My Affair With the "Other": Identity Journeys Across the Research-Practice Divide

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Empson, L. (2013)

The extent of the divide between management research and practice is now widely accepted but debate persists about the desirability and feasibility of attempting to bridge the divide. This article introduces an individual-level perspective to this literature by asking, how is a management academic’s identity affected by sustained engagement with management practitioners? Using autoethnographic methods, I identify the intense identity conflict that an academic can experience as he or she seeks to cross the research–practice divide. I develop an identity narrative to explain how I experienced and ultimately reconciled my conflicting work identities. I identify the factors that can create and exacerbate identity conflict, examine the experience of identity conflict, and suggest tactics for resolving identity conflict. I consider the broader implications of this autoethnography for our understanding of the research–practice divide and offer some final reflections to encourage management scholars who seek to cross this divide.
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