Scholarly management journals: are they relevant for practitioners? Results of a pilot study

  • Elena Giaretta
  • Federico Brunetti
  • Marco Minozzo
  • Chiara Rossato
  • Paola Castellani
  • Claudio Baccarani
  • Angelo Bonfanti
Keywords: management research, relevance, academic journals, practitioners, university


Purpose of the paper: This paper aims to verify how interesting and useful practitioners find academic management research by asking entrepreneurs and managers what they think of some articles published in leading journals that have been selected on the basis of precise criteria as representative of management research.

Methodology: This pilot investigation was conducted in April and May 2015. In accordance with the study design, a convenience sample of 43 entrepreneurs and managers were sent four articles published in leading management journals in 2014 by e-mail, accompanied by a simple questionnaire consisting of closed-answer questions. Although they strictly lacked statistical validity, the 23 completed questionnaires that were returned not only provide the first feedback concerning the subject of the study, but also offer some fundamental indications concerning the approach of the project as a whole that will help to refine the orientation of its next phase.

Findings: An analysis of the literature shows that the very concept of relevance is difficult to measure, as its defining traits are characterised by a certain level of ambiguity and the meaning that is attributable to them is rather complex. This paper highlights how management research should focus on subjects that are of real interest to practitioners, satisfy the need for rigour required by positive sciences, and be capable of producing knowledge that has a strong impact on professional communities.

Practical implications: The ongoing debate cannot remain confined to academic circles, but needs to involve practitioners with whom to establish a synergistic dialogue. They should ask management researchers to study problems that are relevant and interesting to them, and observe the more complex and dynamic situations that firms have to face.

Originality and value: In literature the importance of clarifying whether and in what ways the results of university scientific research are used in practice has emerged. This paper proposes and testes a rigorously systematic framework in order to enable us to investigate the way in which managers perceive management research with the aim of increasing the relevance of academic research strategies and the editorial policies of management journals.


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