Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons for the continuing “gap” between UK retail academic research and practice. A relationship marketing (RM) lens, focussing on relationship antecedents, is used to develop a deeper understanding of the barriers to collaboration and propose new solutions to close the gap.Design/methodology/approachThe paper adopts a qualitative methodology to compile the evidence, using multiple data sources to identify the dynamics of the retail academic-practitioner divide.FindingsThe research illustrates a marked absence of the majority of the customer focussed, seller focussed and dyadic antecedents, essential for effective relational exchanges, and highlights that at the heart of the problem lies a lack of shared understanding of mutual relationship benefits with academics currently neither motivated nor incentivised to develop such relationships.Research limitations/implicationsFurther research is needed to explore what characterises a successful sustainable research relationship. There is also a pressing need to understand the experience, skills and knowledge of “boundary spanners” who operate successfully in both academic and business cultures.Practical implicationsUniversities should adopt a strategic approach towards building relationships with retailers based upon relationship antecedents. Reward structures should be developed to encourage academics to develop research relationships. Resources should be allocated to better defining and communicating the benefits of a university research relationship with retailers.Originality/valueThere has been limited empirical research on the academic-practitioner gap within the context of the UK retail sector. The RM lens draws attention to new insights about barriers to successful relationships and generates concrete ideas for closing the gap moving forward.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management
|Early online date
|9 Jan 2017
|E-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2017
- Relationship marketing
- Academic-practitioner gap