Below is a summary of the group’s yearly activities:
Year 1 – Fall 2014 to Summer 2015
This project had its seed in summer 2014 but formally began in fall 2014. The idea was to form a team of leading scholars in business schools to address the two major challenges of business school research: questionable research practices that reduce the quality and credibility of research findings and the gap between research and practice that renders unclear returns to research investments regarding actionable knowledge. The focus was on solutions and not on the further dwelling of the problems. Twelve months later, 18 senior scholars in four major disciplines in the business school joined the project. The team held their first meeting in Vancouver, Canada on August 10, 2015.
Year 2 – Fall 2015 to Summer 2016
In fall, 2015 the team decided to use the Delphi method to better understand the nature of the problems and to solicit ideas on solutions. We invited 35 scholars who have published papers on problems of business school research to participate in the Delphi study. Between November 2015 and April 2016, we conducted two rounds of Delphi with 27 authors participating in both rounds. Using the input from this Delphi, the team began writing a position paper outlining a vision for responsible research in business schools. The team discussed a draft of the paper at the fourth team meeting on August 8 in Anaheim, California. At this time, we decided to change the term “position paper” to “white paper”, so as not to imply a position but rather to present ideas for discussion and debate. By summer 2016, the team had 24 scholars representing all five major business disciplines (accounting, finance, management, marketing, operations) along with four institutional supporters (AACSB, EFMD, PRME, and Aspen-BSP). These 28 became the founding members of the community for responsible research in business and management (abbreviated as RRBM).
Year 3 – Fall 2016 to Summer 2017
We began creating the RRBM website to host the white paper, and as a platform to invite comments on the white papers from leading scholars and other stakeholders, and to express their support by co-signing the paper. Each member of the team identified and invited several senior scholars and relevant stakeholders to read and comment on the paper. A total of 88 responded out of 231 invitations with 80 agreeing to co-sign the paper. These 80 came from 70 universities in 21 countries, with 30 holding senior leadership positions at either the school or the university level. At the same time, the team began to organize panels at various business school association conferences and disciplinary professional association meetings for open discussion and debate of the ideas in the white paper. By the end of summer 2017, the white paper has been presented and discussed in more than 15 such settings. The team proposed and received approval to organize a special issue in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries on the topic “Sustainable Development for a Better World: Contributions of Leadership, Management and Organizations”. The team also approved a proposal on creating an Award for Responsible Research in Management from the International Association for Chinese Management Research.
Year 4 – Fall 2017 to Summer 2018
The consultation of the white paper ended September 30, 2017,and the team finalized the white paper in the next two months. We developed a brief executive version for public reading while the long version is for the scholarly community that would appreciate a fuller discussion of the rationale for the vision of responsible research and how to implement the ideas. We redesigned the website as a platform for open reading of the white paper, for pledging support and joining the RRBM community as individual endorsers or as institutional partners. We also welcome suggestions on effective approaches to bring about the transformation through writing blogs or letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. This website www.rrbm.network opened on January 1, 2018, with a 2 minute video, both the 15-page and 2-page version of the position paper, a section on supporters, a section on actions (including featuring pioneer schools, and journals special issues), a section on readings (articles and media news, and blogs) and a section “about us”. In winter 2017, in collaboration with the International Association for Chinese Management Research, we developed a “Responsible Research in Management” Award to recognize published empirical research studies that exemplify the principles of responsible research. A total of 32 articles and two books won the award. In May 2018, we began publishing “Voices” a bimonthly newsletter, highlighting the key news and updates of RRBM activities.
Year 5 – Fall 2018 to Fall 2019
By the beginning of Fall 2018, the founding members have presented about RRBM in over 60 regional and international conferences. With the growth and a multitude of projects, the founding members realized that we needed to expand the resources to pursue all the promising activities. Thus, in January of 2019, the founding members decided to transition governance to a Working Board committee made up of existing and new members. The action was taken to generate new ideas, energy, and initiatives to delineate Vision2030 into malleable, action steps that would allow for continued knowledge building and creativity. In 2019, we had the second annual Responsible Research in Management Award, and inaugurated the responsible research award in operations management and in marketing. We held our first Global Summit on Responsible Research, an invitation-only event in collaboration with RRBM’s institutional partner Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, in The Netherlands on July 1. Three RRBM Working Board members were among the judges for the submissions to the special report in the Financial Times.
Year 6 – Fall 2019 to Fall 2020
Fall 2019 saw a major event among the top ten business schools in China. They held the first Chinese Deans’ Responsible Research Summit on December 12, 2019 to mobilize their schools to focus on “Management Research for a Better Society.” The Coronavirus pandemic arrived in early 2020 and we pivoted to online activities like the rest of the world. The 2020 Responsible Research Summit was held virtually. We continued with the annual Responsible Research Award in Management, in Marketing and in Operations Management. The European Finance Association launched its annual best conference paper in Responsible Finance. The RRBM webinar series started with a string of ten successful webinars between the months of June and December. One of our founding institutional partners, AACSB published revised accreditation standards with the largest change focusing on the incorporation of societal impact in each school’s mission, research, teaching, and outreach activities. Many journals have initiated special issues calling for research on societally important topics, or publishing editorials about the need for responsible research. In terms of governance, the Working Board developed and approved the Bylaws and obtained approval as the US IRS 501c3 educational non-profit public charity status. We had our first nomination and election of new Working Board members. Seven members retired, seven members were re-elected for a second term, and four new members were elected, for a total of 20, consistent with the new Bylaws. The 20 members include nine whose current terms have not expired. The WB elected five new officers whose term will begin July 1, 2021. With four new board members and five new officers, RRBM is infused with new blood and new ideas. 2020 was a year of much suffering by people from all over the world. RRBM with our partners and stakeholders in the research eco-system picked up momentum and reached a number of significant milestones. Our gratitude to all who contributed to the progress made in the past twelve months.
Year 7 – Fall 2020 to Fall 2021
Like any other organization, RRBM treaded on uncertain waters in 2021 and went online for all its activities. RRBM sponsored almost 30 webinars and held two virtual summits. The first summit “Responsible Research Academic Summit” had 199 participants representing the primary stakeholders of deans, editors, association leaders, senior and junior scholars, and doctoral students. The 86 participants of the second summit, the fourth annual “Responsible Research Roundtable” were 53% academics and 47% society stakeholders. Both summits focused on identifying actionable ideas to transform business research for the common good. The Responsible Research in Management Award changed sponsorship from the International Association for Chinese Management Research to the Academy of Management Fellows Group. In addition to webinars, two new initiatives targeted at doctoral students were introduced by RRBM. One was the first globally open online doctoral course on the Philosophical Foundations of Responsible Research. The course was held in the fall in partnership with the Arizona State University and the Hong Kong Baptist University. These two separate offerings enabled participation by students around the world. The second new initiative was the RRBM Dare to Care Doctoral Dissertation Scholarship, offering up to eight scholarships of US$10,000 each. The scholarship aims to support doctoral research that addresses various forms of justice in organizations, including economic, racial, gender and racial. December 2021 marked the end of seven years since efforts began to form a multi-disciplinary global team to explore solutions to address the relevance and credibility crises in business and management research. 2021 ended with a paper (to be published in the January 2022 issue of Global Focus) summarizing some small wins and important milestones over the seven years. The paper calls for bolder actions in 2022 and beyond to achieve Vision2030.