Let's talk: Getting business and academia to collaborate

Tim Hughes*, Nicholas O'Regan, David Wornham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Many academics have raised concerns about the growing divide between academia and practice. While more collaborative research has been called for there is a lack of research into the actual practice of academic/practitioner engagement. This research aims to explore the application of strategic management theory and the role of universities in exchanging strategic management knowledge to practice. 

Design/methodology/approach: In depth interviews were undertaken with practitioners, academics and experts in order to get a balance of views from different perspectives. 

Findings: Organizations seem to have absorbed standard, iconic strategy techniques and are not, generally, relying on academia for new insights. On the academic side there is some uncertainty about what industry "needs". The transfer of new strategy approaches can only be achieved once practitioners acknowledge the credibility of academia in contributing to practitioner related issues. 

Practical implications: For academics to have credibility with practitioners the context and content of collaborations need to be more proactively managed through more effective processes. The context relates to understanding the operating environment that the firm is in and how the firm's goals and objective are aligned with that environment. The content refers to the program of research or action areas selected as part of the collaboration framework. The process refers to how the collaboration is handled. 

Originality/value: The research takes up the challenge of exploring how academics and practitioners in strategic management can work more effectively together in order to apply the latest strategic thinking to the real-life complexities of the contemporary business world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Strategy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2009


  • Academic staff
  • General management
  • Knowledge management
  • Production management


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