The authorship of this article is strictly alphabetical, reflecting the fact that this work is the product of a joint and equal contribution on the part of all three authors. Correspondence and/or requests for reprints can be addressed to any of the authors, as indicated above.
The practitioner-researcher divide in Industrial, Work and Organizational (IWO) psychology: Where are we now, and where do we go from here?
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2010
2001 The British Psychological Society
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume 74, Issue 4, pages 391–411, November 2001
How to Cite
Anderson, N., Herriot, P. and Hodgkinson, G. P. (2001), The practitioner-researcher divide in Industrial, Work and Organizational (IWO) psychology: Where are we now, and where do we go from here?. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74: 391–411. doi: 10.1348/096317901167451
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2010
- Cited By
There is current concern that the researcher, or academic, and the practitioner wings of our discipline are moving further apart. This divergence is likely to result in irrelevant theory and in untheorized and invalid practice. Such outcomes will damage our reputation and ultimately result in our fragmentation. We present a simple 2 × 2 model along the dimensions of relevance and rigour, with the four cells occupied by Popularist, Pragmatic, Pedantic, and Puerile Science, respectively. We argue that there has been a drift away from Pragmatic Science, high in both relevance and rigour, towards Pedantic and Popularist Science, and through them to Puerile Science. We support this argument by longitudinal analyses of the authorship of academic journal articles and then explain this drift in terms of our stakeholders. Powerful academics are the most immediate stakeholders for researchers, and they exercise their power in such a way as to increase the drift towards Pedantic Science. Organizational clients are the most powerful stakeholders for practitioners, and in their effort to address their urgent issues, they push practitioners towards Popularist Science. In the light of this analysis, we argue that we need to engage in political activity in order to reduce or redirect the influence of the key stakeholders. This can be done either directly, through our relationship with them, or indirectly, through others who influence them. Only by political action can the centrifugal forces away from Pragmatic Science be countered and a centripetal direction be established. Finally, we explore the implications of our analysis for the future development of members of our own profession.