Beyond rigour and relevance: a critical realist approach to business education

Syed, Jawad and Mingers, John and Murray, Peter A. (2010) Beyond rigour and relevance: a critical realist approach to business education. Management Learning, 41 (1). pp. 71-85. ISSN 1350-5076


This article takes a critical realist perspective to understand the research–practice gap in the field of business and management. To investigate issues surrounding the rigour versus relevance debate, we examine how the divergent perspectives of scholars and practitioners can be bridged by a critical realist approach in relation to: (1) the research paradigm: instead of confining their research within methodological purism, scholars may need to deploy any research paradigm to investigate a phenomenon in its context, (2) context and causality: critical realism provides an ontological grounding for interpretivist research reaffirming the importance of a focus on context, meaning and interpretation as causal influences, (3) methodological rigidity: multiple research methods will be more important when addressing research–practice gaps since they are more receptive to interdisciplinary functions and contexts in time and space than traditional methodologies, and (4) ethical aspects of business research highlighting the need to engage with the knowledge agenda of not only the university but also society overall. The critical nature of management studies we contend also helps to explain why at least certain research–practice gaps can be treated as natural because of divergent preferences of scholars and practitioners.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version due to publisher's copyright restrictions.
Depositing User: Assoc Prof Peter Murray
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2010 11:00
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2013 05:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical management studies; critical realism; management education; research paradigms
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130203 Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930299 Teaching and Instruction not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1177/1350507609350839

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