The Folly of Using Research Lacking Rigor as a Call to Action Academic Article uri icon


  • Management researchers need to continually work to assure that our findings and conclusions are translated into management practice. Exploring the usefulness of contemporary research for the practice of management is therefore a worthy pursuit. However, the lack of rigor associated with the analyses reported in Pearce and Huang's article (2012, this issue) leaves scholars unable to draw meaningful and useful conclusions that can guide research practice. Specifically, the authors' conceptualization of actionable is defined ambiguously and in contradictory ways, and is therefore operationalized unscientifically. We illustrate specific concerns by first describing three illustrations that collectively demonstrate why the study fails to satisfy basic criteria for rigorous research. We then explicitly illustrate why the measure fails to assess what is seemingly intended to be captured by contrasting a study classified and described as actionable (Lee, Ashford, & Bobko, 1990) with our study (Stewart & Barrick, 2000) coded as not actionable. This illustration demonstrates the arbitrary and inconsistent classification underlying Pearce and Huang's analysis, and demonstrates how two studies coded into opposite categories both used rigorously designed studies to produce actionable results. We also provide a few general comments related to the overall topic of relevance in contemporary management research. 2012 Academy of Management Learning & Education.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Stewart, G. L., & Barrick, M. R.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Stewart, Greg L||Barrick, Murray R

publication date

  • January 1, 2012 11:11 AM