Neil Anderson and his colleagues have given a lot of thought to the divide between research and practice. They focus on this in Industrial, Work and Organizational (IWO) Psychology. I don’t know much about this discipline. Still, a lot of the problems seem quite familiar. As such, they highlight the practitioner-research divide beyond marketing.
In Pursuit Of Impact (Factors)
The authors note problems within psychology. They see a trend towards parts of the discipline with higher impact factors and higher publication rates. This is challenging because it is somewhat self-reinforcing. (Trends towards a sub-discipline which publishes more increases impact factors. The increased impact factors strengthen the trend).
One interesting piece of analysis they do is on academic-practitioner publication. (Papers with a non-academic on them). They note a major drop off in all practitioner publications over time in some of their major journals. (This analysis is hard to do perfectly. Some journals were created later. These late journals seem especially academic heavy. Still the idea is pretty clear.)
Collaborative papers between academics and practitioners have remained at a low, but relatively constant level.Anderson, Herriott and Hodgkinson, 2001, page 397
Four Quadrants Of Science
These authors blame stakeholders for driving research down an unhelpful path. They outline four quadrants and argue stakeholder incentives are driving towards Puerile Science. Their model is helpful to envisage what they mean.
We present a simple 2 x 2 model along the dimensions of relevance and rigour, with the four cells occupied by Popularist, Pragmatic, Pedantic, and Puerile Science, respectively. We argue that there has been adrift away from Pragmatic Science, high in both relevance and rigour, towards Pedantic and Popularist Science, and through them to Puerile Science.Anderson, Herriott and Hodgkinson, 2001, page 391
I guess you can say that a lot of academic work is in the pedantic box. This work can be very well done. Still it is often essentially pointless.
This drive to the puerile isn’t in the long term interests of the stakeholders. Yet, it still happens. They note the familiar problem of academics acting as gatekeepers. The problem is that this can drive academia towards irrelevance. In the long term this is terrible. Yet in the short term, and for any individual, it is the way to go.
Crossing The Practitioner-Research Divide Beyond Marketing
They see the solution. Collective action to ensure Pragmatic Science dominates their field. This is hard. Given this I’m not as optimistic as I might be. Still let us hope.
For more on the academic/practitioner divide see here.
Read: Neil Anderson, Peter Herriot, and Gerard P. Hodgkinson. “The practitioner‐researcher divide in Industrial, Work and Organizational (IWO) psychology: Where are we now, and where do we go from here?” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 74, no. 4 (2001) 391-411.