Interdisciplinary research is a promising approach with which to generate innovative solutions to real-world problems and create social value, yet it is a risky choice for early career academics (ECAs). This essay outlines the risks and rewards associated with interdisciplinary scholarship within the context of business schools. We use structuration theory as a guiding framework to identify howinstitutional structures can constrain the agency and interdisciplinary aspirations of ECAs and others who do not fit within the current narrow definitions of disciplinary excellence. Sharing examples from the authors' journeys as ECAs from different disciplinary backgrounds who study leadership and management through interdisciplinary approaches,we identify four challenges to interdisciplinarity that ECAs face and propose four corresponding solutions at both the individual and structural levels. Our goal is to inform, inspire, and engage ECAs who want to pursue interdisciplinary research, while encouraging senior scholars, department chairs, and deans to foster interdisciplinarity in their departments and schools.We urge individual ECAs to be proactive in managing their promotion and tenure process, and departments to develop a more flexible understanding and evaluation of interdisciplinary scholarship.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management