Grand challenges in management research: Attributes, achievements, and advancement

Brammer, Stephen; Branicki, Layla; Linnenluecke, Martina and Smith, Tom (2019). Grand challenges in management research: Attributes, achievements, and advancement. Australian Journal of Management, 44(4) pp. 517–533.



Management scholarship is increasingly paying attention to “grand challenges” such as climate and demographic changes, sociopolitical uncertainty, poverty alleviation, and global health improvement. Drawing upon a review of grand challenges research, we highlight the lack of a coherent conceptualization of a “grand challenge” and examine the diversity of the conceptual, policy, and empirical research. We problematize the failure in current research to distinguish between qualitatively different types of grand challenges—in our view, the resolution of different challenges calls for distinct research, policy, and practice approaches. We propose a novel framework that encompasses four distinct forms of grand challenge, situate the existing empirical literature within our framework, describe how the contributions to our special issue advance grand challenges research, and explore implications for future management research that responds to the imperatives of grand challenges.

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