Transformative Business Studies: Technology Transfer in the Social Sciences

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In order to successfully transfer research results of business studies to practical application, there is a need to produce knowledge that has practical relevance and is transferrable to new contexts. This, naturally, creates requirements for the research process and methodology. In this paper, the methodology for conducting transformative business studies is presented, which is based on a combination of the design science research paradigm, participative research, and controversy mapping inspired by actor-network theory. The combination of these research methodologies and paradigms forms a methodological basis for producing transferrable research results that concern larger organizational and social change. It allows approaching ill-defined research problems through design thinking and systematically validating and verifying research results with practitioners in order to ensure the applicability of results in practice. To illustrate the methodology, we utilize an example of a method for designing business ecosystems that was developed in a collaboration between Åbo Akademi University and the research-based consultancy PBI Research Institute. This method was created during a series of projects devoted to the biogas-for-traffic business and concerned the development of enabling business ecosystems for innovations. Due to the way the knowledge was recorded, it was possible to transfer this knowledge to new contexts, such as logistics and energy business.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)537–552
JournalTechnology and Innovation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • actionable knowledge
  • clinical research
  • design science
  • actor-network theory
  • pragmatism

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