What the Right Hand is Doing: Academic and Practitioner Perceptions of the Research-Practice Gap in Management Accounting

54 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2013

Date Written: August 18, 2013

Abstract

Concerns about the extent to which academic research engages with practice have been repeatedly voiced in the management accounting literature. How widespread this apparent concern is within the academy has not been extensively investigated, and the views of non-academics have rarely been canvassed in this conversation. This study provides empirically based insights about how research does and should engage with practice. Based on interviews with an international sample of 64 senior management accounting academics and 19 senior representatives of four principal Australian professional accounting bodies, this study finds that both professional bodies and the majority of academics agree that research does not adequately inform practice, and that this gap needs to be bridged. A minority yet nevertheless significant proportion of academics, however, do not see such engagement as a priority. Contrary to much of the discourse in this debate, this paper concludes that equating ‘relevance’ with engagement with practice is an over-simplification of the role and potential value that academic management accounting research might contribute, and argues for a perspective that values both theoretical significance as well as practical importance in management accounting research.

Keywords: Academic research, research-practice gap, rigour-relevance, engagement.

JEL Classification: M41

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Basil P., What the Right Hand is Doing: Academic and Practitioner Perceptions of the Research-Practice Gap in Management Accounting (August 18, 2013). AAA 2014 Management Accounting Section (MAS) Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2312198 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2312198

Basil P. Tucker (Contact Author)

University of South Australia ( email )

37-44 North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000, South Australia 5001
Australia

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