Chinese Business Deans’ Summit on Responsible Research
Based on news in the IACMR’s (www.iacmr.org) December 2019 issue of Bimonthly Briefing, and the Chinese websites of Peking University Guanghua School of Management, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, and Zhejiang University School of Management
Business and management schools worldwide should make contributions to societal well-being, and business and management scholarship should be central to solving society’s challenges, With such vision in mind, Professor Anne Tsui, Founding President of IACMR, together with 27 leading scholars of five disciplines from 10 countries, jointly founded the community of Responsible Research for Business and Management (RRBM) in 2015 and wrote the position paper on Vision 2030 (released in November 2017 on www.rrbm.network). RRBM is dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and supporting credible and useful research in the business and management disciplines.
Echoing the first Global Summit of RRBM, the Chinese management community has launched a campaign. Initiated by the business/management schools of Peking University, Fudan University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University, as well as the International Association for Chinese Management, the first Chinese Summit on the theme of ‘Management Research for a Better Society’ was hosted by the School of Management at Zhejiang University on December 12, 2019, in order to take the first and firm step to realize Vision 2030 and to pursue responsible research. The deans and associate deans from the top ten business/management schools in China reached a consensus on the importance of promoting responsible research and made a joint commitment to take the lead among business/management schools in China to transform research toward responsible science and produce credible knowledge that is ultimately useful for addressing problems important to business and society.
- Fudan University, School of Management
- Harbin Institute of Technology, School of Management
- Nanjing University, School of Management
- Peking University, Guanghua School of Management
- Renmin University of China, Business School
- Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Antai College of Economics and Management
- Tsinghua University, School of Economics and Management
- University of Science and Technology of China, School of Management
- Xi’an Jiaotong University, School of Management
- Zhejiang University, School of Management
Representatives from the Ministry of Education, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), China Academy of Management, and Management World and Economic Research also attended the Summit and witnessed the joint commitment ceremony of the deans.
An Action Plan was released after the Summit. The deans agreed to take action to encourage research to solve the practical problems of social development in China. Inspired by the Responsible Research in Business and Management, they agreed to follow three principle: Service to Society, Impact on Stakeholders, and Sound Methodology. Based on these three principles, the participants committed to taking concrete actions in the areas of talent training, scientific research, faculty development and management system, guided by “management research for service of society.”
Deans of the ten business schools of the C9+ universities in China, joining hands to announce the Action Plan of “Management Research for a Better Society.” From the left: Hong LIU, Party Secretary (representing Dean Kunrong SHEN) of the School of Management, Nanjing University; Yugang YU, Dean of the School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China; Qiang YE, Dean of the School of Economics and Management, Harbin Institute of Technology; Fangruo CHEN, Dean of the Antai School of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Xiongwen LU, Dean of the School of Management, Fudan University; Jiang WEI, Dean of the School of Management, Zhejiang University; Qiao LIU, Dean of the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University; Yubo CHEN, Executive Vice Dean (representing Dean Chong-En BAI), School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University; Gengzhong FENG, Dean of the School of Management, Xian Jiaotong University; Hua SONG, Vice Dean (representing Dean Jiye MAO) of the Business School, Renmin University of China.
Chinese Dean’s Action Plan
for “Business and Management Research for a Better Society”
December 12, 2019
This Action Plan represents the common understanding that business and management research should serve the needs of a society among the deans of management/business schools of China’s C9+ universities, including Fudan University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Peking University, Renmin University of China, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University, as well as the editors of important Chinese management journals, Chinese management associations, and other scholarly organizations.
Our Common Understanding
Business and management research is the road to meeting the needs of our society and improving the prosperity of all citizens.
After 40 years of China’s economic reform, Chinese management scholars have made tremendous progress in publishing articles in top-tier international management journals, in refining research methodology, and in training young scholars. While the last 40 years have been a catch-up period for Chinese scholars to be on par with their European and Northern American counterparts, many Chinese scholars today can proudly claim that they are no longer just following their foreign academic colleagues’ footsteps, rather they are racing with them. However, another set of urgent questions have arisen: What are the purposes of management research? Why do we focus on these phenomena, but not others? The inherent value orientation of social sciences seems particularly relevant today because we observe that Chinese management studies are drifting further and further away from helping to understand and solve real organizational problems in China.
