Examining the transfer of academic knowledge to business practitioners: doctoral program graduates as intermediaries
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The relevance of academic research to practice has been a widespread topic for academics to debate. This study investigated whether practitioners who hold a business-related Ph.D. degree may act as intermediaries in the transfer of academic knowledge from academia to industry. Based on the extant literature, a model of knowledge transfer was developed and used as a lens of analysis. Twenty one Ph.D. graduates were interviewed. The data were subjected to content analysis to test current knowledge transfer theory. First, it was found that the lack of demand for evidence-based knowledge in industry deters practitioners from using academic research. Second, when these practitioners remain involved in the academic domain, they are more likely to access and apply academic knowledge. Lastly, the attitude of a practitioner’s employer or client impacts the probability of the practitioner using academic literature in decision making processes. The findings of this study revealed how influential an organization’s culture is in determining what sources of knowledge practitioners access and apply to perform their responsibilities. The implications of this study include a recommendation for doctoral program curriculums to include more applied knowledge. Additionally, it recommends that industry employers should provide employees with access to academic literature. In summary, the results reinforced the importance of understanding the relationship between a source and a receiver as studied in this case between academics and practitioners.