Ashridge Business School Kai Peters

Ashridge Business School Kai Peters

My angle – Kai Peters

Ashridge Chief Executive Kai Peters highlights the gulf between research that is purely academic and that which is read and acted upon by practising managers.

Peters, B.K.G, (2011) My angle, 360° The Ashridge Journal, Summer, pp. 2 – 3


My angle

I’ve written extensively about the gulf between the research which is conducted in many academic institutions and what is actually read and acted on by practising managers both in the mainstream press and in academic journals. There are clearly problems at both ends of the spectrum. Much of the purely academic literature is highly quantitative and often impenetrable to
non–academics. Some of it is brilliant. Some of it, alas, is not and is often incomprehensible even to academics. You can read entire articles and still not be sure what is being said and what has been concluded. You do, however, get the pleasure of looking at many statistical tables with titles such as: Figure 2: Estimated coefficients for the preliminary and proposed models (path analysis)! I’m not making the case that rigour is not important. I can, and have, launched a similar tirade against the simplistic airport books or popular strategy books of the Good to Great ilk which string together random anecdotes rather than apply a rigorous research methodology, whether quantitative or qualitative. I suppose that what I am after is a situation in which academics do sound research and where managers read that sound research. That is what we set ourselves as the goal for 360° — The Ashridge Journal. The mission is to conduct rigorous research which is relevant to managers.

Overall, we seem to be doing something right. A working paper entitled Business school rankings and business relevance has just appeared from EDHEC, a business school in France. The study measures the business school research that is covered by the Financial Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal and Business Week. In the study, Ashridge features as one of Europe’s top schools. In this edition of 360°, we hope that you will again fi nd articles which are rigorous and relevant. Dr. Gill Coleman writes about the need to bring together sustainability and change management. She presented an earlier version of this paper at a conference held at Ashridge in June to explore this interface. The feedback from both academic and business attendees at the conference was
that some really cutting edge work was being done here at the School. Dr. Andrew Day has a similar interest. His article explores how a focus on involving employees extensively in change management and in setting them the challenge of how to do things differently rather than in telling them what to do can be a very sensible approach. Karen Ward and Dr. Mary Jacobsen narrow the scope down and suggest that while one cannot involve everyone in everything, organisations need to concentrate on the needs and motivations of their most talented employees. My angle The Ashridge Journal My angle Summer 2011 Ashridge.