Edited by Yvonne McNulty and Jan Selmer
Chapter 21: Expatriate research for and with practitioners
Many organizations fail to implement leading-edge practices that have been shown by research to contribute to staff productivity and the financial performance of the enterprise. Those issues that academics are interested in do not get commensurate attention from practitioners. It seems that key human resource (HR) research findings are not acknowledged, read or agreed upon by practitioners. In turn, there is a lack of research into those issues that practitioners are interested in. Themes that are dear to practitioners, such as compensation, are only rarely explored through research. In fact, some authors talk about a ‘theory’ versus ‘practice’ dichotomy where human resource approaches are rarely guided by sound theory and, instead, often follow fads. This chapter will first discuss the advantages and challenges for academics to engage in research collaborations with practitioners. The argument points to the tremendous importance of exploring organizational and individual patterns and how practitioners can support this investigative journey. Then, I explore research for and with practitioners in the global mobility area. In so doing, an eight-step process model of academic–practitioner engagement is developed. Throughout, comments from experienced practitioners and academics outline a variety of considerations and provide recommendations. It includes perspectives from my own experience as well as those from business (n=2) and academia (n=4) who have worked extensively on research projects with partners from ‘the other side’ of the academia–industry divide. Lastly, six distinct forms of academic–practitioner collaboration are presented together with my personal reflections and recommendations.
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