Beyond research method to research collaboration: Research co-production relationships with practitioners

Louise Young*, Per Vagn Freytag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The IMP 2018 Conference theme “From Business to Research and Back Again”, highlights the importance of academic research providing and effectively communicating findings that have value for non-academic communities. This paper argues that engaged and reciprocal research relationships with the business community can provide this value. The traditional character of a relationship between the academic researcher and the “researched” is one where researchers dictate the terms of the research, i.e. they choose what topics to consider and to try to get funding for, the modes of investigating, and ways findings are gathered, interpreted and communicated. Extending a recently-published book of readings about doing research WITH managers (Freytag & Young, 2018), the work of a number of the contributors is used as a basis for an argument that increased value is created and greater relevance is achieved by deeper forms of reciprocal research collaboration with business and government practitioners. The foundations of this kind of win-win research collaboration include epistemological compatibility, solid theoretical grounding, relevant research practices and systematic co-evaluation that are geared to specific collaborative settings. The resulting research can better advance not only practice-related knowledge but also the theoretical and empirical knowledge of business academia. This is illustrated with examples of several projects and programmes where research is effectively co-produced and benefits accrue to all.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26. Mar 2020


  • Business
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge co-production
  • Research design
  • Research relevance

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