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Research Assessment Task – AJM Discussion Questions


  1. This is an individual assessment task.
  2. Your written submission should not exceed 3,000 words.
  3. You must include a correctly formatted Reference List, which adheres to the Harvard Style of referencing.  The reference list does not count toward the word count.
  4. Requests for an extension to the deadline must be accompanied with documentary evidence (i.e. medical certificate) to support the request. A decision on any request for an extension is at the discretion of the Course Coordinator.
  5. Late submissions will attract a penalty of 10% per day.
  6. The number of reference is required more than 20.


  1. Read the following article:

Colquitt, JA & George, G 2011, ‘Publishing in AMJ—Part 1: Topic Choice’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 432-435.

  • Respond to the following three discussion questions. You should commit approximately the same word count to each question (1000 words for each quesiton).

Questions 1:

“Topic Choice”

Define what the Editor of the Academy of Management Journal means by a “grand challenge”. Identify a peer reviewed article of your choice which is an example of a “grand challenge”, explaining why you believe it to be so.

Question 2:


Explain what is meant by “knowledge recombination” and give an example of a novel peer reviewed article that demonstrates this concept. Explain.

Question 3:

“Changing Practice”

According to the editor of AJM good research should be actionable – it should have impact. Identify a peer reviewed article that has resulted in a change of practice for either industry or government. Explain why this research was able to do this.

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Topic Choice

One of the aspects to consider when choosing a topic is whether or not it confronts a grand challenge. Research depicts grand challenge as a list of hard though essential hurdles which are laid out by distinct entities to encourage technology and innovation that would remedy them (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.432; George, Howard-Grenville, Aparna, & Laszlo, 2016, p.1880). In some instances, such outlines are utilized to direct further research and government initiatives. Grand Challenges Canada (2011, p.2) asserts a grand challenge is a critical barrier that is eliminated it would help solve a vital problem in the developing universe with a significant likelihood of worldwide impact through extensive incorporation. Dr. David Hilbert introduced the notion of grand challenges more than a century ago when he gave out a list of twenty-three primary difficult tasks in mathematics (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.432; Grand Challenges Canada, 2011, p. 2). Through articulating the mathematical problems that Dr. David Hilbert felt needed solution, he has inspired generations of mathematicians to work towards overcoming the barriers. Hilbert’s initiative was successful as almost all hurdles he outlined have since been remedied (Uehara, Barth, Olson, Catalano, Hawkins, Kemp, and Sherraden, 2014, p.4). Nonetheless, some took more than a hundred years to solve and needed the exploitation of intensive computer processing power, a dimension that was not in existence when Hilbert initially articulated the problems.

Grand challenges have been laid to distinct domains in medicine, natural sciences, and even engineering. An example of these hurdles would be the grandest of them all which is mirrored in the United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eliminate global hunger and illnesses (“United Nations Millennium Development Goals”). The leading principle underlying the concept of the grand challenge is the act of pursuing courageous notions and the incorporation of less conventional strategies towards remedies significant, unresolved barriers (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.432); Ferraro, Etzion & Gehman, 2015, p.364). Grand challenges approaches are of benefit. One of the most substantial gains of these critical barriers is that through innovations, societies are built and strengthened. An example, in this case, would the international research community combined forces around the issue of developing genetically modified mosquitoes. The Global Health Initiative has acted as a catalyst towards bringing various parties together to work towards the projectprobable an individual research group (Grand Challenges Canada, 2011, p. 10). Another benefit is that the grand challenge approach tends to capture the imagination of the public. Research teams headed by international-leading scientists aiming to tackle pressing problems can provide convincing storylines to attract the interest of not just the media but also the public (Grand Challenges Canada, 2011, p. 11). In general, grand problems can be regarded as the most significant, most manifested and persistent barriers facing promising opportunities and humankind as well. Grand challenges are an obstacle towards achieving universal well-being.

