January – June 2018

Letter from the director

Prof Piet Naudé

USB Management Review: Here is why we do it

Stellenbosch Business School Director

Like most other public business schools, USB is an academic department of a faculty in a university. The normal tasks associated with the academic project is teaching, research and social impact.

Traditionally, the first two tasks were ‘inwardly’ focused. Teaching relates to the students enrolled at the university, and research is done for distribution via the academic channels of conferences and scientific journals, informing curricula for better teaching – thereby creating a virtuous circle between research and teaching. But from quite an early stage in business school development, the question of relevant and applied knowledge came to the fore. If business schools educate current and future business leaders, the knowledge created in those schools should also have a distinct ‘outward’ focus. In other words, while theoretical and conceptual research are still important (and in any case inform all forms of academic thinking), there is a need for knowledge that could be applied directly or at least quite smoothly to actual business problems.

Such applied knowledge is not distributed via traditional academic channels. It requires a translation of theory into practice; it requires a different genre than pure academic language to ensure wider accessibility; and it requires a different form of validation from actual knowledge users instead of collegial peer reviews. This is the context for the launch of USB Management Review. We are committed to evidence-based problem solving and participation in public policy debates based on the best available (practical) knowledge.

We trust that you will find value in this.

Prof Piet Naudé
Director: USB

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