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Understanding ‘expert’ scientists : implications for management and organization research

Dörfler, Viktor and Eden, Colin (2014) Understanding ‘expert’ scientists : implications for management and organization research. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014 (1 Supp). ISSN 0065-0668

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate about rigor and relevance in management and organization research. The contribution derives from an empirical inquiry into the managerial and organizational cognition of acknowledged experts in scientific research: Nobel Laureates. The research was conducted through in-depth unstructured interviews with, and background information about, nineteen of these expert researchers. The analysis of the interviews suggests emergent themes of the process of successful research that are relevant to the conduct of management and organization research. We focus on three particularly forceful emergent themes from our interviews: the role of ‘big leap’ and its relationship to intuition, the significance of seeing both the ‘big picture’ and the detail, and the ways of building and developing successful research teams. We discuss our findings from the interviews in the context of the literature from history and philosophy of science, and examine the implications for management and organization research.