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The Management Researcher as Practitioner –Issues from the Interface

Saunders, Mark NK (2010) The Management Researcher as Practitioner –Issues from the Interface In: Challenges and Controversies in Management Research. Taylor and Francis, pp. 241-255. ISBN 978-0-203-83411-4 (In Press)

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This chapter focuses upon the issues and associated opportunities and constraints faced by academic management researchers undertaking research that is immediately useful and relevant to practitioners. It takes as its starting point the emphasis given to the academic-practitioner interface by the relevance debates of the past decade and government policy initiatives to support knowledge transfer from academia to practice. As previous chapters have revealed, a substantial body of literature arguing the need for relevance in management research now exists (for example Huff and Huff, 2001; Starkey and Maddon, 2001; Rousseau, 2006; Van Aken, 2005). Although this highlights possible reasons for management academics deciding whether or not to undertake research at the interface and issues associated with such working (for example Bartunek, et al. 2006; Pollit, 2006; Macbeth, 2002), the actual realities have been discussed less widely. When discussions occur, they highlight differences between management researchers and practitioners in their orientations. Here the focus tends to be on potential tensions and constraints management researchers may face (for example, Buchanan et al., 1988; Learmonth, 2008; Macbeth, 2002), rather than also considering potential opportunities such interface research may offer along with issues that might need to be addressed (for example, Cornelissen, 2002; Maclean and Macintosh, 2002).

This chapter is written with the belief that, while not all management research can or should be of direct relevance to practitioners or have commercial value, management researchers can address the needs of practitioners, delivering practical, relevant and useful research grounded in practice. This adoption of a practitioner orientation in research I refer to as ‘management researcher as practitioner’. I begin the chapter with a consideration of differences between management researchers and practitioners derived from the literature, which highlights possible tensions and the potential issues these create. This is followed by two case studies based on my own and colleagues’ experiences, offered as inside accounts of such research. These are used to explore and discuss the tensions and issues, highlighting associated opportunities and constraints. I conclude with a discussion of how the differences outlined can offer the management researcher as practitioner additional research opportunities at the interface, albeit constrained by practitioners’ requirements.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Saunders, Mark
Editors :
Cassell, Catherine
Lee, William J
Date : December 2010
Depositing User : Maria Rodriguez-Marquez
Date Deposited : 15 Dec 2010 15:59
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 16:25

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