sound approaches to collaborative research to be a work in progress. Toward that end, this Handbook offers both theoretical contributions and empirically based findings about the ways in which collaborative management research can be designed and managed. Our contributors provide guidance concerning a variety of ways to build boundary-spanning knowledge-creation processes through new types of partnerships, and they offer empirical results that were obtained through interventions in organizations and complex systems. From working with individuals to groups to organizations and regions, our contributors have demonstrated the usefulness of collaborative management research methods in a wide variety of settings.
[Page xiii]This Handbook is a stimulus for continued dialogue, rather than a complete description of the methodology. Our wish is that students of management and organization studies, academics, managers, union leaders, consultants, policy makers, and change agents will find it to be a valuable resource for research, learning, reflection, and practice. Our purpose will have been achieved if the dialogue begun here continues and collaborative research approaches evolve and become much more common, thus stimulating further application of these methods to organizational and global issues.References[Page xiv](2004). Collaborative research in organizations: Foundations for learning, change, and theoretical development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage., , &(1994). The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446221853, , , , , &(2004). Rebuilding management. In N.Adler, A. B. (Rami)Shani, & A.Styhre (Eds.), Collaborative research in organizations: Foundations for learning, change, and theoretical development (5–22). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage., &Lawler, E., Mohrman, A. M., Mohrman, S. A., Cummings, T., & Ledford, G. (Eds.). (1985). Doing research that is useful for theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(2004). Some challenges of collaborative research. In N.Adler, A. B. (Rami)Shani, & A.Styhre (Eds.), Collaborative research in organizations: Foundations for learning, change, and theoretical development (xv-xviii). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dedications and Acknowledgments[Page xv]
All knowledge builds on the pillars that have been established by those who came before. We dedicate this book to many sage individuals whose work helped shape us and our deep concern with collaborative research. We clearly cannot name all those whose work was instrumental in the shaping of our views and professional aspirations, but we will name a few in honor of the many.
- Kurt Lewin, for his pioneering work in action research.
- Herbert Simon, for introducing and evolving the notion of the sciences of the artificial.
- Eric Rhenman, whose work helped shape the Scandinavian School of Management and its collaborative management research approach.
- Einar Thorsrud, who, with Fred Emery, Eric Trist, and other Tavistock researchers, initiated collaboration between researchers, unions, and industry in the democratization of working life.
- Yvonna Lincoln and Egon Guba, who helped us understand just how collaborative research can and should be, and made it clear that while there is a place for objective and detached research in the sciences, there is just as important a place for inquiry that involves collaboration.
We also acknowledge and thank institutions where we have been privileged to carry out our work and test our ideas. In many cases, the very existence of these institutions was the work of one or more visionary individuals. Heartfelt thanks go to the following:
- The Department of Organizational Behavior in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, for the faculty's willingness to support innovative approaches to research and intense collaboration with organizations as a way of helping people learn how complex systems really work. It has provided a remarkable environment for ongoing stimulating discussions about scientific inquiry and learning in and around the workplace.
- The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), which has always engaged with Swedish industry. Under the leadership of Per Jonas Eliaeson, the school entered a long-lasting relationship with the Chalmers University of Technology by establishing IMIT (the Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology), with the expressed aim of carrying out collaborative research with industry and researchers in both management and engineering.
- Flemming Norrgren and Horst Hart, who, despite many challenges, have protected, developed, and established the collaborative management research agenda in Sweden through the Gothenburg Centre for Work Sciences, the Centre for Organizational Renewal (CORE), and the FENIX Centre for Innovations in Management.
- The Center for Effective Organizations (CEO) at the University of Southern California and its founder, Edward Lawler, who bucked the U.S. trend toward purely positivistic research and set up an institution dedicated to collaborative research in pursuit of advances in theory and practice. [Page xvi]
- The Center for Management Studies, CGS at l'Écoles des Mines de Paris under the leadership of Armand Hatchuel, for their continuous innovative and inspiring work to push the boundaries of collaborative management research.
- Mercer Delta Consulting for continuing to value research as a part of consulting.
- The Management Group at Orfalea College of Business, CalPoly, who provided the support and inspiration in searching for ways to bring management practice into academic programs and in the continuous search for the integration of theory and practice via the “learning by doing” philosophical orientation.
We are also grateful to Hilary Bradbury and Peter Reason, who have established a journal and edited handbooks that build a community of practice in the area of action research. Similarly, the establishment of Human Relations by the Tavistock institute, and Dick Woodman's leadership and dedication first as coeditor of the long-standing series Research on Organizational Change and Development and more recently as editor of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, have played a large role in providing publishing outlets for this work, and thus in making it possible for it to be carried out by academics.
We also thank the many, many companies with which we have been privileged to work. There are far too many to list, but rest assured that we understand that collaborative research can only occur if there are individuals in companies willing to pioneer this approach, and interested in finding out what companies and academics can do together to make work and society better for all.
We have been blessed with incredible colleagues, only some of whom are represented among the authors in this volume. There are far too many to list, but you know who you are. Having collaborated, we carry around a bit of each other as we proceed through life. We are grateful that our work and lives have intersected.
Books are clearly not produced without collaboration with our very critical colleagues who help behind the scenes and make everything go so much more smoothly than it would if only academics were involved. Special recognition goes to
- Anita Söderberg-Carlsson, at SSE, for managing the project and the manuscript, and for dealing with the numerous contingencies that are bound to happen in a project containing 82 authors and 30 contributions.
- Arienne McCracken, at CEO, for managing our Web site, which turned out to be a dynamic and well-used communication device for authors and editors.
- Kelly Olsson for her contribution as a linguistic editor. In this undertaking, comprising contributions of scholars from many countries, Kelly Olsson has done a much-appreciated job by ensuring that the authors' ideas will be readily discerned.
Our Sage editor (pun intended), Al Bruckner, has been tremendously important to this project, first by encouraging us to edit a handbook on this topic, and then by arguing persuasively for getting it out in a timely fashion. We are grateful to him for both contributions, as well as for his many substantive ideas and suggestions.
We are grateful to our authors, who delivered multiple drafts of contributions in support of our concern for the coherence of the book and our desire for the readers of this book to benefit from the rich experience and knowledge of each. Thank you to these many busy people for the timely and responsive turnaround of these contributions.
And finally, we acknowledge each other. In this process we have learned—about the topic of the book, collaborative management research; about collaboration across cultures, continents, time zones, institutional bases, [Page xvii]and life stages; and about ourselves and the limitations of our own assumptions. During this project, our team members have experienced births and deaths, and countless other transitions and traumas that are part of life. We are grateful to our families, who have borne the extra strain with us. We feel enriched by having worked together on this project for the past two years—and we, too, will happily carry a bit of each other with us as we proceed to our next opportunities and challenges.[Page xviii]
List of Tables[Page xix]
List of Figures[Page xxi]
About the Authors