One of the biggest challenges for any research student is to locate their work in ‘the field’. Terms such as location, positioning and contribution all imply some form of relationship between the research study and prior research. Such positioning is essential in order to demonstrate to others a) the relevant domains that inform the work and b) the contribution the work has made to these domains. In this short paper I propose to review the importance of positioning in management research, or indeed social science research more generally; to suggest a mapping approach for both locating the research and defining its contribution and finally to consider how researchers may deal with the dynamics of this process over the period of the research. In terms of my positioning, the paper is written as a contribution to those undertaking a doctorate, whether it be a PhD or DBA, however I believe that these ideas are of equal value to researchers more generally in preparing research proposals and disseminating their work.
The text on this page is reproduced with permission from Professor Mark Jenkins, Cranfield School of Management. The ideas are based on teaching sessions with PhD and DBA students at Cranfield School of Management, and draw from ideas on writing developed by Anne Huff.