Professor Andrew Van de Ven looks forward to his new role as Deputy Editor for Engaged Indigenous Scholarship at Management and Organizational Review

 Professor Andrew Van de Ven (University of Minnesota) has joined Management and Organization Review as Deputy Editor for Engaged Indigenous Scholarship.  This signals the journal’s renewed commitment to publish empirical studies of indigenous phenomena related to management and organizations in the context of all transforming economies.

“Indigenous research” has been defined by Anne Tsui (2004: 501) as “scientific studies of local phenomena using local language, local subjects, and locally meaningful constructs, with the aim to test or build theories that can explain and predict … phenomena in the local social cultural context.”  Instead of homogenizing management research by trying to adapt and apply foreign theories and methods that are not sensitive to local contexts, Management and Organization Review believes that heterogeneity should be encouraged by developing engaged indigenous management theories, methods, and institutions.

Engaged Indigenous Scholarship is critically needed in order to develop management knowledge that expresses and celebrates the unique contexts and settings of different countries and regions.  It also provides indigenous scholars a career strategy for building on their strengths and contextual knowledge by focusing on studying topics whose origins and meanings arise from the local cultures and contexts they know best and to which they have direct access. This is a central founding objective of the International Association for Chinese Management Research, and its journal, Management and Organization Review.

Engaged Indigenous Scholarship provides a constructive way to undertake indigenous research. It is a participative form of research that incorporates the views of key stakeholders (academics, practitioners, policy makers) to understand a complex problem in its distinctive context (see this website and Van de Ven, 2012).  By definition, stakeholders are participants who have different stakes or interests in a study topic, and therefore know the indigenous values and local circumstances of the specific context being studied.  By exploiting differences in the viewpoints of these key stakeholders, engaged scholarship can produce knowledge that is more penetrating, encompassing and insightful.

Engaged Indigenous Scholarship entails a fundamental shift in how we as researchers define our relationships with the stakeholders (other researchers, students, and practitioners) in the indigenous communities being studied.  It begins with the recognition that, because each of us is a product of a certain history, culture, and disciplinary training, we inevitably examine a topic or issue from a limited perspective.  We can understand these topics better if we engage other relevant stakeholders in research problem formulation, theory building, research design, and communicating and applying research findings.  Engagement entails humility in recognizing one’s own limitations and profound respect for other kinds of knowledge producers.

Professor Van de Ven and the journal editorial team are seeking exploratory studies of new, emerging and/or poorly understood indigenous phenomena that require abductive reasoning and creative hunches rather than testing deductive hypotheses.  Data on indigenous phenomena can come from any source, including qualitative and quantitative data from experiments, case studies, field surveys, and ethnographies.  Authors are invited to discuss ideas with the Deputy Editor for Engaged Indigenous Scholarship directly and completed papers should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system.

Further details on this initiative can be found in the journal’s ‘General Call for Engaged Indigenous Scholarship Papers’.

Andrew H. Van de Ven is Professor Emeritus in the Carlson School of the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1972, and taught at Kent State University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before that. He teaches courses on the management of innovation and change, organizational behavior, and engaged scholarship research methods. Van de Ven’s books and journal articles over the years have dealt with the Nominal Group Technique, organization design and assessment, inter-organizational relationships, organizational innovation and change, and engaged scholarship research methods.

Tsui, A. S. 2004. Contributing to global management knowledge: A case for high quality indigenous research. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 21(4): 491-513.

Van de Ven, A. H. 2012. Indigenous Management Research in China from an Engaged Scholarship Perspective. Management and Organization Review, 8(1): 123–137.


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