Frequently Asked Questions
In the EMR format for empirical papers, the main body requires a section for Findings and Lessons for Practice. What is the difference between Findings and Lessons for Practice?
The Findings section is mainly for the "facts" and evidence what the researcher found. The Lessons for Practice serves a different function. In the Lessons for Practice, the author needs to translate the research findings into actionable insights in the form of how and why statements expressed in active voice in a format that is usable by the practitioner. This means that the EMR author needs to convey a contextual understanding of the problem of practice—the issue or situation that motivates the research was done in the first place—such that the recommendations for how a practitioner would use research are realistic, informative, and make sense. The findings, however need to be connected to the evidence provided; they cannot speculate nor make assumptions not included in the findings section.
Consider, for example, the following hypothetical situation. Let's say the author’s research is about the negative effects of information overload on knowledge workers. One of the findings in this hypothetical study is that knowledge workers who experience overload do not produce the quality of sense-making necessary to solve complex, wicked problems. Yet, a typical, simplistic recommendation in the lessons section might be worded something like "Managers should not overload workers."
This kind of "Lesson for Practice" is neither realistic, informative, nor does it make any practical sense. Instead, the author should locate himself or herself into the day-to-day world where he or she lives and speak directly to the issues how a manager can apply these findings in their organizational context or domain in which the findings have salience.
Here is one alternative. Let's say the author’s full-time job is being a reporter working for a major newspaper like the New York Times or Washington Post (the company is unimportant for this example), and the author. A much better Lessons for Practice, given the "overload" findings, might look like this:
"Managers in a newspaper environment faced with frenzied daily production schedules can improve their reporter's production of useful and interesting stories based on these findings. Task and information overload are a common and expected situation in this business. But the manager can apply techniques informed by these findings that could alleviate the overload challenge. First, managers could have a conversation with reporters to find out how they spend their time, what they think the challenges are in getting their stories assigned, started and completed. As the manager has these conversations with each employee, the manager will increase his or her situational awareness of the varied tempo of writing operations. Armed with such situational awareness, the manager could maintain better awareness of the status of the reporter's progress, and act as an advocate to reduce sources of overload. Once employees are aware that the manager is available, is responsive, and can deliver on requests to alleviate sources of overload, the reporters will be able to focus on the deeper aspects of his or her work. The manager being able to sense the status of overload for his or her reporters, is then in a better position to prioritize story writing for the next day's newspaper, with fuller foresight for the quality of the story. Accordingly, the manager can also use "story depth" instead of "who completes the story first" as a decision criterion for the production thereby increasing the quality of the outlet."We have found, not surprisingly that executive doctoral students or especially recent alumni who write about their own research have the most difficult times in addressing effectively the Lessons for Practice section. This is probably due to ‘fixed’ cognitive framing resulting from education in the scholarly mode which does not ask effectively ‘so what?’ questions. So, there is a need to play careful attention to practice lessons section and separate that from the evidence and findings section.
- Lessons for Practice contain recommendations for the management practitioners. They have to be written in a language that the practitioner can internalize and operationalize in action. Since the audience of EMR is primarily practitioner-scholars, (EDBAC (Executive DBA Council)-affiliated students, alumni and faculty) as well as well-informed practitioners usually without a doctoral degree, the Findings also have to be written in a language that outlines for the EMR reader the logic how the recommendations in the Lessons for Practice have emerged. Since the Lessons for Practice are in the practitioner voice, the Findings must also be in that format in order to facilitate the EMR reader’s understanding of how the Findings motivated articulating the Lessons for Practice. The author can freely use the scholarly voice in the obligatory Appendix on Methods written for scholars as to provide technical and methodological details that justify the credibility of the Findings section.
If I have conducted a quantitative study, how do I transform my quantitative findings reported in a scholarly way and following statistical inference standards and related reporting requirements into the EMR format, which requires both a story-like narrative form and the practitioner voice for findings section?
The key to transforming the findings expressed in the format of scholarly-written research—whether quantitative or qualitative—into a practitioner voice is about placing yourself into the world and sense-making of the practitioner. We have found that this is especially challenging for quantitative research though the author has the opportunity and duty in the obligatory Appendix on Methods to provide such technical and methodological detail in the scholarly voice for quantitative analysis and evidence giving.
