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Management Research Seminar Series - Dennis Tourish

Management Studies in Crisis: Fraud, Misconduct and Meaningless Research

Date & Time

January 22, 2021


Link provided in reminder email the day before the event


Kathy Cunningham


***M.Sc. Students in Management, this event can count towards one of the six mandatory Research Seminars Series needed to attend (MGT6991).***

Dennis Tourish, PhD.

Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies, University of Sussex Business School

Research fraud and other forms of misconduct have led to the retraction of 131 articles that have been published in business and management studies. Beyond this, much of our research addresses trivial issues, is overly concerned with ‘developing theory’ and is written only or mainly to advance the careers of their authors. It is often meaningless verbiage. For example, none of the top tier journals published by the Academy of Management have published a substantive article addressing the Great Recession of 2008. This is a disgrace to our profession.

This presentation will address these issues, and offer an analysis of retractions in our field. I will also draw from six in-depth interviews: three with journal editors involved in retractions; two with co-authors of papers retracted because a fellow author committed research fraud; and one with a former academic found guilty of research fraud. Drawing on corruption theory, I suggest that a range of institutional, environmental and behavioural factors interact to provide incentives that sustain research misconduct. Lastly, I’ll suggest key steps we can take to improve the situation, including the need for each of us to reclaim a deeper sense of purpose in our research than simply publishing to satisfy the ever hungry beast of measurement and build our careers.

About the Speaker

Dennis Tourish is Professor of Leadership and Organization Studies at the University of Sussex Business School. He is the editor the journal Leadership, and author of the book Management Studies in Crisis: Fraud Deception and Meaningless Research, published by Cambridge University Press in 2019. He has also published the following paper, which stirred up a bit of a ‘debate’ in the pages of the journal:

Tourish, D. (2020) The triumph of nonsense in management studies, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 19, 99-109.

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