The 2016 article, mobile phone, and child mortality: the case of developing countries by Azza Mohamed Hegazy Shehata is a writing example confronting a grand challenge. According to Colquitt & George (2011, p.432), MDGs are some of the grandest hurdles. The piece by Shehata can be considered as an example of ‘grand challenge’ because it addresses one of the MDGs which entail the reduction of child mortality. Approximately 29,000 babies less than five years old die on a daily basis primarily from preventable etiologies (“UNICEF – Goal: Reduce child mortality,”). Of nearly 11 million child mortalities, more than 70% of these deaths are caused by malaria, preterm delivery, diarrhea, neonatal infection and insufficient oxygen at birth (“UNICEF – Goal: Reduce child mortality,”). Among other causes, include marginalization, malnutrition, conflict, poor sanitation, and HIV/AIDS. Sicknesses are not inevitable. However, Children with these conditions do not have to succumb to death. Low-tech and expenditure-effective measures such as micronutrient supplementation and enhanced family care can play an essential part towards minimizing the annual child mortality rates. The article by Shehata focuses on the fourth goal of the MDGs as it depicts child mortality as one of the menaces facing public health. According to Shehata (2013, p.218), regardless of the positive progress in minimizing mortality rates in babies under the age of five, the scale highlighted in the MDGs has not yet been attained. Worldwide, the death rate has declined from 90 to 43 deaths in every 1,000 live births in the year 1990 and 2015 respectively (Shehata, 2013, p.218).

The article can also be regarded as the kind that confronts a grand challenge since it shows incorporation of technology would bring about enhanced global outcome. Shehata (2013, p.218) portrays lack of knowledge as one of the leading causes that bring about child mortality. Female’s education is of paramount importance since women are the initial sponsors for babies. A woman’s level of knowledge is usually mirrored in their behaviors in regards to the type of healthcare they provide their children. Females with sufficient information concerning medical care have higher ability to commit to childcare and practice proper sanitation. Additionally, educated women are also capable of interacting efficiently with health providers as well as adhere to treatment suggestions (Shehata, 2013, p.222).  As lack of information is detrimental to a child’s health, mobile phone accessibility can play a vital part in declining the child mortality rates. Like any other device regarding information and communication technology (ICT), mobile phones allow not only the exchange but also transfer of data globally with neither temporal nor spatial hurdles. The technological devices can be of great help to mothers as health information through visual media can be broadcasted and can transition the perspectives concerning the utility of contemporary medical means. Mobile phones eliminate the obstacles regarding the distance factor between the physician and the patient (Shehata, 2013, p.220). Smartphones that are connected to the internet can enable a person to browse health trustworthy online sites which facilitate in acquiring medical information. Parents can search and obtain all the medical knowledge that is needed. Shehata’s article confronts a grand challenge as it focuses on enhancing universal welfare.


In regards to topic choice, most top journals, Academy of Management Journal (AMJ) included, tend to emphasize the aspect of novelty. Scientific work can be perceived as a conversation among research scholars (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.432). Thereby, one of the simple ways to confirm novelty of a subject is to consider if a study addressing it can transition the interaction that is at the time transpiring in particular literature. The new direction can be established through introducing new vocabulary to the existing conversation, perhaps in the form of notions and constructs (Henderson & Clark, 1990, p.11). At times, a new path can also be brought forth through new insights which are not articulated by previous voices. Often, novel themes can come about as a result of knowledge recombination. According to (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.433), knowledge recombination is the creation of something new through developing a bridge between two disciplines or even works of literature. The proposition is that most parties develop not only new ideas but also creative remedies through exploring technological aspects for inspiration and binding of concepts that result from information already resident in the entities (March, 1991, p.83; Rosenkopf & Nerkar, 2001, p.287). The organizational theory and pieces of literature concerned with strategic management depict knowledge recombination as a means by which new ideas are generated.

Ahuja & Lampert (2001, p.521) depict that organizations should surmount at least three pathologies that hinder breakthrough intervention in regards to creation novelty. These three specialties include “the maturity,” “the familiarity,” and “the nearness” traps. When selecting a topic, a researcher should not pick one that is too familiar since it would lead to a study that is at best viewed as a marginal extension to a prior interaction.  Even though the strategies implemented are well understood and are of significant modes of reasoning, in the absence of novelty, the capacity of the organization for a breakthrough becomes minimal. Familiarity diminishes the likelihood that an optimal or a substantial effective remedy to an obstacle will be discovered (Ahuja & Lampert, 2001, p.526). Instead, the scale of hindrances addressed within a particular set elevates.  Exploring domains of new knowledge provides entities with various benefits ranging from a firm’s heterogeneity in regards to problem-solving to incorporation of new worldviews.

