The relevance of practice-based research
While ‘practice-based studies’ was developed as a reaction to lack of practical relevance in research on for example strategy, today it is argued that there is little debate about what “relevance” actually means, and how it should be achieved. In a recent paper published paper in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Violetta Splitter and David Seidl pose the question whether practice-based research today actually lead to practically relevant knowledge?
The full paper can be downloaded here.
It has often been argued by scholars adopting a practice approach that by focusing on “what people do in relation to strategy” their research would be particularly relevant to practitioners. In response to this assumption, this article draws on a Bourdieusian perspective to argue that most practice-based strategy scholars are unaware of their inevitably “scholastic view” which is the cause for the gap between strategy research and praxis. This unawareness leads to two related fallacies: epistemic doxa and scholastic ethnocentrism. In order to avoid these fallacies, strategy researchers need to develop a particular kind of reflexivity by engaging in what is known as “participant objectivation.” This enables the researcher to generate rigorous research that is conceptually relevant to practitioners—without dissolving the necessary differentiation between strategy research and praxis.