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Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods

3.34 Business and Management Studies, UoA 43

UoA Description and Boundaries

3.34.1 The Business and Management unit of assessment consists of the areas of Accounting and Finance, Organisational Behaviour, Corporate Strategy, Business and Industrial Economics, Management Science, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management, Public Sector Management, Technology Management, Information Management, International Business, Service Management, Management Education, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Business History and any other disciplines aligned to Business and Management.


3.34.2 The Panel will not form sub-panels to assist in the assessment on any particular area of work but instead will invite specialist advice in areas which are beyond the expertise of the members e.g. Information Management.

Interdisciplinary Research

3.34.3 Researchers are encouraged to submit their highest quality pieces of work irrespective the extent of its interdisciplinary nature. The Panel encourages departments to highlight the value of the research undertaken in cognate areas.

3.34.4 Interdisciplinary research which falls within the expertise of the Panel will be assessed by sub-committees formed from the Panel members with expertise in the cognate and functional disciplines incorporated within the research.

Higher Education Pedagogic Research

3.34.5 The Panel encourages researchers to submit their highest quality research which may include HE pedagogic research relating to the disciplines within the Business and Management unit of assessment. In the event that relevant expertise is not available on the Panel to assess this work, advice will be sought from a specialist adviser or from the Education Panel.


3.35.6 Cross-referral will be used in two specific instances.

  1. In the event that relevant expertise is not available on the Panel advice will be sought from a specialist adviser or another panel.
  2. In the event that the Panel receives submissions containing a substantial proportion of work which overlaps with the remit of another UoA, such as Economics and Econometrics. In this case the Panel expects to cross-refer the submissions to the Panel of the other UoA in order to ensure consistency of standards applied in cognate areas. In recognition of the overlap between Business and Management and Accounting and Finance these two panels have a joint panel member to facilitate referral.

3.34.7 The final decision of the rating of submissions rests with the panel to which they are submitted.

Joint Submissions

3.34.8 Joint submissions will be treated as a unitary submission and the Panel expects that they will demonstrate genuine co-operation and collaboration beyond that normally found between academics in different institutions.

Treatment of Evidence

3.34.9 The Panel will focus on the quality and impact of the research output which a department lists in its submission and will judge each part of the submission in the context of the research strategy, mission, objectives and culture of the department.

Research Output (RA2)

3.34.10 It is the Panel's intention to accept any research output, whatever its source. The Panel will assess all evidence, including journal articles and books, as well as chapters in books, edited collections, conference contributions and electronic forms of publication, for their contribution to the body of knowledge. The Panel will assess these on their own merits, and will seek external advice where this is needed.

3.34.11 The Panel will judge an output in terms of its quality within the field. The Panel encourages the submission of the maximum number of outputs allowed per individual researcher if at least that number have been published within the assessment period. Where a significant number of established academic staff within a department have not cited four works of good quality produced within the period, the Panel may view this as indicating a lack of research depth in the department. However, the Panel recognises that a smaller number may be appropriate and will take account of this, for example in the case of members of staff who have recently embarked upon a research career, or where a substantial research work has been published in book form. Departments may wish to use RA6 to offer an explanation when fewer than four outputs are submitted.

3.34.12 The Panel will not make any prima facie discrimination between forms or sources of research output. It is not the Panel's intention to exclude any high quality output, whatever its source. It will assess output on its individual merits, for its original, creative and innovative contribution to the body of knowledge, technical excellence and its impact on the area of knowledge.

3.34.13 The Panel considers group authorship appropriate and even desirable on occasion for the publication of multi-centre collaborative research. Jointly authored work should normally be cited only once in a submission, as this allows institutions to maximise the amount of work cited. Order of authorship will not be considered important.

Research Students and Research Studentships (RA3)

3.34.14 The Panel will consider Research Student and Research Studentship data as secondary criteria, which is not strictly necessary for a good rating, but which may enhance a rating.

3.34.15 In looking at numbers of research students, the Panel will give most weight to evidence of the number of research degrees awarded. Where there are increasing numbers of research students over the reporting period, it will consider these in the light of the transitional stages within some institutions towards a new culture of research.

3.34.16 The Panel will not differentiate between the sources of research studentships when making quality judgements.

3.34.17 The Panel will take into account the research councils' lists of accredited institutions, but will view these in the context of the department's mission and culture.

External Research Income (RA4)

3.34.18 The Panel sees this data as an input, not an output measure and will view it as evidence of the research culture. Where there is expansion of research activity, the Panel may use this information as an indicator of potential for the future.

3.34.19 In general, the Panel will look for a portfolio of sources, consistent with, and appropriate to, the research mission, objectives and culture of the department, along with its level of achievement. The Panel will consider evidence of support from externally refereed sources, such as the research councils, charities, government, industry and commerce.


Research Structure and Environment

3.34.20 When preparing RA1 the Panel encourages departments to use the research group fields to identify research groups where these exist and where not, to identify research field. The Panel considers that this UoA does not require a 'critical mass' of researchers in order to achieve any particular quality rating. Where appropriate, the information provided in this section should be related to any listed research groups or fields.

