In our international study of seven countries, we found that the academic-practitioner divide is as real today as it was three decades ago. The divide, which is more pronounced in some regions, is likely to worsen as society becomes more digitally complex, exacerbated by the lack of industry experience among young scholars entering academia in some quarters. Many bridging solutions were explored in this study, but the most important solution is for academia to produce relevant research, one that is useful for the industry. This should be widely and innovatively disseminated in a way that is easy to understand without dumbing it down. Practitioners generally do not like or know how to collaborate with academics, suggesting a need to develop a culture or mechanism that can raise awareness and foster mutual respect and trust between academia and industry. Bridging the divide will be challenging because of the existing academic reward structures. This situation needs to change. The discovery of two successful research institutes in the Netherlands and Australia shows how this divide can be bridged.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
An institute worth mentioning is the UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Their research is partially funded exclusively by a financial services company, called Liberty Holdings. The institute produces market reports, primarily for practitioners, which are almost exclusively about the markets in South Africa. These reports cater first to the needs of the practitioners, and then on the building of academic theory. As one respondent remarked, “…our primary focus is actually on making the practitioners happy first and then filling gaps in academic literature. We believe that both can happen with the right approach” These reports represent a way of bringing academia and practitioners together. For more information of the institute, see UCT Liberty Institute http://www.libertyinstitute.uct.ac.za
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Academic-practitioner divide
- bridging solutions
- knowledge transfer
- research collaboration
- rigor versus relevance