Let's talk: getting business and academia to collaborate

Tim Hughes (Reader in Applied Marketing at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Nicholas O'Regan (Professor of Strategic Management at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
David Wornham (Director of Business Development at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 4 September 2009



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.


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


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.


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.



Hughes, T., O'Regan, N. and Wornham, D. (2009), "Let's talk: getting business and academia to collaborate", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 50-56. https://doi.org/10.1108/02756660910987617

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