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How Pracademics Can Help to Address the Rigour-Relevance Gap in Business and Management Schools

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Professional Development for Practitioners in Academia

Part of the book series: Knowledge Studies in Higher Education ((KSHE,volume 13))


Growth in the number of pracademics in business schools can make a significant contribution to addressing the ‘rigour-relevance gap’, which has long been a concern of business and management schools. Influential commentators have argued that business and management research is overly concerned with achieving scholarly impact, primarily through journal publications, to the detriment of relevance to practice. Likewise, teaching and learning in many business schools is regarded as too theoretical and does not prepare students adequately for the ‘real world’ of business. Not all observers accept this view, but there can be little doubt that the career paths of most business and management academics tend to emphasise doctoral qualifications and scholarly outputs rather than practical experience of management and leadership. The authors reflect on their experiences as practitioners and academics, working with colleagues with backgrounds within and outside academia. The increasing influence of pracademia can facilitate business research, teaching, and learning that has impact beyond the academy. However, there are several barriers to the achievement of this potential, requiring radical and creative solutions. Proposals include enhancing the status of professional doctorates, reforming academic career structures to reward the distinctive contributions of pracademics and creating genuinely ‘porous’ business schools.

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  1. 1.

    We use the term ‘business school’ as a shorthand to describe academic schools that teach and research topics related to business and management. Some such organisations are known as schools or departments of management, or similar.

  2. 2.

    ‘The Research Excellence Framework is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.’ (REF, 2022).


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Correspondence to Steve Johnson .

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Johnson, S., Ellis, M. (2023). How Pracademics Can Help to Address the Rigour-Relevance Gap in Business and Management Schools. In: Dickinson, J., Griffiths, TL. (eds) Professional Development for Practitioners in Academia. Knowledge Studies in Higher Education, vol 13. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-33745-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-33746-8

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