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Human aspects of interdisciplinary research

Shaista E. Khilji (The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 25 February 2014



Based upon the argument that the primary characteristic of successful interdisciplinary research lies in human behavior and action (Brun et al., 2007 as cited in Buller, 2008), the purpose of this paper is to offer a view on human aspects of interdisciplinary research.


The paper presents interdisciplinary research as an overlapping process of collective human interactions, consisting of group composition, conceptualization, integration and contribution. Conceptualization and integration processes are particularly important for knowledge exchange and creation as individuals learn to translate, articulate, relate and relocate their original disciplinary positions (Buller, 2008). Further, the paper argues that interdisciplinarity can be enhanced through appropriate group mechanisms and practices; and successful interdisciplinary research also translates into individual (and group) learning and capability development, in addition to knowledge creation.

Research limitations/implications

Interdisciplinary research is important for IB scholars to stay relevant in today's complex environment (Cheng et al., 2009). Since the South Asian region represents extreme contrast and paradoxes, interdisciplinary research could prove particularly valuable in exploring contradictions there (Khilji, 2012).


The value of this perspective is in describing interdisciplinary research as a boundary-spanning experience for researchers in that it facilitates creation of new insights and allows them to transcend their original discipline. However, interdisciplinarity itself is not automatic, but must be collectively managed through appropriate group mechanisms and practices (Buller, 2008; Haythornthwaite, 2006).



The authors would like to thank Naresh Khatri and Masud Chand for their thoughtful review of this editorial. All errors are the authors’.


E. Khilji, S. (2014), "Human aspects of interdisciplinary research", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 2-10.



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