Chapter | Useful Research: Advancing Theory and Practice | 2011

On Knowing and Doing: A Perspective on the Synergies between Research and Practice

by Michael Tushman


The current rigor/relevance debate is a central strategic issue for business schools and their faculty. I argue that ongoing relationships with firms, rooted on the joint acknowledgement of the importance of faculty research by firms and respect for practice by faculty, increase the quality and impact of faculty research. With roles and boundaries clear, such ongoing relationships with firms, particularly those rooted in executive education venues, increase the insightfulness of our research questions and the quality of our data. Such relationships also benefit doctoral training. Further, to the extent that these relationships help faculty translate our field’s research into practice, we are able to live into our institutions' promise to shape managerial practice. These engaged relationships with firms help faculty and their business schools excel in both rigor as well as relevance. This paper provides a personal example of these synergistic relationships and discusses boundary issues associated with these faculty/firm collaborations. Executive education in general, and custom programs in particular, may be an underleveraged vehicle in reducing the rigor/relevance gap between business schools and the world of practice.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Business Education; Executive Education; Practice; Relationships; Research;


Tushman, Michael. "On Knowing and Doing: A Perspective on the Synergies between Research and Practice." In Useful Research: Advancing Theory and Practice, edited by Susan Albers Mohrman and Edward E. Lawler III. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011.