what the study is about

There are advantages and challenges for academics to engage in research collaborations with global mobility practitioners. While most management academics want to contribute to practice, there remains a lack of research into the issues that mobility practitioners are actually interested in. Themes that are dear to practitioners (e.g., expatriate compensation, cost-reduction) are only rarely explored through academic research. Why is this so? What can be done about it? And what are the pertinent issues that mobility practitioners see as being a top priority for expatriate researchers?

why it matters

Academics tend to use logic and the quality of their data to make their case. In fact, it is normal for academics to identify a ‘gap’ in knowledge and then devise a study to attempt to fill it. However, practitioners tend to be driven by current or future organizational and leadership challenges and may not be interested in helping to fill an academic gap. The resulting academic research usually does not pass their ‘so what?’ test. Clearly, academics and practitioners often have different agendas. 

The diverse interests of academics and practitioners are not mutually exclusive but require a shared understanding between the parties and a degree of flexibility to accommodate the various agendas. In the end, research collaboration will only ‘fly’ if strong common interests can be identified and pursued.