Interesting × Important = Impact

“What is interesting research?” I recently read an essay by Cachon (2012), What Is Interesting in Operations Management?, published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, which starts with just this question. The essay discusses Cachon’s view of “the essential characteristics of interesting research in general and in operations management in particular”. According to him, “[i]nteresting means unexpected—interesting research piques your curiosity, it induces a pause for contemplation, and most importantly, it contradicts how you think about the world”. He also presents a simple rule for an interesting paper: “What was thought to be X is really Y.” Cachon gives several examples that demonstrate how this rule works in the field of operations management and similar examples could easily be found in supply chain management research. Cachon highlights that being interesting is necessary for research, but he also contends that this is not sufficient. To have an impact, research also needs to be important.

Cachon, G.P. (2012). What Is Interesting in Operations Management? Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 14 (2), 166-169 DOI: 10.1287/msom.1110.0375

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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