The best way to illustrate the transformation from a scholarly-to-practitioner voice is to provide an example. The example provided here of the transformed practitioner voice is not complete, nor does it reflect the content of any EMR published article. It serves merely as a guideline intended to provide a more concrete sense of the difference between practitioner and scholarly voice in reporting findings of a quantitative research study.
Examine the following PDF file for an example of a baseline scholarly report on quantitative findings: “Findings_Scholarly Voice_Example.”
Compare this with the PDF file which reports the same content of the quantitative findings transformed into a narrative, practitioner voice: “Findings_Practitioner Voice_Example.”In lieu of an EMR-published example, we can provide a few suggested techniques for converting the quantitative, scholarly findings into a narrative, practitioner voice. First, for the important causal (or correlational) relationships you wish to include in your findings, talk out loud to yourself what each relationship is, using language that the practitioner might understand. Second, convey these narrative findings with someone who is not a scholar or practitioner-scholar, or at least not an expert in the field you have studied, and listen to their feedback and questions. Third, answer their questions and incorporate their feedback, and then either you or a disinterested friend or colleague judge whether the narrative that explains the findings is in a way that your research intends it to mean.
Why does EMR offer a Translation Paper option and how is the Translation Paper related to the Empirical Paper?
The reason why the Findings section for an empirical study is presented in the practitioner voice is that most readers will operate in the world of practicing management businesses either "for profit" or "non-profit" or even the "public sector." A significant portion of expected authors are also EDBAC-graduates and they want to see the benefits of their research being operationalized in their business situations. We have designed EMR to include also Translation Papers. This is where we expect authors report back to the EMR readers how their attempts in applying their research into their business domain unfolded and what are the lessons learned from such efforts in either the positive or negative sense. In particular we want problematize and theorize around how applications of research findings and evidence are translated into concrete action and under what conditions such translations are successful. We note that these include action research type interventions where the focus is as much on how the change in the situation happened and influenced by the produced research knowledge, butÂ the translation can also be in another context for different practical problems.
The management practitioners work solely in the world of practice. In the United States, this usually means that the senior executive may have a MBA or equivalent degree, but most likely not a doctorate degree- especially in management. The practitioner is interested in solving practical problems that he or she faces in the organization and which are specific to the context the mangers experience. The practitioner typically lives in a temporally and spatially constrained environment, and is greatly affected by proximate people and events inside and outside his or her organization.
The management scholar lives and works in the world of academia. While many management scholars have in the past worked in the world of practice, for the most part, these scholars may not have done it for a significant period of time and not involving topics and issues he or she is interested in studying. The scholar typically is motivated by building theoretical knowledge and explanations about the domain and usually he or she does so by working towards an incomplete, tenuous, or challengeable theory within their disciplinary boundaries such as marketing or accounting and then validating that theory in relevant and generalizable organizational contexts. The scholar’s knowledge typically is expected to be less constrained by temporal and spatial constraints and should be less affected by unique conditions of a specific situation.The practitioner-scholar is a practitioner who typically enters an executive doctoral management program and completes it successfully, is trained in multidisciplinary ways in management theories and research methods and evidence giving, while at the same time is driven to study specific practitioner problems- problems of practice- following rigorous social inquiry. Being a practitioner who has been trained as a scholar generates a powerful and distinct mode of creating salient management knowledge when a systematic practice-informed research is conducted in ways that seeks to generate relevance for the inquirer’s actions in future by improving their quality and effectiveness.
Is it beneficial for EDBAC-students or recent EDBAC-alumni to submit empirical papers to EMR to have their current or former faculty advisor be their co-author?
Yes, EMR recommends current doctoral students and recent graduates of executive management doctorate programs select a current/former faculty advisor to be a co-author. Having the EDBAC-student/alum as the primary author with a faculty advisor as the secondary author is beneficial because many EDBAC-students and recent alum have not had experience in research and research writing, especially converting scholarly research into a practitioner narrative.