Mitigating risks, visible hands, inevitable disasters, and soft variables: Management research that matters to managers

Eric W. Ford, W. Jack Duncan, Arthur G. Bedeian, Peter M. Ginter, Matthew D. Rousculp, Alice M. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Management researchers lament the fact that their work has so little impact on management practice. Practicing managers, so it is claimed, search for knowledge that will help them improve organizational performance but rarely consult the work of university-based researchers - Work that they often find incomprehensible and irrelevant to their day-to-day challenges. Researchers assert that rather than being interested in systematic and long-term solutions, managers are generally infatuated with the latest fads and fashions in their search for quick fixes. We contend that management research can matter to managers, but for this to occur requires mutually beneficial partnerships involving managers and researchers, as well as the support of their organizations. To support our contention, we illustrate the importance of practice-relevant management research by drawing on four important contributions to management understanding that were prompted by the organizational experiences of a group of inquiring managers and curious researchers. Together these illustrations not only demonstrate how partnerships between practicing managers and management researchers can yield practice-relevant knowledge, but also provide insights into enhancing the likelihood that productive encounters will occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Engineering Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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