Closing the Gap: Developing Research Communities in Emerging Regions and Nations (Part 1)

On Saturday August 4th will be a workshop (a professional development workshop) at the Academy of Management Conference 2012 in Boston (Closing the Gap PDW). This workshop is not "about" the UAE - but all the organisers work and live in the UAE at INSEAD Abu Dhabi Campus, Zayed University and the University of Wollongong Dubai and we are actively trying to promote the development of a research community, here in the UAE and the Middle East as a region.

Why do we need a research community in the region? Aren't consultants good enough? Why do we need management research? What is management research? Uhm, what is a research community? Uhm, sounds kind of boring....

No, wait! Management research is not boring for one, it is about learning how and why organisations succeed or not - how we can improve our business processes, our business practices, how we can encourage and support entrepreneurship and innovation, how we can build better strategy (or build better systems for implementing strategy), how we manage people, how we manage resources - really interesting (and important) questions...

And a management research community are the scholars and researching practitioners around the world looking into these questions through the scientific process and publishing their results - incremental steps to better understanding managing organisations and people.... The most important global research community in management is the Academy of Management (AOM website). They started in 1936 and now there are thousands of members from all over the world. I have been a member since I attended my first AOM Annual Meeting in 2008 (where I interviewed for Zayed University) when I presented my pink poster :)

At these meetings (usually 10,000 + attendees) we listen to new research, meet with former colleagues, network with future colleagues, network with future research partners, listen (some more), discuss, debate, and also talk about better ways to teach and new books, and, and, and... 

Why do we need these meetings? Because the problems organisations face in our regions, might have been faced and solved elsewhere (or the opposite might be true) and we can learn from one another... and then apply it, modify it, use it when we get back home. We can also use it in the classroom as case studies and examples.

So, if there is a global research community, why work to develop one in the UAE or the Middle East? Well... because the issues faced here are different and some of our theories and practises might best be modified and adapted to the region - but we need to develop solid research to truly understand how, why and where... and we (the lone nerdy researcher) can't work in a bubble, or in solitude - we are management researchers - and world class research takes a world class research community to develop it.

OK - this might have answered some of your questions... but I didn't really get into what we will be discussing at the PDW on Saturday - I will leave that for the next post :)

And don't worry, I will be blogging the Conference... hopefully I will have photos too :)