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The Theory–Practice Gap: Redefining Relevance

A Focused Issue on Building New Competences in Dynamic Environments

ISBN: 978-1-78441-275-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-274-6

ISSN: 1744-2117

Publication date: 27 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper proposes to rethink the concepts of relevance and usefulness and their relation to the theory–practice gap in management research.

Methodology/approach

On the basis of the cognitive-linguistic relevance theory or inferential pragmatics, supplemented by insights from information science, we define relevance as a general conceptual category, while reserving usefulness for the instrumental application in a particular case.

Findings

There is no reason to hold onto the difference between theoretical and practical relevance, nor to distinguish between instrumental and conceptual relevance.

Originality/value

This novel approach will help to clarify the confusion in the field and contribute to a better understanding of the added value of management research.

Keywords

Citation

Vermeylen, S. (2014), "The Theory–Practice Gap: Redefining Relevance", A Focused Issue on Building New Competences in Dynamic Environments (Research in Competence-Based Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 271-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1744-211720140000007010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited