To read this content please select one of the options below:

Bridging the data divide between practitioners and academics: Approaches to collaborating better to leverage each other’s resources

Sabine Benoit (Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK) (Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia)
Sonja Klose (FOM University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany)
Jochen Wirtz (NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Tor Wallin Andreassen (Department of Strategy and Management, Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway)
Timothy L. Keiningham (Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St John’s University, Queens, New York, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 30 October 2019

Issue publication date: 15 November 2019




Organizations (data gatherers in the context) drown in data while at the same time seeking managerially relevant insights. Academics (data hunters) have to deal with decreasing respondent participation and escalating costs of data collection while at the same time seeking to increase the managerial relevance of their research. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework on how, managers and academics can collaborate better to leverage each other’s resources.


This research synthesizes the academic and the managerial literature on the realities and priorities of practitioners and academics with regard to data. Based on the literature, reflections from the world’s leading service research centers, and the authors’ own experiences, the authors develop recommendations on how to collaborate in research.


Four dimensions of different data realities and priorities were identified: research problem, research resources, research process and research outcome. In total, 26 recommendations are presented that aim to equip academics to leverage the potential of corporate data for research purposes and to help managers to leverage research results for their business.

Research limitations/implications

This paper argues that both practitioners and academics have a lot to gain from collaborating by exchanging corporate data for scientific approaches and insights. However, the gap between different realities and priorities needs to be bridged when doing so. The paper first identifies data realities and priorities and then develops recommendations on how to best collaborate given these differences.

Practical implications

This research has the potential to contribute to managerial practice by informing academics on how to better collaborate with the managerial world and thereby facilitate collaboration and the dissemination of academic research for the benefit of both parties.


Whereas the previous literature has primarily examined practitioner–academic collaboration in general, this study is the first to focus specifically on the aspects related to sharing corporate data and to elaborate on academic and corporate objectives with regard to data and insights.



The authors are grateful to the following individuals for their time and effort in responding and providing with their valuable feedback (in alphabetical order of the first name listed for each research center): Mary Jo Bitner from the Center for Service Leadership at Arizona State University; Yongchang Chen from the Institute of Service Excellence at SMU (ISE) at the Singapore Management University; Robert Ciuchita and Kristina Heinonen from the Center for Relationship Marketing and Service Management (CERS) at Hanken School of Economics; Bo Edvardsson and Per Kristensson from the Service Research Center – CTF at Karlstad University; Thorsten Gruber from the Centre for Service Management (CSM) at Loughborough University; Dominik Mahr from the Service Science Factory (SSF) at Maastricht University; Roland Rust from the Center for Excellence in Service (CES) at the University of Maryland; and Mohammed Zaki from the Cambridge Service Alliance at the University of Cambridge. (Note: Tor W. Andreassen from the Center for Service Innovation (CSI) at NHH Norwegian School of Economics, contributed as an author.)

This study was partially funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Singapore.Project: Service Productivity and Innovation Research, No. MOE2016-SSRTG-059.


Benoit, S., Klose, S., Wirtz, J., Andreassen, T.W. and Keiningham, T.L. (2019), "Bridging the data divide between practitioners and academics: Approaches to collaborating better to leverage each other’s resources", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 524-548.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles