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Coping with Institutional Complexity: Responses of Management Scholars to Competing Logics in the Field of Management Studies

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Schiller-Merkens,  Simone
Soziologie des Marktes, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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SJM_31_2015_SchillerMerkens.pdf
(Publisher version), 697KB

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Citation

Bullinger, B., Kieser, A., & Schiller-Merkens, S. (2015). Coping with Institutional Complexity: Responses of Management Scholars to Competing Logics in the Field of Management Studies. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(3), 437-450. doi:10.1016/j.scaman.2015.02.001.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-A0AF-8
Abstract
In contrast to existing studies on the issue of the rigor—relevance gap, we do not discuss in this article how to bridge it but analyze the responses of management scholars to it. Referring to institutional theory, we argue that the gap is related to different logics of research aimed at scientific progress (basic research) or at relevant knowledge (applied research). Analyzing publications in leading scholarly and practitioner-oriented management journals between 1961 and 2010, we identify a variety of responses. Management scholars address the demand for relevance by providing implications-for-practice sections and the development of approaches for the production of relevant knowledge. Most of them believe that the dominant logic of basic research integrates the demand for both rigor and relevance. However, we find evidence for the existence of competing logics: researchers do not base applied research on their basic research, and they tend to publish applied research in later periods of their careers. We conclude that compartmentalization is the dominant response strategy of management researchers.