The value of the research doctorate: a conceptual examination

Valerie Anderson, Jeff Gold

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This paper addresses the value of doctoral studies as a form of management education. Whilst attention is paid to the value of undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes, research degrees have received scant attention. We report an exploratory qualitative study to examine the concept of value in relation to the doctorate as described in doctoral thesis documents and by doctoral supervisors. We develop an initial conceptual model of the value of the doctorate. Our analysis identified similarities in descriptions of the value of the doctorate by doctoral supervisors with descriptions found in doctoral theses. However, analysis shows that students include personal, professional and organizational outcomes in their conceptualization of value but supervisors focus on value associated with methodological and epistemological features of knowledge generation. Management educators are expected to attend to research impact and applied outcomes. This study suggests a lack of equivalence between value attributed to the doctorate by students and the value articulated by supervisors. We contend that current norms in doctoral education privilege the assumptions of the academic community at the expense of the practice community. We argue that a wider conceptual definition of the value of the doctorate to recognize applied, personal and organizational outcomes is required.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100305
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Management Education
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Evaluation
  • Doctorates
  • Contribution
  • Impact
  • Management education


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