3.34.21 The Panel suggests that where appropriate departments should provide the following information:

  1. Define any research groups and / or fields, who belong to them (referring to RA1), their prime activities, how they operate and their main achievements.
  2. List other UoAs to which related work has been submitted and detail any difficulties of fit between departmental structure and the UoA framework.
  3. Explain the mechanisms and practices for promoting research and sustaining and developing an active and vital research culture.
  4. Describe the nature and quality of the research infrastructure, including facilities for research students.
  5. Describe any arrangements which are in place for supporting interdisciplinary or collaborative research and highlight the value of any research undertaken in cognate areas.
  6. Provide information on any relationships with industry and commerce or other research users and where appropriate on the account taken of Government policy initiatives and objectives.

Staffing Policy

3.34.22 In this section, the Panel invites commentary upon changes, particularly recent changes, in research active staff during the reporting period. The Panel will interpret such commentary in terms of the stated research strategy and culture of the department, and the evidence of the output. The Panel invites institutions to provide the following information:

  1. Describe any policies, arrangements and/or resources used for the development and support of the research work of staff.
  2. Describe any policies, arrangements and/or resources aimed at developing the research of younger and /or new researchers and for integrating them into a wider, supportive research culture.
  3. Where appropriate explain the role and contribution of category A* staff who have joined the department.
  4. Where appropriate, comment on how the departure of staff in categories A*, B and D has affected the strength, coherence and research culture of the department at the census date.

Research Strategy

3.34.23 The Panel will look at the performance of the department, in terms of progress as well as attainment, in light of the plans it submitted in 1996. The Panel will have available for its consideration an analysis of research activity against the department's previous (1996) declaration, and the setting out of its plans for the future. The Panel advises departments to use this section to provide a statement about the main objectives and activities in their current research strategy. The Panel's attention should be drawn to research work that is in progress.

Self Assessment

3.34.24 The Panel invites institutions to 'tell their story' by describing the development of their research structure and strategy with reference to the plans they submitted in 1996 and identifying the current strengths and weaknesses of their department. An objective, self critical self-assessment will enable the Panel to assess the viability of the current research strategy.


Evidence of Esteem

3.34.25 The Panel advises departments to use this section to inform it of highlights of research activity and vitality not captured elsewhere in the submission. The Panel wishes to evaluate such activity in light of the external bodies involved, and the geographical scope of the activity. The following examples are illustrative:

  1. editorships and associate editorships of journals and book series;
  2. visiting scholarships (inward and outward);
  3. appointments as policy and business advisers and consultants;
  4. contributions to professional bodies and societies.

Individual Staff Circumstances

3.34.26 Institutions are invited to note any individual staff circumstances which have significantly affected their contribution to the submission (e.g. periods of sick leave, career breaks, engagement on long term projects etc).

Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

3.34.27 Institutions may also wish to discuss the relative contribution made to research by staff who have not been returned as research active.

Working Methods

3.34.28 Each Panel member will review all submissions. In addition the Panel, in conjunction with specialist advisers and members of other panels to whom work is cross referred, will collectively examine in detail a minimum of 10% of the items of research output cited in submissions.

3.34.29 Panel members will examine outputs according to their field of expertise. The user member and specialist advisers will be asked to give advice on the significance, applicability and relevance of applied research to industry, commerce and the field of management. The outputs will be rated according to a three point scale - international, national and sub-national. These ratings will then be aggregated firstly to give a rating for each research group and then to form a single rating for the submission in accordance with the seven point RAE rating scale. The aggregation process is not purely mechanistic; the Panel will exercise its professional judgement on the evidence of research culture provided in RA3,4,5,and 6. The Panel will focus detailed examination on work which has not undergone peer review or is published in new and less familiar media. For work not examined in detail the Panel will take account of the reviewing, refereeing and editorial standards applied to the source of output.

3.34.30 Each Panel member will be assigned as co-ordinating assessor for approximately ten submissions and deputy co-ordinator for another ten. The co-ordinator and deputy are responsible for collating advice from within the Panel and that resulting from referral to other panels and specialist advisers for each of the submissions. They will use this advice firstly to produce an aggregate quality rating of the outputs in each submission and then to form an overall rating of the submission taking into account all the information presented by the institution. The co-ordinator and deputy will present their respective submissions to the Panel with their suggested rating. The Panel will discuss each submission and produce a provisional rating. Provisional ratings will be revisited during the assessment period so that the Panel can moderate between ratings awarded at different times.

3.34.31 The Panel expects to make its decisions by consensus. However if consensus is not achieved the rating decision will be based on a majority vote and if necessary the Chair will have a casting vote.

3.34.32 The Panel will interpret international excellence as being 'as good as the leading research in those countries where there is significant body of work in the field'. Work of international excellence helps to set the international research agenda in the field, or contributes significantly to its development. National excellence will be defined as work which is not of such widely recognised significance but is well researched, substantive and, where appropriate relevant to policy and practice. The terms 'international' and 'national' refer to a quality standard, and not to the nature or scope of any particular research.

3.34.33 The Panel will use non-UK based experts to advise on the setting and application of the international standard on the disciplines within this unit of assessment. The Panel proposes to identify a group of non-UK based experts with a range of subject expertise and originating from different geographical areas. These experts will be sent all submissions provisionally rated 5 and 5* and a sample of those rated 4.

Last updated 17 April 2000

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