Fifty Years of Irrelevance: The Wild Goose Chase of Management Science

Lauri Koskela1

1Professor, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford; UK. Phone +44 161 2956378;


Modern management science has existed since 1959 when two reports (by Pierson and Gordon & Howell) on the future of business education were published in the US. At least since 1980, there has been a practically continuous, but somewhat fragmented discussion on the relevance of management research. Although many different proposals have been made to rectify the situation, the mainstream of management research seems to be relatively untroubled and unaffected by this widely sensed irrelevance. The paper aims at initial understanding of the reasons for this spectacular failure of (general) management research to reach relevant results in the period of 1960-2010. Two related questions are considered in more detail. How was the social science turn of management science in 1959 justified and achieved? Which correctives have been proposed for management research, up to now?


Management science, irrelevance



Koskela, L. 2011, 'Fifty Years of Irrelevance: The Wild Goose Chase of Management Science' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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