Following Colquitt & George, 2011, p.434) claim’s, selecting a topic that is too mature tends to bring about concerns about participation that can be regarded as too redundant. Existing ideas such as technologies may be relatively reliable compared to recent ones (Ahuja & Lampert, 2001, p. 527). Nevertheless, failure to embrace nascent technologies may direct an organization into a “maturity trap.” Lack of exposure to novelty may minimize the likelihood of establishing a breakthrough intervention. Emerging concepts are highly bound to vary from mature ones in regards to not just the technical hurdles they pose but also the solutions they present (Ahuja & Lampert, 2001, p. 527). Besides, subject choices that exhibit spaces adjacent to previous pieces of literature could be perceived as too overlapping (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.434). In situations characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty, entities tend to exploit historical experiences. Previously utilized remedies offer a platform of familiarity from which a challenge solver can make progress (Ahuja & Lampert, 2001, p. 528; Martin & Mitchell, 1998, p.754). Using elements that are known to have been successful in the past searches guarantees assurance to the researcher that an approach will not be a complete flop. Thus, from the perspective of a corporate innovator, a strategy that builds on technological dimensions seems less risky compared to the attempts of a fresh innovation to an obstacle. Nonetheless, historical science shows that most remarkable inventions come about from unexplored domains (Utterback, 1995, p.80). Stepping into a new path may present the element of uncertainty. However, pioneering novelty eventually yields breakthrough interventions (Ahuja & Lampert, 2001, p. 529). Knowledge recombination brings about new ideas in the field and tends to avoid the pathologies associated with “familiarity,” “propinquity,” and “maturity” traps.

The 2004 article, “knowledge transfer through inheritance: Spinout generation, development, and survival,” demonstrates the concept of knowledge recombination. The study is an examination of the generation and performance of “spin-outs.” Agarwal, Echambadi, Franco & Sarkar (2004, p.501) depict spin-outs as entrepreneurial ventures developed by ex-staffs of a corporation that go on to rival in the same space as that company using information acquired from its history. The research project depicts a subject that avoids the pathologies of maturity, propinquity and maturity traps. First, there is evidence that organizations rich in knowledge tend to be ideal for entrepreneurship and are relatively prone to generate spin-outs. Nevertheless, in literature, the connection is underdeveloped in regards to not only conceptually but also empirically (Agarwal et al., 2004, p.502). Secondly, past researchers have made assumptions concerning the underlying process of inheritance of knowledge through a progeny firm.  The suppositions have been made without explicitly examining if the acquisition of information from an incumbent takes place. Thereby, it is unclear if awareness is inherited. Thirdly, minimal evidence has depicted an association between knowledge inheritances with the outcomes of an organization (Huber, 1991, p.129). It is also not apparent of whether the learning effects of initial information endowments continue over time. Besides, there has been minimal search of how workforce entrepreneurship in regards to the aspect of the know-how influences the long-lasting impacts of knowledge transfer (Agarwal et al., 2004, p.502). The article by Agarwal (2004) dramatically depicts the construct of knowledge recombination.

The spin-outs study contributes to novel work on a phenomenon that is under-researched. The article also considers the dimension of emerging notions surrounding the domain of strategic entrepreneurship. Moreover, the writing adds new information to the existing literature by assessing the effect of entrepreneurial flexibility as well as resource inheritance through the pr-entry encounter of founders on new venture performance. The peer-reviewed article transitioned the conversation into the field of business and capacities pieces of literature through paying attention to a new and insufficiently researched aspect.

Changing Practice

Good research must be actionable (Colquitt & George, 2011, p.434; Lehman, 1977, p.21). A topic should provide profound insights for organizational practice. It is hard to undertake a study that is managerially relevant and also that which attends to the rigorous standards in the educational dimension of administration (McGahan, 2007, p.748). Managers are only concerned with information regarding relevant solutions to specific hurdles and not disciplinary boundaries. As Vermeulen (2007, p.754) suggests, relevance is not just any managerial action plan that a company can undertake to enhance their profitability. Instead, pertinence is found in establishing introspection which practitioners find essential for comprehending their enterprises and circumstances better than before. The strong desire for integrative remedies gives an opportunity for practitioner-authors who are not bound by rigorous academic standards. Subsequently, the presence of practitioner-authors tends to raise the bar and makes it increasingly tough for researchers within the academic scope to conduct a project for practitioners. Regardless of the challenges, McGahan (2007, p.748) depicts five key ways in which researchers can succeed in translating their works into relevant articles for management positions

First, authors should develop counterintuitive insights. As much as the contrary to intuition approach may seem to be easy to apprehend, it does not necessarily mean it requires less effort to attain. The challenge is usually to determine some new class of scenario and to depict how the categorization facilitates distinct strategies that ultimately result in better performance. McGahan (2007, 749) shows that the content provided managers is integrative, in the scope that it is grounded on an extensive analysis though specific in that the administration implication deals on the narrow variations between categories. For instance, an article can show that supplier and buyer power should be measured distinctly. Succeeding in managerial research requires an extensive and rigorous assessment to its prescriptive repercussion (Gulati, 2007, p.780). Perspectives from academic writers bring to mind some chances for administration articles on the industry change. The primary insight is the exploitation of different approaches such as the cooperative game theory as McDonald & Ryall (2006, p.5) did. Another view is to challenge the notion of a “revolving door” in business which means that managers should not over-respond to new entrants since most start-ups run out of steam within a short period (McGahan, 2007, p.749). Systematic categorizations help executives to figure out their reactions.

