Rigor and Relevance in SCM Research
Good research stands out through relevant research questions which are answered applying rigorous research methods. Researchers routinely signal methodological rigor in a detailed methods section and reviewers take great care to check whether all methodological steps are applied properly. Besides rigor, it is necessary to ensure that research is relevant in terms of both theoretical and practical contribution. The former is usually reflected in a comprehensive theory section. The latter, however, is often just being skipped. Reviewers are rarely practitioners! It has, indeed, been demonstrated that practitioners often disagree that operations management research papers are useful to their practice (de-Margerie and Jiang, 2011). Salvador (2011) suggests “to get in contact with practitioners and to try to understand how they react to the central theoretical ideas proposed”. Moreover, I believe that reviewers should routinely ask for at least one paragraph on how the researcher has ensured practical relevance, e.g. by involving a practitioner panel.
de-Margerie, V., & Jiang, B. (2011). How relevant is OM research to managerial practice? An empirical study of top executives’ perceptions. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 31 (2), 124-147 DOI: 10.1108/01443571111104737
Salvador, F. (2011). On the importance of good questions and empirically grounded theorizing. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 47 (4), 21-22 DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-493X.2011.03248.x