Connecting Scholars and Business

TWO YEARS AGO, Harvard Business School added a feature to HBS Working Knowledge, the school’s website that aims to disseminate its faculty’s research to practitioners.

Called the Research Exchange, the page allows HBS faculty to invite the participation of companies in their experimental field studies. So far, the school has promoted field studies for ten professors and doctoral students.

The idea originated from Michael Norton, associate professor of business administration, and Carmen Nobel, editor of HBS Working Knowledge. “Carmen and I wanted to make this process more active, where managers not only learned about faculty research but served as partners in the research process,” says Norton.

The exchange has developed slowly—currently, one field experiment is underway with a company that learned about the research through the exchange. But Norton’s goal is for the site to become an “iterative process” where initial collaborations lead to more research collaborations in the future.

“I think it is only a matter of time. An increasing number of researchers are interested in direct collaboration with companies,” says Norton. “Matchmaking services like the Research Exchange have the potential to meet this interest.”

The topics currently listed on the Research Exchange can be found at hbswk.hbs.edu/classified.