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Marketing as an applied science: Lessons from other business disciplines

Hughes, Tim; Bence, David; Grisoni, Louise; O'Regan, Nicholas; Wornham, David


Tim Hughes
Professor in Applied Marketing

David Bence

Louise Grisoni

David Wornham
Associate Lecturer - FBL BAM - UBAM0001


Purpose: This paper seeks to investigate what the marketing field can learn, with regard to the academic/practitioner divide, from other management disciplines that have a range of different relationships with their respective practitioners. Design/methodology/approach: The authors carried out 68 interviews of academics, practitioners and experts/consultants involved in academic/practitioner engagement from the marketing, accountancy, strategic management and organisation studies disciplines. Findings: The most interesting aspects relate to two areas: exclusive engagement (as exemplified in accountancy) versus inclusive engagement (as exemplified in strategic management), and the practices associated with participative research (as exemplified in organisation studies). The appropriate approach to engagement will depend on the nature of the relationship between the academic field and its particular community of practitioners. Research limitations/implications: The research is limited to academics, practitioners and experts/consultants operating from the UK. However, the findings on the challenges of engagement are consistent with those reported in the extant literature. Practical implications: The first implication relates to defining what we mean when we talk about "practice". The literature is often vague with regard to this. Does it relate to functional professionals or a far wider group of non-specialists? A useful starting point might be to conduct an audit to clarify where aspects of marketing theory are relevant. The second implication relates to what needs to be done to engage with non-inclusive groups of practitioners. Some conditions required for success are outlined. Originality/value: The paper explores a knowledge gap in relation to the practice of engagement. It identifies why it is important to debate the nature of the practitioner community, and provides some guidelines for effective engagement. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Hughes, T., Bence, D., Grisoni, L., O'Regan, N., & Wornham, D. (2012). Marketing as an applied science: Lessons from other business disciplines. European Journal of Marketing, 46(1), 92-111.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2012
Journal European Journal of Marketing
Print ISSN 0309-0566
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 1
Pages 92-111
Keywords management research, marketing management, academic staff, higher education
Public URL
Publisher URL