Network Debate – How Do You Make Managers Use Management Research?

26. Yes, managers are situated in the workplace and so are preoccupied with practical activities. Perhaps, an applied research approach might be better suited to managers who are looking for answers to workplace challenges, which is what applied research attempts to do. Managers may be more inclined to read such applied research that speaks to addressing specific managerial problems in the workplace.

27. Normally, managers have the attitude: BOSS is always correct. So it will be very hard to make a boss to listen to the subordinates.

28. Unfortunately, compulsory attendance of seminars often creates the opposite effect in some people and they are then resentful and resistant to suggested management improvements. By supplying them with reading materials on new methods of management, cuing them to future discussions of the material, and then discussing with them in a setting that comforts them and makes them seem to be in control will win them over faster than coercion.

29. Research has found that three factors drive performance: the work climate; the ways teams act together and things are done; and the engagement, commitment, and satisfaction of employees. Source – Mckinsey, Unlocking the potential of frontline managers

30. Continuing education of managers is a MUST. If they do not realize the necessity for reading the research articles and implement it in practice, then we do speak about bad managers. Those managers should promote education within an organization. Otherwise, such managers should be changed by a better one. I do agree that managers are busy people, but it is not an excuse dear X!

31. No. 2 has good points, but one must look at the psyche of the manager type. A lot of managers feel that they were promoted into managerial positions because of their skills either in managing people or managing projects. If this is their attitude, then they often see their position as self-affirming. In that case, anything that tries to tell them how to do or improve their job likely would be ignored.

Along with X’s suggestions, any reading material should immediately appeal to the sensibility or curiosity of the manager on the front cover. Scandalous tabloids use visual and grammatical cues to make the consumer want to read the story even while they tell themselves that it is rubbish. The “hook” reels in the reader.

Another suggestion is for the CEO or upper management who commissioned or recommended the research-based management book/pamphlet inform the managers that there will be an open discussion on the contents. Upper management can then assign someone to devise questions/topics to test the managers in one-on-one sessions or in departmental or group meetings to see if they read the material.

32 (This comment is made by the person who posed the initial questions) Dear 31 (above), I do agree with the view you expressed that the top management plays a salutatory role in making it imperative for managers for updating their knowledge. This is indeed so true. In fact, the culture of an organization is largely determined by the values espoused by the top and its attitude towards its customers and its employees. The top management can write knowledge updates as one of the KRAs (Key Result Areas) of all managers, which will compel them to read the latest knowledge. I have shared this with a number of practitioners in HR seminars, but I often find little understanding of the basic issues involved on their part.

33. I must contradict you – I have colleagues in industry who really are up-to-date on research because they have contacts with academia. (And vice-versa, academicians are aware of industry’s problems and wishes.) The connections between the two types of organizations are many, and growing, thanks partly to the creation of adjunct professorships, and industrial Ph.D. students who are employed by industry, have two supervisors (one academic, one industrial), take courses at the university, and work academically on an industrial problem.

34. Management researchers help to solve the problems too with suggested guideline for solving problems. Researchers are a useful team for the management but prior to researchers management should have & useful team in the form of the management committee. Member of management team has a special expertise of their areas & they are also acquainted with the working areas of the other programming plan of the company & in this line if management teams & researchers should join together in solving the problems of the management which may certainly give the better result of the working area & also may help to move to the expansion project of the business. This is my personal opinion.

35. I worked at a company that had a high employee dissatisfaction and turnover rate. They brought in a management consultant who spent three weeks watching how the company worked (2 office locations, 80 employees). He interviewed employees and managers in private to understand concerns, problems, and strengths. A month after analyzing both offices he informed the owner of the company and top management of where the problems were and what steps were needed to correct them. His recommendations were ignored and the company has continued to have a high attrition rate to this day.

36. I see the problem from a human communication perspective. As other colleagues have already pointed in this thread, managers are not scientists -and they are extremely busy people. The communication problem resides in to make them see in a clear and brief way how the results of your research are useful for their work. I imagine that the standard scientific paper or book is not the type of message that a typical manager reads. So you need a specific communication strategy, in which the main practical applications of your research are clear, brief and easy to understand. If you think that you don’t have those communication skills, a specialized journalist –someone who writes for a management magazine or business section of a newspaper, for example – should be helpful.

37. I think the administrators who manage the work of certain research groups, should be in addition to managers, researchers. I do not imagine a manager or administrator of research that is not aware or at least aware of reports executives who manage team leaders working to better locate the knowledge they have recently created. Besides the must be of such managers is to assist in the publication ideal type of work performed. Also not forget that the most important of his work is to contribute to such knowledge are of interest and immediate application (or as quickly as possible), in order to benefit people who require some newfound technology or innovated, or instrument, vaccine or drug created to treat, prevent or cure certain diseases of individual patients.