Second, research should depict that leading business practices are transitioning in an essential commercial routine. The implication for leaders is that old methods, such as ‘Just in time’ (JIT) inventory movement, can be done away with since they no longer establish value. The ultimate purpose is to show that developing a new way of doing business activities in the firm would deliver better performance than before. Succeeding in selling novel insights is challenging, but it is possible for corporations to integrate innovations into central operations (McGahan, 2007, p.750). The third strategy is that an article should portray how a broadly utilized administration routine violates critical principles. A researcher should be able to prove the violation of the precepts of which studies have depicted as theoretically and empirically vital. An example would probably be representing a model which encourages poor managerial actions such as relieving executives the duty to act in the best interests of the workforce, clients, and investors (McGahan, 2007, p.750). Widespread acceptance of problematic practices is detrimental to not just the operations of a company but the economy at large.

The fourth approach is that a study should recommend a specific theory to describe an intriguing and present scenario (McGahan, 2007, p.750). An author can show that a situation falls under a specific category of obstacles and that can be resolved using distinct designs. Most persuasive literature illustrates a concept under several viewpoints and portrays how an integrative strategy would bring about a breakthrough intervention. An author may analyze a rational theory against a political view. Finally, writing should recognize an iconic phenomenon or challenge that draws new domains of managerial practice and academic inquiry. Some cases represent something fundamental and novel which needs serious attention from not just academic researchers but also executives (McGahan, 2007, p.751).  An article should, therefore, be in a position to signal scenarios which require a turning point in the community and the business culture.

“Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability: The New Bottom Line?” is a peer-reviewed article that has brought about change of practice for the business sector. The writing by Fontaine is actionable as it observes at least two ways suggested by McGahan (2007, p. 748). First, the author successfully debunks conventional information as he depicts the dimensions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability as two different concepts. Usually, most researchers portray CSR and sustainability as similar dimensions that are applied as synonymous terms (Mujtaba, & Cavico, 2013, p.58). Besides, Petrini & Pozzebon (2010, p.365) exploits CSR and sustainability as similar words which deal with three spheres which include the environmental, social and economic aspects.

According to Fontaine (2013, p.111), it is true that CSR demands corporations to focus on people, the surrounding and the business. However, CSR varies from sustainability as the former dimension entails how enterprises perform their business in consideration of the business values and behavior alongside the stakeholders’ needs and the expectations. In contrast, sustainability is depicted as the ability to meet present needs without compromising the capacity of future generations to meet theirs (Fontaine, 2013, p.114).  Another factor that Fontaine incorporates is that he portrays the similar use of CSR as a widely used managerial practice which violates essential practices. Fontaine (2013, p.114) claims CSR comprises of four aspects which include, reputation, license to operate, sustainability and moral obligation. Here, Fontaine remarkably proves that there is a variance between the two elements of CSR and that of sustainability. The latter dimension is regarded as one of the components that make up CSR. It is apparent that concerning CSR and sustainability as synonymous translates to disregarding other elements of CSR.


Agarwal, R., Echambadi, R., Franco, A. M., & Sarkar, MB. 2004. Knowledge transfer through inheritance: Spinout generation, development, and survival. Academy of Management Journal, 47: 501–522. Retrieved from

Ahuja, G., & Lampert, C. M. 2001. Entrepreneurship in the large corporation: A longitudinal study of how established firms create breakthrough inventions. Strategic Management Journal, 22: 521–543. Retrieved from,%20Lampert%20(2001).%20Entrepreneurship%20in%20the%20large%20corporation.%20SMJ.pdf

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Shehata, A.M.H., 2016. Mobile phone and child mortality: the case of developing countries. The Business & Management Review7(3). Retrieved from

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Uehara, E.S., Barth, R.P., Olson, S., Catalano, R.F., Hawkins, J.D., Kemp, S.P. and Sherraden, M., 2014. Identifying and tackling grand challenges for social work. Baltimore, MD: American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Retrieved from

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