Intervention Research as Management Research in Practice: Learning from a Case in the Fashion Design Industry

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Abstract

Research in the field of management and organizational sciences has yielded a deeper understanding of many emerging business issues. However, the relevance of the contributions has been increasingly criticized, in both the academic and public spheres. We propose the intervention research approach – originally developed by the research group at Ecole des Mines de Paris – as a design science approach able to address both the relevance gap issue and the growing complexity of management practice. It is argued that increasing our understanding of management requires research that is more insightful, influential and immediately applicable. This in turn requires closer collaboration between management and researchers during the inquiry process, which is not always easy to achieve. An illustrative case study of an intervention research project focusing on creativity, conducted in Italy in collaboration with a fashion company, demonstrates how intervention research can be rigorous and relevant to practitioners, and how it can advance theoretical knowledge in management science.

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