Managing the Academic-Practitioner Interface: How Boundary Communities Enable Theory Influence over Practice
Although the academic-practitioner gap has been framed as a knowledge production problem, few studies have relied on knowledge management research to explain how theory becomes influential over managerial practice. Furthermore, the material context of knowledge production by academics and practitioners occur has been neglected. This paper addresses these issues by shedding light on the functions played by boundary objects, boundary organizations and boundary community at the academic-practitioner interface. The latter concept is proposed as a missing level of analysis that accounts for long-term knowledge production at the boundary thanks to the preservation of hybrid identity of the boundary community members. A case study of decision analysis—a community that aimed at making decision theory influential over managerial decision making during the last 50 years—shows how a boundary community has nurture the production and maintenance of boundary organizations and boundary objects and facilitated the creation of knowledge about how to use a theory of decision making in practice.