Engaged Research


The course has three major aims. First, realizing the opportunities for academic researchers to perform “engaged research,” that is, applying academic insights to address real-world societal challenges. Second, understanding the epistemological specificities of performing engaged research. Third, developing the mindset and skills to embark on engaged research.


Increasingly strong calls for “relevant” research emanate from society at large, research financiers, and the scholarly community. One example is the Responsible Research in Business and Management platform, which held its first Summit in Rotterdam to achieve this goal. While academic researchers must remain “rigorous” in their endeavours, they are expected to engage ever more with complex societal problems, such as the contribution of business to mitigating climate change and reducing social disparities such as gender discrimination and high income inequality. So far, most management scholars have trailed in disseminating their insights outside academic circles, as is usual in many natural sciences. Many businesses, governments, and civil organizations are more than eager to acquire the knowledge and skills to better align their own actions with societal needs. 

Engaged research aims to bridge the wide gap between management scholars and practitioners. While maintaining high research quality standards, it seeks to produce knowledge to address societal challenges. Engaged research is a participative form of inquiry, whereby scholars interact with practitioners during the identification of research questions, the collection of data, the interpretation of outcomes, and/or the translation of academic insights into managerial implications. 

During the course, you will discover the opportunities and challenges of engaged research. You will peruse different perspectives on engaged research, written by both proponents and skeptics. You will analyze and discuss the strengths and limitations of the different viewpoints with fellow students, so as to tease whether, when, and how engaged research will be valuable to management research, in particular, to your academic career. Guest lecturers will provide you with first-hand insights on the possibilities and roadblocks of conducting engaged research. Finally, you will develop and present a research proposal in which you apply engaged research principles to a concrete research problem of your choice.


Assessment will consist of participation in classroom discussions (30%), individual assignments (30%), and a group assignment (40%).


Selected articles.

Additional info

The timetable for this course can be found here.

ERIM PhD candidates can register for this course via Osiris Student.

External (non-ERIM) participants are welcome to this course. To register, please fill in the registration form and e-mail it to the ERIM Doctoral Office by four weeks prior to the start of the course. For external participants, the course fee is 260 euro (1 ECTS).