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Theorizing with managers: how to achieve both academic rigor and practical relevance?

Theorizing with managers: how to achieve both academic rigor and practical relevance? PurposeThe aim of the paper is to address the widening theory-praxis gap in marketing. The authors propose that one viable solution to this challenge is involving practitioners in research processes as active, reflective and empowered participants. Most extant discussions addressing the inclusion of managers as partners in theorizing restrain themselves to an “if” question, arguing whether or not it is possible to create sufficiently rigorous knowledge in collaboration with practitioners. This leaves the “how” question unanswered, i.e. how should such gap-bridging research be conducted in practice.Design/methodology/approachBased on a literature review of collaborative theorizing processes, the authors develop a conceptual framework highlighting the main research design decisions when theorizing with managers. The use of the framework is illustrated with four research program examples.FindingsMost accounts of theorizing with managers use – explicitly or implicitly – abduction as the main mode of inference. In addition to this philosophical commonality, our literature review identified 12 themes that should be considered when designing collaborative research processes. The four illustrative examples indicate that theorizing with managers is an effective way of producing and socializing both academically sound and managerially relevant knowledge. On the other hand, collaborative theorizing processes are time-consuming and studies using abductive reasoning may be more challenging to publish in top-tier journals.Originality/valueThis paper makes two contributions. First, the authors go beyond the extensive academic literature which provides a plethora of explanations and ideas for potential remedies for bridging the theory-praxis gap by offering a detailed description how one particular solution, theorizing with managers, unfolds in practice. Second, the authors ground collaborative theorizing processes in the philosophy of science and put abduction forward as a common nominator for such studies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Marketing Emerald Publishing

Theorizing with managers: how to achieve both academic rigor and practical relevance?

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0309-0566
DOI
10.1108/EJM-03-2017-0171
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe aim of the paper is to address the widening theory-praxis gap in marketing. The authors propose that one viable solution to this challenge is involving practitioners in research processes as active, reflective and empowered participants. Most extant discussions addressing the inclusion of managers as partners in theorizing restrain themselves to an “if” question, arguing whether or not it is possible to create sufficiently rigorous knowledge in collaboration with practitioners. This leaves the “how” question unanswered, i.e. how should such gap-bridging research be conducted in practice.Design/methodology/approachBased on a literature review of collaborative theorizing processes, the authors develop a conceptual framework highlighting the main research design decisions when theorizing with managers. The use of the framework is illustrated with four research program examples.FindingsMost accounts of theorizing with managers use – explicitly or implicitly – abduction as the main mode of inference. In addition to this philosophical commonality, our literature review identified 12 themes that should be considered when designing collaborative research processes. The four illustrative examples indicate that theorizing with managers is an effective way of producing and socializing both academically sound and managerially relevant knowledge. On the other hand, collaborative theorizing processes are time-consuming and studies using abductive reasoning may be more challenging to publish in top-tier journals.Originality/valueThis paper makes two contributions. First, the authors go beyond the extensive academic literature which provides a plethora of explanations and ideas for potential remedies for bridging the theory-praxis gap by offering a detailed description how one particular solution, theorizing with managers, unfolds in practice. Second, the authors ground collaborative theorizing processes in the philosophy of science and put abduction forward as a common nominator for such studies.

Journal

European Journal of MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 11, 2017

References