View Thread

ASQ Virtual Special Issue on Responsible Research

  • 1.  ASQ Virtual Special Issue on Responsible Research

    Posted 11-21-2023 13:45

    ASQ is proud to publish award-winning work demonstrating Responsible Research. Thank you to Jennifer Howard-Grenville for curating this virtual special issue explaining RRBB and highlighting ASQ's award winners.

    ASQ Responsible Research in Management Awards Virtual Special Issue*

    Jennifer Howard-Grenville

    Since the inauguration of the Responsible Research in Management Awards in 2018, ASQ papers have eight times been among the winners or finalists of this prestigious recognition. Given annually to articles and books published in the field of management that exemplify the RRBM (Responsible Research in Business and Management) principles, these awards celebrate research that is exemplary in being both credible and useful to society.

    RRBM was founded with the vision of supporting and inspiring responsible business and management research that contributes to businesses and society, ultimately creating a better world. There are two critical features of responsible research.

    First, responsible research is credible, so its implications are grounded in robust social science. This is captured in RRBM's principles two through four, which articulate the value of both fundamental and applied research, the importance of multidisciplinary and pluralistic approaches, and the use of sound methodological approaches.

    ASQ's recognized articles exemplify credibility, representing the highest methodological standards and showcasing some novel approaches as well. Five of the eight articles use qualitative methods (DiBenigno, 2018; Howard-Grenville et al., 2017; Petriglieri, Ashford, and Wrzesniewski, 2019; Smith and Besharov, 2019; Wright et al., 2021), relying on field observations, in-depth interviews, and/or documents to establish a grounded perspective on people's experiences and the implications of these. The value of these methods is also showcased in the authors' abilities to render settings and topics not only transparent to readers but also compellingly complex, belying, like much of worklife itself, a tidy ending. For example, Petriglieri, Ashford, and Wrzesniewski (2019) explain in their account of how gig workers create their own holding environments, in the absence of ones provided by an organization, that

    a narrative of redemption and self-discovery appealed to our wish for a story of experience and resolution of anxiety, but it did not fit the data. Participants did not seem to have resolved their struggle even after decades of independent work. They instead saw that struggle as self-defining, a tortured bliss of sorts.

    In explaining what generates and sustains this "tortured bliss," this article takes us into the multiple worlds of many different gig workers and shows their diverse, ongoing, and sometimes incomplete journeys to be productive and find meaning in their work. Similarly, in Howard-Grenville et al. (2017), my coauthors and I document how chemists found that several different frames for "green chemistry" resonated with their peers, but as this very diversity among green chemists took hold, irreconcilable tensions arose. DiBenigno's article (2018) takes advantage of different organizational experiences to build theory through two cases (of four brigades studied) in which professionals were able to address goal conflict and enable soldiers to be both mentally healthy and mission ready. In sum, the papers using qualitative methods are credible because they use robust approaches for data collection and analysis, and also because they reveal the messiness and diversity so common in organizing and the people who do it.

    The three other winning articles in this list use quantitative (Odziemkowska, 2022; Yue, Wang, and Yang, 2019) or mixed method designs (Ranganathan, 2018). Equally compelling and creative as the qualitative research, the quantitative studies generate credible knowledge by using painstakingly assembled data to capture the phenomenon under study: commercialization of religious temples through the charging of fees (Yue, Wang, and Yang, 2019), and potentially fragile collaborations between firms and social movement organizations (Odziemkowska, 2022). Ranganathan (2018) used mixed methods to generate credible knowledge showing that first-time women workers at Indian factories can experience a 20-percent higher probability of retention if they are exposed to an experienced trainer. She established an understanding of the challenges facing first-time workers in this setting through observation, and then tested for the role of trainer experience in socializing and retaining these workers.

    Second, as already illustrated, responsible research is useful. RRBM principles five through seven establish what is meant by usefulness: research should involve stakeholders without compromising the integrity of the inquiry, have an impact on stakeholders, and be amenable to broad dissemination so that it can contribute to management scholarship that ultimately leads to better business practice and a better world.

    I invite you to read each paper in depth to truly appreciate their usefulness and the implications for business and society. You will be taken into settings that matter and move you. These include (in Wright et al., 2021) the floors of an Australian hospital emergency department (ED) during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak, where, through the work of doctors and nurses as custodians, the ED was maintained as a place of social inclusion at a time of great fear and risk. What is even more poignant is that this paper was finalized during the COVID-19 pandemic and holds many lessons for that time and beyond.

    Or, see how an organization founded in Cambodia in 2001, Digital Divide Data, overcame long odds to accomplish its dual business and social mission of training the country's most disadvantaged people and enabling them to work in higher paying jobs (Smith and Besharov, 2019). The tension between sustaining cultural institutions and embracing commercialization is laid bare in Yue, Wang, and Yang's (2019) article, in this case in an authoritarian regime, which is a form of government that (the authors remind us) more than one-third of the world's population lives under. Finally, Odziemkowska's (2022) paper will show you how and why collaborations between firms and moderate SMOs are complicated by their other linkages and audiences; it's difficult to make friends with your friends' enemies.

    Through their rigorous and creative methods, important settings, and implications for business, organizing, and society, all of these articles showcase responsible research. Opportunities abound to be inspired by these works and others that are examples of responsible business and management research. RRBM continues to support these awards, and nominations are currently open for the 2024 Awards. I hope you will join me in celebrating these articles and authors, and supporting scholarship that further illustrates responsible research principles.

    * The Responsible Research in Management Awards were cosponsored by IACMR between 2018 and 2021 and since 2021 have been supported by AOM Fellows.

    2018 winner: Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Andrew J. Nelson, Andrew G. Earle, Julie A. Haack, and Douglas M. Young, "'If Chemists Don't Do It, Who Is Going To?' Peer-driven Occupational Change and the Emergence of Green Chemistry

    2019 winner: Julia DiBenigno, "Anchored Personalization in Managing Goal Conflict between Professional Groups: The Case of U.S. Army Mental Health Care"

    2019 winner: Aruna Ranganathan, "Train Them to Retain Them: Work Readiness and the Retention of First-time Women Workers in India"

    2020 distinguished winner: Wendy K. Smith and Marya L. Besharov, "Bowing before Dual Gods: How Structured Flexibility Sustains Organizational Hybridity"

    2020 winner: Lori Qingyuan Yue, Jue Wang, and Botao Yang, "Contesting Commercialization: Political Influence, Responsive Authoritarianism, and Cultural Resistance"

    2020 finalist: Gianpiero Petriglieri, Susan J. Ashford, and Amy Wrzesniewski, "Agony and Ecstasy in the Gig Economy: Cultivating Holding Environments for Precarious and Personalized Work Identities"

    2021 finalist: April L. Wright, Alan D. Meyer, Trish Reay, and Jonathan Staggs, "Maintaining Places of Social Inclusion: Ebola and the Emergency Department"

    2022 winner: Kate Odziemkowska, "Frenemies: Overcoming Audiences' Ideological Opposition to Firm–Activist Collaborations"

    Christine Beckman
    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles CA