Making sense with our stakeholders: Engaged scholarship as a vision and method for the Centre for Business and Society

Making sense with our stakeholders: Engaged scholarship as a vision and method for the Centre for Business and Society

Presented by Dr Julia Rouse, Director of the Centre for Business and Society at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Research Wednesdays @ MMU

March 05, 2014


  1. Engaged Scholarship: Vision and Method for the Centre for Business

    and Society? Dr Julia Rouse Director /
  2. CBS: A Knowledge Hub Facilitating Clusters Within MMUB&L To :

    •  Bring together academics, students and ‘real world’ partners to make sense of the key challenges facing contemporary business and society. •  Innovate in teaching, research and knowledge exchange. /
  3. Clusters Reflect: •  Academic expertise and passion •  The knowledge

    needs of our external partners to build a sustainable future. •  Mapped onto: key funding opportunities. /
  4. Clusters Emerging Centre for Business and Society o  Business of

    Sport o  Digital marketing o  Financial planning o  Gender o  PAAFE o  Project management o  Public relations o  SEEG o  Supply chain management o  Others emergent o  Centre for Enterprise o  Creativity and entrepreneurship o  Centre for People and Performance o  Work psychology o  Leadership o  Centre for Retail, Place and Consumer Change o  Consumer behaviour
  5. What is Research For? (Provocation!) “Publication is no longer a

    public good, it is about private benefit. Publication is not about making a difference in the world in some long-mythologised high-minded sense; it is about corporate and individual gain.” •  Campbell, 2012 /
  6. How sustainable is this? “If you want to promote someone

    you weigh their publications, if you don’t want to promote them you read their publications.” “On this basis, perhaps publication is not merely lots of words, but lots of self-interested words.” •  Campbell, 2012.
  7. The problem: the power of knowledge evaporates in the traditional

    dissemination model Unsurprising when you look at the lengthy, meandering, circuitous course it must trace?
  8. The methodological advantage of Engaged Scholarship •  It is about

    humility in one’s own limitations and profound respect for other kinds of knowledge producers.
  9. “The scholarship of engagement means connecting the rich resources of

    the university to our most pressing social, civic and ethical problems, to our children, to our schools, to our teachers and to our cities. . . . I have this growing conviction that what’s also needed is not just more programs, but a larger purpose, a sense of mission, a larger clarity of direction in the nation’s life.” —Ernest Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate
  10. Engaged Scholarship: Stepping Out Engaged scholarship is at base a

    process by which we academics participate with other scholars, other stakeholders and other practitioners — all of whom have different points of view. Making sense together. /
  11. Stepping Out To Address Context-Specific ‘Wicked’ Problems “specific understanding of

    a topic in its indigenous setting provides the opportunity for abductive grounded theory building in which a scholar moves up the ladder of abstraction to find the general case and situations of which the concrete instance is a part. Moving down the ladder of abstraction, application and refinement of this general theoretical knowledge requires knowing the theory’s boundary conditions and how it can be adapted to or embedded in the specific local context being investigated.” (Van de Ven and Jing, 2012)
  12. Van de Ven, 2007

  13. 4 Elements •  Problem formulation •  Theory Building - Develop

    and test alternative models to address the research question. •  Research Design - You collect evidence that allows you to compare the models. •  Problem Solving - You communicate and apply the findings in ways that encourage their use in the real world
  14. Challenging, Time Consuming, Enlightening, Useful…… “Engagement begins with ‘Hi, hello,

    how are you? Nice to see you.’ It begins with such a relationship and blossoms into an opportunity to engage more deeply in a problem or object of study than we could by ourselves.” (Van de Ven at London Business School)
  15. Protecting Independence and Rigour •  Van de Ven’s solution: Arbitrage.

    –  exploiting differences in distinct modes of knowledge (academic and practitioner). “it’s not that our points of view have to agree. Instead it’s to recognise that our different points of view can be arbitraged. And each of us gains a different and richer understanding of what the problem is and different ways to attack it.” (Van de Ven).
  16. Engaged Scholarship depends on: •  Articulating common values and interests

    –  We must all conform (at least in part) to our organizational contexts •  Creating a shared language –  Not privileging the academic perspective through language domination •  Constructing a space for reflection –  Requires commitment •  Barge et al., 2008.
  17. Conflict Resolution in Intellectual Arbitrage Suppressing conflict defeats the purpose

    of the pluralistic collective. Task conflict is encouraged. Personal conflict is to be avoided.
  18. Everyone stepping out all the time? “Among faculty members, you

    should have some who are guided principally by the science and others guided principally by the practice. It’s an energising mix.” •  Van de Ven, presenting to the London Business School.
  19. Supporting Teaching Producing socially responsible students who are able to

    engage with the critical problems of our times. “Despite the relatively low esteem associated with classroom contact, such spaces may prove at least as fertile ground for scholarly endeavour as a windowless conference room in some downtown Hilton” •  Campbell, 2012 /
  20. How Far To Go With Engaged Scholarship?

  21. Must Be Embedded in Reward and Resource Systems •  How

    could MMU do this better?