Building a Better Mousetrap? The Research-Practice Gap in Management Accounting - What Can We Learn from Nursing?

52 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2014

See all articles by Basil P. Tucker

Basil P. Tucker

University of South Australia

Gillian Vesty

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technolog (RMIT University)

Date Written: June 16, 2014

Abstract

As has been the case with many applied disciplines, it has long been argued that academic research in management accounting does not effectively contribute towards informing practice. Described variously as a ‘gap’, ‘schism’, ‘divide’, or a mutually exclusive choice between ‘rigour and relevance’, the perceived failure of academic research towards making useful and usable contributions to ‘the real world’ has been much lamented, primarily by academics but also by practitioners. Nevertheless, much of the academic discourse surrounding the relevance of academic research to management accounting practice has rarely looked to how other disciplines have addressed this challenge. This is surprising in view of the eclectic evolution of academic management accounting research in terms of the theories it draws on, methodologies it adopts and methods it employs. As a phenomenon that apparently respects few disciplinary boundaries, the so-called ‘research-practice gap’ as it applies to management accounting, is arguably one that may be reasonably informed by the efforts made by other disciplines. Because of its established tradition in promoting the need for evidence-based practice, and the progress it has achieved in so doing, the ‘other discipline’ to which the current study looks is that of nursing. Drawing on qualitative evidence from professional bodies in both the management accounting and nursing domains, this study compares and contrasts the ways in which the research-practice gap is perceived, and what might be done towards bridging it. Our findings suggest both similar as well as quite different barriers impede the ways in which academic research might, or should more effectively meet the needs of practitioners, but despite discipline-specific differences, much can be learned by management accounting from the experience of nursing in making inroads into bridging this gap.

Keywords: academic research, practice, research-practice gap, external engagement

JEL Classification: M41

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Basil P. and Vesty, Gillian, Building a Better Mousetrap? The Research-Practice Gap in Management Accounting - What Can We Learn from Nursing? (June 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2480246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2480246

Basil P. Tucker (Contact Author)

University of South Australia ( email )

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

Gillian Vesty

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technolog (RMIT University) ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

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