Ben Arbaugh, chair of the management and human resources department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business wears many hats.
He’s a distinguished professor of management, founding member of the Society of Business and Management Education Researchers and associate editor of Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. He also researches scholarly productivity on educational research in business schools.
“It’s a lot of archival work … collecting data on articles published in journals in the last 10 years, looking at the author and institution composition, author’s scholarly profile, determining scholarly profiles of respected journals and examining them for content that is educational research related,” Arbaugh said. “Then I examine institutional websites to get a good idea of the size of a university’s business school faculty to see what percentage of them are involved with educational research.”
Arbaugh, who has a doctorate in business strategy from The Ohio State University, a master’s in business administration from Wright State and a bachelor’s of business administration from Marshall University, said he is intrigued by studying educational research in business schools.
“Self-interest initially drove my research, and the idea of discovery,” Arbaugh said. “My own goal is to attract more scholars to this line of inquiry. The second is to change the narrative that is going on in business schools.”
Educational research should drive the development and implementation of curriculum, something he said UWO’s College of Business has been relatively active in.
“That puts schools that engage in educational research to have the narrative to tell external audiences how we develop curriculum effectively,” Arbaugh said. “Why would you not want to send your children, employers, etc. to an institution that is invested in making sure students learn most effectively.”
UW Oshkosh’s College of Business has three departments ranked in the top 50 for educational research. The management and human resources department is No. 1 and both information systems and economics are in the top 50.
In the executive MBA classes Arbaugh teaches, he talks with his students about being better consumers of business literature and they discuss his research.
“Good research is expensive both in terms of time and money,” Arbaugh said. “Without it, we run the risk of having people make less than fully informed decisions about how they go about doing things.”