Scientist-Practitioner: “And”, Not “Or”.

This paper belongs to of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

John Kello, Davidson College (Psychology)

Organizational science is a multi-disciplinary area of research that has obvious relevance to practice. Our area of study is the real world of the organization. We embrace the scientist-practitioner model. And, the reality is that scientist-practitioner often equates to scientist or practitioner, rather than to scientist and practitioner.
Our professional conferences commonly offer science/research or practice/applied tracks. Many of the professional surveys we take ask us to self-identify as academic or practitioner, and the subsequent questions branch from there.
Organizational scientists who work primarily in academia do their research out of genuine interest, of course, but also out of the need to publish in top academic journals and get extramural funding, and thereby qualify for tenure and promotions. As researchers they largely write for each other, and read and build on each other’s research in a sort of academic “echo chamber”. Practitioners (and their clients in the organizational world) aren’t likely to read the research that academicians publish in academic journals. Most practitioners are busy finding and using the best tools they can in order to make a positive difference with their clients. They may lack the time (and perhaps the statistical sophistication) to access and digest our academic publications. They rarely if ever go to JAP or P-Psych for actionable ideas.
As one who actively works to maintain a balanced scientist-and-practitioner career, I want to address the divide. Our shared interest in workplace meetings gives us a powerful starting point for doing so, as the workplace meeting in its many forms is widely perceived as problematic by organization members, and is the focus of much recent and potentially highly relevant and applicable research, in which members of this symposium participate.
I will suggest some ways we can make our science more relevant and accessible to those who could use it, and open dialogue with fellow scientists, practitioners, and scientist-practitioners.

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