ECRM Keynote Speakers

The following are outlines for the Keynote Speeches which will take place at ECRM 2020.

Re-thinking research methods in Social Sciences: Moving away from determinism

Dr. Paul Griffiths

 The objective of this talk is to be thought-provoking by questioning the established research paradigms in the social sciences, and specifically, in the field of Business and Management studies.

 My contention is that Causality i.e. cause and effect can be seen as the result of a reductionist view of the Universe, a mechanistic one through which we assimilate the social and life sciences to the natural ones. We assume that cures to deceases are solved by repairing or substituting organs, and workers are replaceable cogs in the machinery of production. This is a view of the world reinforced by Cartesian logic and Newtonian physics.

 Margaret Wheatley’s (2006) ‘Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World’ proposes an alternative view inspired by quantum physics. It takes a holistic  (I use this term in the sense of Anderson’s ‘emergence’ in ‘More is Different’ and not in the Eastern mysticism sense) view and systemic approach where the important things are not the components or organs, but the relationships between them. “As we leave behind the machine model of life and look more deeply into the dynamics of living things, we begin to glimpse an entirely new way of understanding fluctuations, disorder and change” (p.xl). In this approach we see vision and values acting like fields, invisible but real forces that influence people’s behaviours.

 I do not declare myself to be schooled in quantum mechanics, in fact quite the contrary, but I am fascinated by the potential of attempting to import this paradigm into management studies. I will reflect on possible applications in my own fields such as Intellectual Capital management and the impact of artificial intelligence.


Finding the right Keywords: How to help students effectively use keywords (thesis, dissertation or research article)

Joao José Pinto Ferreira, University of Porto, Portugal

Using the right keywords for a search in main databases such as SCOPUS or ISI Web of Science is essential for a useful literature review. However, students new to a topic are seldom able to pick the best keywords. Seasoned researchers would likely perform well in their domain of expertise; albeit, they would likely struggle to do it effectively outside that specific domain. Any researcher that has done this before will know that finding the right academic publications is an iterative process. What we shall discuss in my lecture is how we can use public domain, free software tools, to help young researchers or researchers new to a domain to navigate through thousands of publications and to assess if what they have found in their search reflects what they do in fact want.