Raising research superstars in your learning organization
The Friday before last (Feb. 14, 2014), we ended by pointing out that research develops innovations in business school programs. Then, we closed by asking: “What about in the local scene? What’s going on, for example, in the College of Business at De La Salle University?” We turned to those questions last Friday (Feb. 21, 2014).
In setting up to develop the innovative COB programs through research, DLSU-COB chose an “Open Strategy” to encourage professors to do research. They also had a “Selective Strategy.” The “Open Strategy” was the traditional way of encouraging all COB faculty members to publish in pre-selected high impact journals. On the other hand, the “Selective Strategy” pre-selected faculty members who will constitute “the 10 percent to 20 percent small group” that are to become Research Professors.
Last Friday (Feb. 21, 2014), we learned about the Open Strategy and how DLSU-COB can bring in some out-of-the-box thinking into this traditional approach and cost-effectively raise its innovation research productivity. We ran out of space then and so proposed that we tackle the equally interesting “Selective Strategy” for innovation research this Friday (Feb. 28, 2014).
The 2012 research mentoring contract that the Senior MRx-er signed with DLSU-COB focused on the “Selective Strategy.” Today we will look at the larger context of this engagement.
Establishing a high level “Publish and Flourish” culture
DLSU president Br. Ricky Laguda underscored to the Senior MRx-er that La Salle envisions itself to be “a leading learner-centered RESEARCH university.” Over the years, research has been solidly established in all colleges of the university except for the College of Business (COB).
This is not to say that no COB professor has been doing research. There were many research initiatives, however, they were not journal articles published in high impact business journals, which would qualify COB as a “leading research school of business.” There was yet to be a high level “Publish and Flourish” research culture in the DLSU-COB.
For the building, nurturing, deepening and sustaining of such a research culture, the Senior MRx-er proposed that DLSU-COB benchmark against the Ivy League Business Schools like The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.
Here’s what Wharton tells its applying MBA students: “Wharton’s 225 world-leading faculty members create a living network of ideas—challenging you to bring your own ideas into action. Our professors are thought leaders in their respective fields.
Half have active consulting practices with businesses, not-for-profit and governments around the world. This broad expertise creates a range and depth of courses unsurpassed at any other business schools.”
So when Wharton says that “half of its thought-leader professors have active consulting practices with business, not-for-profit and governments,” it is also saying that the other 50 percent (not 10 percent or 20 percent) are leading research professors, many of whom are “research superstars.” That’s unprecedented in serving the purpose of “intellectual capital building” that underlies the idea of developing a high level “Publish and Flourish” research culture.
In the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, their research superstars were supported by the University in setting up their respective research centers. There are 25 research centers today. The university helps secure funds from various sources, such as the Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship, General Motors Research Center for Strategy in Management, Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research, Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital, Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, and Zell Center for Risk Research.
A promise of research
This benchmarking led the DLSU president to say: “Until we can say something about our COB Faculty and Research near to what Wharton says and close to what Kellogg has, we are yet to succeed in establishing COB’s Research Culture.”
The key to effectively starting the Selective Strategy was in answering this question: “What is the correct pre-selection process? Who do you pre-select?” We learned from the Senior MRx-er’s research mentoring experience at AIM (Asian Institute of Management) where the three mentees were young professors who volunteered for the 1-year mentoring.
Bro. Ricky himself did the pre-selection of the six mentees. They were all full-time senior COB professors with PhDs. How was the Senior MRx-er to motivate those six to go through the one-year research mentoring when they believed they already knew about scientific and valid business research? He used the lesson he learned during his doctorate at the Kellogg School: to promise research superstardom and support for each mentee’s establishing his or her own research center.
The promise worked. Toward the end of the research mentoring period on Oct. 31, 2013, all six mentees completed their draft journal manuscript submission. One, an accounting professor, wrote an original research-based article on a breakthrough subject that has never been written until then. It dealt with the “hypothesis” about corporate and even country competitive advantage as a function of “cost stickiness.”
Today, The DLSU-COB is now into the second batch of research mentees under the “Selective Strategy” for innovation research. The correct framing of the strategy choice was not about either an open strategy or a selective one. It was better to choose in terms of both open and selective strategies for a win-win solution.
How about you and your organization? Do you have research superstars and do you reward them?
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