Rigorous and Relevant – introducing a critical discourse analysis to the relevance debate

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how the notion of “relevance” is produced, distributed and consumed in the field of management research by applying a critical discourse analysis (CDA) as a theoretical lens. A CDA perspective offers a way to scrutinize the power relations that emerge with journal rankings and how these influence how the relevance discourse develops. Design/methodology/approach: This paper illustrates how a CDA perspective can be fruitfully applied to the relevance literature, exemplifying such an application with two illustrative texts. The texts represent two distinct cases; one is a fictive story informally distributed among scholars, and the other is an extract of a published review on the relevance debate. Findings: A CDA lens sheds light on how academic power relations are maintained in the production, distribution and consumption of the “relevance” notion. It shows the importance of individual awareness among management researchers of how the discourse is shaped. Research limitations/implications: To increase the generalizability of the study, a CDA lens could be applied to a larger amount of texts in the relevance literature. The findings imply that the relevance literature would benefit from contributions bridging the gap between rigor and relevance, and questioning how power relations are maintained. Originality/value: CDA adds a new perspective to the relevance debate, revealing how academic power relations are maintained with management scholars’ adherence to journal norms and the implications of this act.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)202-215
    Number of pages14
    JournalEuropean Business Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Subject classification (UKÄ)

    • Business Administration

    Free keywords

    • Critical discourse analysis
    • Management research
    • Power relations
    • Relevance debate


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