Practitioners are from Mars; academics are from Venus? An investigation of the research-practice gap in management accounting

Basil P. Tucker, Alan D. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to identify and gain insights into the significance of barriers contributing to the purported "gap" between academic management accounting research and practice. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on diffusion of innovations theory, this study collects and analyses data from a questionnaire survey and follow-up interviews with 19 representatives of the four principal professional accounting bodies in Australia. Findings: Professional accounting bodies perceive the gap between academic research and practice in management accounting to be of limited concern to practitioners. The two most significant barriers to research utilisation by practitioners are identified as: difficulties in understanding academic research papers; and limited access to research findings. In acting as a conduit between the worlds of academia and practice, professional bodies have an important role to play by demonstrating the mutual value to both academics and practitioners resulting from a closer engagement between MA research and practice. Research limitations/implications: As one of the few empirically-based, theoretically informed investigations exploring the research-practice gap in management accounting, this study provides insights rather than "answers". Its findings therefore serve as a foundational basis for further empirical and theoretical enquiry. Originality/value: This study contributes to the conversation about the "research-practice gap" in management accounting by adopting a distinct theoretical vantage point to organize, analyse and interpret empirical evidence obtained from Australian professional accounting bodies about management accounting practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-425
Number of pages32
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2014


  • research-practice gap
  • management accounting research
  • diffusion theory
  • Australia


Dive into the research topics of 'Practitioners are from Mars; academics are from Venus? An investigation of the research-practice gap in management accounting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this