My research philosophy is brief: “Stay Humble” and “Keep it Simple.” Management research is not a fashion show. The fancy theories and sensational cases will disappear eventually. Only findings that can guide and improve real business will be left.
“Stay Humble” has two implications. First, I try not to draw generic conclusions from limited observation. In the management field, data is hard to obtain, and research is hard to repeat. In many cases, findings are fragmented and conflict with one another. So, when I develop a theory, I try to narrow its theory boundary. When testing a theory, I explain the specific circumstance from which empirical data are collected.
The second implication of “Stay Humble” relates to being aware of the limitations of methodology. Before adopting a method or scale, I clearly state the assumptions and conduct the required assumption tests. Linear regression is the technique used most frequently in my research. However, I seldom declare that the relations between variables are linear.
These two implications of “Stay Humble” are very basic principles suitable for all researchers, yet they are overlooked by many scholars.
“Keep it Simple” means that I try to make my research understandable and accessible by people outside of my discipline, especially managers and students. When possible, I avoid using technical terminology and long sentences in my papers. Also, I try to focus on simple but practical issues and to provide clear and straightforward solutions. If I am not able to help a non-academic person understand my research topic in five minutes, that indicates I have not yet adequately clarified my research question. In such a case, I modify my paper until clarity is achieved.-- Yundong Huang