On Bridging of the Academic-Practitioner Divide in Business Education: New Opportunities in the New Era


  • Andrew Banasiewicz Merrimack College




academic-practice gap, organizational learning, learning with data, data analytic literacy, evidence-based management


When described by management practitioners, academic management research is often characterized as unconcerned with practical problems and outright dismissive of practitioners’ needs, in addition to being jargon-laden, overly mathematical, theoretical, and self-referential. That unflattering characterization is generally believed to be a product of rigor vs. relevance paradox, which is at the core of the perceived lack of practical utility of theoretical management research. More specifically, it is a reflection of systemic misalignment of (management) practitioners’ informational needs, which center on insight uniqueness as a key ‘ingredient’ of organizations’ ability to create and sustain competitive advantage, and the broadly framed goals of theoretical research, which emphasize the search for universal truths in the form of generalizations. However, the now rapidly unfolding Age of Data is creating an opportunity to bridge – and perhaps even close – the persistently unproductive management theoretical research – management practice divide. The opportunity to bridge that gap stems from the growing importance of ongoing organizational learning centered on thoughtful and methodologically sound utilization of organizational data resources, recently framed as learning with data, and rooted in the notion of data analytic literacy. This article discusses how the need to validly and creatively utilize readily available and vast data resources can lead to a closer alignment of management practitioners’ informational needs and management researchers’ theoretical objectives.

Author Biography

Andrew Banasiewicz, Merrimack College

Professor of Practice and Director of Data Science Programs, Merrimack College, N. Andover, MA, USA

Professor of Business Analytics, Cambridge College, Boston, MA, USA



10 Feb 2022



Special issue on University of the Future