Choice Points: The Making of a Scholar-Practitioner

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78560-019-7, eISBN: 978-1-78560-018-0

ISSN: 0897-3016

Publication date: 27 June 2015


Early in one’s career in psychology, certainly starting in graduate school, if not sooner as a psych major in college, a choice point gradually emerges between seeking a career as a scholar, a scientist, and perhaps as an academic versus pursuing the life of a practitioner, one who applies the work of the former, the scholar. We faculty will often cast this choice in the form of a “tension” between science and practice. Ironically, I have never felt such tension. The purpose of this chapter is to explore choices we make in life and career, the consequences of these choices, and what we can learn in the process, that is, along the way and the implications for organization change and development.




I appreciate very much the assistance I have received from John Bennett in writing this chapter. For his doctoral dissertation (Bennett, 2006), John profiled five of us who had been recipients of the OD Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award – Billie Alban, Charlie Seashore, Edie Seashore, Ed Schein, and me. John graciously sent me a copy of his dissertation, which helped me to get some facts straight regarding my career.


Burke, W.W. (2015), "Choice Points: The Making of a Scholar-Practitioner", Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 1-38.

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