38. Pay attention not only on the positive, but the negative effects of the rapid development of knowledge, because the process of avalanche and opening on all sides the flow of information, create new values, but also, paradoxically, leads to the growth of ignorance.

The amount of new knowledge, which bombards us, is difficult to comprehend. It has long been a number of indicators such as the number of publications, the scientists used to assess the pace of development of science. Already it was noticed that since the eighteenth century, the number of scientific publications increased exponentially, doubling every 15 years. […] The result is that part of the newly created knowledge can not be consumed and is becoming lost only resource library serving the development of formal research careers. While another part is rapidly becoming obsolete. Confronting the dynamics of the development of science with the development of human intellectual ability, even supported by modern means of information processing, it must be said that it grows more slowly, which – to master the necessary knowledge – leads to a deepening of specialization and research, reducing overall erudition.

As a result of the exponential increase in the amount of scientific knowledge and with it, the information content and complexity of the artificial environment we are facing a serious crisis. We can define our ‘degree of understanding’, as the ratio of the information that the human intellect is able to store and use, to all the available information, and the ‘degree of ignorance’, as the analogous ratio covering the remaining knowledge that we are not able to use. “This phenomenon there is even more that is also growing complexity of information, increasing not only the difficulty of understanding it, but use because the specialist is able to deal with one particular issue, but he lacks discernment general, which could lead to negative unforeseen consequences of the action taken. (Eg. Medical malpractice.)

An unstoppable, massive flood of information in our time fills all the empty spaces, which in turn can lead to the fact that the majority of us now has less time than before. This includes information technology, the essence of which is the collection, storage, processing, transmission and use of any useful information, which also includes devices that allow better process and transmit information in more and more, with lower costs and increasingly shorter time, creates the danger of overwhelming excessive inflow of information and preventing the appearance of the paralysis efficient.

It all points to the need for knowledge management for its selection. An additional argument for the need for special management in this respect is to strive to prevent information loss and niepełnemu their use. The latter is referred to as “the viscosity of knowledge”, it is difficult to transfer out of the place in which it was developed which often leads to research for the known solutions.

Agreed with the points shared by Demetris.  Finding many managers like to read or attracted by “salesy” / “marketing” oriented management books instead of research-based / academic oriented management books.  Some of them commented research-based / academic oriented management books are too dried /academic/technical vs the “salesy” management books (a similar experience you might recall when we read the academic articles for the very first time).

Perhaps management researchers/writers/ publishers can repackage their contents to make it easier to read by practicing managers.  This is because practicing managers are too busy in their daily work & they need something they can absorb/learn fast & apply quickly in their work arena.

Moreover, it will be good for those management books to include many use cases that they can emulate quickly.  Also will be good for those management books to include summarized empirical evidence in figures/graphics or in summarized values so that practicing managers can better appreciate them.

40. (This comment is made by the person who posed the initial questions) Dear all. Thanks for your input. Indeed, some very interesting points have come up in the discussion so far. I appreciate the point made by A that managers are busy people and should get something easy to read and digest so as to be attracted to the research ideas.  Indeed, that has begun happening in the area of management.

Especially, several American academics have come out with easy-to-read books for managers and others, which managers act upon as well. This is happening since 1982 when the book “In Search of Excellence” by two McKenzie Consulting researchers came out, with some 5 million copies sold so far and still selling. The book meets the three requirements that B lists for motivating the managers. In fact, late Professor CK Prahalad observed that managers who do not know theory are not successful.

One important point has been raised by C and D. They say that if managers read and apply research in solving business problems, they would lose their jobs. I am not sure if that would be so. How do we compare that with research-based management development programs that are being conducted by some of the best business schools for managers, and for very high fees? Most of these programs are running with grand success, and top managers of leading organizations are being sent to attend these and learning from them.

41. Management researchers and managers do not operate separately. Many managers do employ researchers to help them make decisions. New (innovative) products arise from research, markets are determined through research, and political candidates employ survey agencies to determine their chances of winning the elections. Perhaps not all research (especially that conducted independently or critically) is used by managers. But these days, I believe managers have already uncovered the importance of research to management decision-making, and that makes R&D part of an organization.

Vibeke Vad Baunsgaard, Ph.D.
Vibeke Vad Baunsgaard, Ph.D.
Vibeke is Founder and CEO at ManageMagazine. Entrepreneur, lecturer and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Technology Sydney. Sociologist and Ph.D. in Organization Studies and Innovation Management. Passionate about facilitating a positive research impact through knowledge sharing and professional networks, an impact that will allow people to live out their highest, truest and fullest expression of themselves.




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