Theorizing the Research-Practice Gap in the Field of Management: A Review of Key Frameworks and Models

Theorizing the Research-Practice Gap in the Field of Management: A Review of Key Frameworks and Models

Oleksandr Tkachenko (University of Minnesota, USA), Huh-Jung Hahn (University of Minnesota, USA) and Shari Peterson (University of Minnesota, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9998-4.ch006


This chapter provides a review of key theoretical frameworks and models in the field of Management that conceptualize various aspects representative of the research-practice gap phenomenon. In particular, the authors discuss the scholarly literature and review key frameworks and models on the topic by elaborating on three streams of research: the rigor-relevance debate; knowledge creation and production; and the role of educational institutions in bridging the gap. In addition, more recent, and, rather, holistic perspectives on narrowing the research-practice divide are also presented. These perspectives are Engaged Scholarship and Evidence-Based Management. The chapter concludes with solutions and recommendations aimed at fostering the convergence between research and practice.
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The issue of narrowing the gulf between research and practice is hardly a new theme in the management literature. According to Rynes et al. (2001), academic forums on the use of research findings and research relevance took place as early as the 1980s. These forums were concurrent with and/or followed by various scholarly publications in this area (e.g., Beyer & Trice, 1982; Lawler, Mohrman, Mohrman, Ledford, & Cummings, 1985). As observed by Rynes et al. (2001), these works did not perceive the gap between research and practice as purely restricted to the organizational sciences. Rather, they underscored its omnipresence in various fields where both researchers and practitioners were present. In addition, the advent of the literature on the topic seems to be characterized by skepticism as to whether bridging the divide was possible (or even desirable); that perspective stemmed from the perception that “researchers and users belong to separate communities with very different values and ideologies” (Beyer & Trice, 1982, p. 608).

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