The Impact of Business School Research: Economic and Social Benefits

Author: Professor Robin Mason

We are delighted to showcase some of the very best examples of “impact” coming from business schools across the UK. Impact is a slightly strange word, so first let me explain its meaning. Business schools in the UK produce some of the very best academic research in the world: papers written by UK business academics appear in the top peer-reviewed academic journals; books written by them are published by leading publishers; our business schools genuinely shape the intellectual frameworks used by academics to think about and understand business. The creation of original knowledge is something that UK business schools excel at. But they also excel at “impact”, taking that academic work and turning it into knowledge that is useful and used by business, government, and society more broadly. These case studies are concrete evidence of this statement. Each gives a real example of where an academic paper has formed the basis for changing and transforming business practice and/or policy, to produce tangible and significant benefits—such as higher profits, or more effective policies. In short, these case studies illustrate that UK business school academics are not tucked away in ivory towers, peering down to but never engaging with actual practice, but are actively providing solutions to real problems faced by businesses. These are great examples of original knowledge, created by UK business school academics, being applied to benefit companies and policy-makers.

We had the difficult task of selecting just 11 case studies from the very many cases of impact that we know our business schools have developed. We have selected a range of examples, across several sectors, involving both business and government, and coming from a cross-section of business schools. Our aim is not only to show fascinating examples of impact, but also to demonstrate the diversity of impact from UK business schools. Top quality research does not just take place in a small number of “research-intensive” schools; engagement with business and government is not just confined to more “practically oriented” business schools. These case studies show a far richer picture of academic research strength across the business school sector, and deep engagement with business and government in all types of business school. In that regard, these case studies represent a crucial and sometimes over-looked feature of UK business schools – that the knowledge created there has led and continues to lead to economic and social benefits. As the UK continues to look for new sources of growth, these case studies show that our business schools are critical to a thriving and successful economy.


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