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Theory into practice: meditations on cultures of accountability and interdisciplinarity in marketing research

Brownlie, Douglas and Hewer, P.A. and Ferguson, P. (2007) Theory into practice: meditations on cultures of accountability and interdisciplinarity in marketing research. Journal of Marketing Management, 23 (5-6). pp. 395-409. ISSN 0267-257X

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Abstract

Nowadays managerial culture is an increasingly critical ingredient of successful knowledge production. For some scholars and practitioners the apparent disconnect between funders, users and researchers as sites of production and consumption comes with costs to the marketing academy and its various stakeholder communities. Closing the perceived gap between theory and practice assumes the proportions of a heroic struggle between the sacred and the profane; between the abstract high-mindedness of theory and the lowly but useful deeds of practice. Various perspectives are offered by way of analysing the origins of this gap, as illustrated in the recent special issue of Marketing Intelligence and Planning (2004). The academy organises itself as if systems of accountability and accessibility in knowledge making are clearly understood and enforceable through the construct 'relevance'. We argue that the academy needs to better understand the inescapable part it plays in circulating unhelpful discourses of marketing theory and practice, and the imputed differences between them it authorises. We offer an alternative understanding that seeks to move the discipline beyond the isolationist stance unwittingly constructed by the problematic dualism of 'theory - practice', pointing to the need to better understand the making of marketing knowledge products, and the interdisciplinary social practices increasingly required of them.