Summer 2014 to Fall 2020
This project began unexpectedly in the Fall of 2014. The original idea came from the then Director of Research and Survey of EFMD, Ulrich Hommel who is also Professor of Finance at the EBS Business School in Germany. He invited Anne Tsui to form a senior scholar team to identify solutions to problems in business school research. We knew it would be difficult, but we agreed that it was worth a try. We agreed that this would be a community (not an EFMD) project with the goal to transform the research culture toward meaningful scholarship for the business and management research field. The following is a chronology of the major activities in the past four years. As is evident from the chronology, there was not a grand plan. We did not know what the future might unfold. It was like “crossing the river by touching the stones”1, one step at a time.
The formation of a team of 24 senior scholars from five business disciplines into a community for responsible research along with four institutional supporters is a miracle itself. We represent ourselves and are not representatives of our institutions. The team agreed that we would evaluate our progress on an annual basis. We should be ready and willing to end the project when progress does not suggest a promising future. We should avoid committing to a failing cause. The team worked primarily online with a face-to-face meeting every six months to discuss our activities and define the next step.
In Fall, 2018, we began to meet quarterly, with a combination of web-based meetings and face-to-face meetings, and in January 2019, RRBM transitioned into governance by a Working Board to generate new ideas, new energy and new initiatives. In July 2019, we held our first Global Summit on Responsible Research. The second annual IACMR-RRBM Responsible Research in Management award included a team of ten executives evaluating the top selections for their relevance to practice. The inaugural AMA-EBSCO Annual Responsible Research in Marketing award was also introduced. We ended the year with a special focus by the AACSB in an article published in BizEd.
After six years, we continued to take action steps to achieve Vision2030. While we are still not sure what the future will hold, there are encouraging signs. We are well aware of the difficulty of changing a complex inter-twined ecosystem that sustains the current research culture and practices for more than two decades. The team is cautiously optimistic because we have received favorable responses from many quarters and are seeing many related and important changes initiated by different groups, all aiming to improve either the credibility (by journals) or the usefulness (by associations or institutes) of research. By Fall, 2020, the community of 28 co-founders and 85 co-signers of the position paper, has increased to almost 1500 Endorsers and over 85 institutional partners.
The year 2020 has been a time of difficult challenges and ongoing stress for individuals and for the world, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, yet it has been a year of important milestones for RRBM. One important milestone is the revision of the AACSB accreditation standards to include the societal impact of a school’s research and teaching programs. Many top journals are calling for more responsible research and the Financial Times has published articles on responsible research and societal impact of business. Governance milestones for RRBM in 2020 included adoption of official organizational Bylaws, formal approval as a US IRS 501c3 non-profit, and election of new Working Board members and a new leadership team. All of these steps will help to guide the future of RRBM. We have reasons to feel optimistic that 2021 will be a year of recovery, renewal, and significant progress in public health, and in economic and social justice for all. The RRBM community will continue to work hard to encourage business researchers to pivot their scientific work toward the common good.
December 15th, 2020