It is based on this collective consciousness that the management and business schools of China’s C9+ universities drafted the current Action Plan. We view this as a first step towards re-establishing, within the Chinese management research community, the common awareness that the purpose of management research is not just to propose another theory or to publish another paper, but more importantly to explain social realities and improve organizational practices for the benefit of the people in a society. Relating research to existing theories is a commonly accepted pattern for making an academic contribution, but this may bind scholars within the network of existing. We contend that the ultimate source of legitimacy of Chinese management research is illustrated by not only publishing in internationally accredited journals, building top-level research teams, or constructing first-rate academic disciplines. Rather, it should be shown in the effectiveness of the explanations we can offer to understand and address China’s organizational problems. Let us root our research firmly within the needs and deeds of Chinese business; let us, also, concentrate on educating future managers who will lead Chinese businesses. These, we think, are the real missions of China’s management and business schools.
On December 12, 2019, advisors from the Ministry of Education and the National Natural Sciences Foundation, deans and associate deans of management/ business schools in the C9+ universities, editors of Management World 《管理世界》，Economic Research《经济研究》, important Chinese management journals, and representatives of important Chinese and overseas academic organizations, convened in Hangzhou to participate in the “Business Research in Service of Society” Summit, and to discuss how Chinese management research may serve the Chinese society. This “Action Plan of Business and Management Research for a Better Society” is the consensus reached at the end of the meeting.
Three Common Principles for “Business and Management Research for a Better Society”
Business and Management Research for a Better Society refers to management studies that are based on established scientific paradigms and research methodologies, and it aims at bettering society through improving managerial practices. It is inspired by the global movement “Responsible Research in Business and Management (www.rrbm.network)” initiated by 28 founding members, among them are the deans of three leading business schools in China (Fudan University School of Management, Peking University Guanghua School of Management, and Zhejiang University School of Management).
Business and Management Research for a Better Society offers three principles to guide in our implementation of our Action Plan.
Principle 1: Serve the needs of society. We call for exploratory theory advancement research in pioneering fields as well as problem-driven research that addresses major societal issues. We encourage researchers to generate new management and business insights which add to the current stock of knowledge in fundamental ways and, ultimately, benefit China’s current and future socio-economic development.
Principle 2: Adopt a sound scientific methodology. Whether the research is qualitative or quantitative, theoretical or empirical, it must follow rigorous scientific research methods and procedures. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of sound scientific methodology to produce reliable results and credible knowledge.
Principle 3: Generate a positive impact on all stakeholders. We propose that business and management research should connect the researcher and the researched in mutually beneficial ways. Stakeholders of management research such as firms or government bodies that generously offer research funding or accesses should be able to benefit directly from the researchers’ knowledge creation. In this way, the researcher and the researched collaborate in applying new knowledge into practices.
Proposed Actions for Promoting Business and Management Research for a Better Society
Following the above principles, all parties that participated in discussing and releasing this Action Plan are committed to taking actions that include, but are not limited to, student education, faculty development, higher education administration, and research management. Management and business schools, in particular, find themselves in the frontlines of initiating the following necessary changes.
Action 1: We will improve the post-graduate curriculum to encourage students to conduct more societally beneficial management research.
Action 2: We will improve the faculty evaluation system to encourage faculty members to conduct management research that will identify business practices for a better society.
Action 3: We will increase the weight on societally oriented management research in the assessment, recruitment, and promotional policies for faculty members.
Action 4: We will initiate new policies to strengthen the collaborative relationships between researchers and their research stakeholders.
Action 5: We will initiate new policies to emphasize the values of societal service in research grant assessments, dissertation reviewing, and research outcome evaluations.
Action 6: We will jointly explore and optimize the administrative systems that are best suited to promote management research for a better society.
Executing Management Research for a Better Society
All parties that participated in discussing and releasing this Action Plan will incorporate the above principles and actions in their respective management routines. We promise to seek real changes towards management research for a better society by improving the systems, policies, procedures, and initiatives in more detailed ways within our respective fields, and by working together to ensure cross-field consistency and compatibility. We will report our work progress in the next annual Summit.