Business Professionals and Scholarly Literature

Carmen Nobel, recently writing for Forbes, zeroes in on a question that is worth asking: “Why don’t business professionals read academic business journals?” I guess it’s not fair to make a blanket assumption that all business professionals do not read scholarly literature, but it is probably safe to say that a majority do not. Nobel’s article focuses on this thought: “Research conducted at business schools often offers no obvious value to people who actually work in the world of business.” To delve further, there is “the priority paradox” that addresses why more scholars at business schools don’t strive to make their work “practically relevant?” Here’s a quote:

One reason is that for many, working on relevant problems has little impact on faculty members’ academic success. When it comes to making tenure, budding professors are evaluated in part on the number of papers they publish in peer-reviewed journals. Primarily written for and read by other academics, many of those journals tend to reward novelty over applicability.

Perhaps when focusing on this issue, it is wise to understand and appreciate the value that academic journals bring to the world of business. An earlier post of mine provides a link to examples of where thought leadership discussed in academic literature lead to highly successful business and management books.

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