Bridging the conference gap: a challenge to enhance the research – practice dialogue

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [The Aga Khan University]On: 12 November 2014, At: 01:57Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Human Resource DevelopmentInternationalPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rhrd20</p><p>Bridging the conference gap:a challenge to enhance theresearchpractice dialoguePhilip Graham Dr a &amp; Martin Kormanik ba Perspectives Incorporated , Richmond, VAb O.D. Systems , Alexandria, VAc Perspectives Incorporated , 11219 Hixson Place, Richmond, VA,23236, USA E-mail:Published online: 17 Feb 2007.</p><p>To cite this article: Philip Graham Dr &amp; Martin Kormanik (2004) Bridging the conference gap: achallenge to enhance the researchpractice dialogue, Human Resource Development International,7:3, 391-393, DOI: 10.1080/1367886042000245996</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1367886042000245996</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. 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Terms &amp;</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rhrd20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/1367886042000245996http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1367886042000245996</p></li><li><p>Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>The</p><p> Aga</p><p> Kha</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>57 1</p><p>2 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>. SOAP BOX .</p><p>Bridging the conference gap: a challenge to enhancethe research practice dialogue</p><p>Philip GrahamPerspectives Incorporated, Richmond, VA</p><p>Martin KormanikO.D. Systems, Alexandria, VA</p><p>As practitioners, we have the opportunity to attend numerous conferences geared</p><p>toward practice in OD, HRM and HRD. Instead, in an effort to lead the profession</p><p>through research we choose to participate in the more academic conferences, such asthose sponsored by the Academy of Management and the Academy of Human</p><p>Resource Development. This year at AHRD in particular, from the pre-conference</p><p>workshops to the conference symposia and innovative sessions, the Austin conferenceprovided a clarion call to bridge the gap between research and practice. In every</p><p>session, it seemed that someone touted the reciprocal benefits of the practitioner </p><p>researcher relationship.Despite being energized by these academic conferences, we remain frustrated. Our</p><p>expectation is simple enough. Every year we see great potential for engaging in</p><p>meaningful dialogue and substantive interaction with fellow practitioners andacademic colleagues. Unfortunately, each year it seems that the communication that</p><p>actually takes place falls short of that potential due to the usual progression of rote</p><p>conference sessions listening to one-way dissemination of information with little tono opportunity for substantive and meaningful interaction. While we are warmly</p><p>engaged by our academic colleagues and feel totally welcome and respected as</p><p>members of the academy, we are nevertheless distanced by the presentation format ofresearch in symposium style. Three questions at the end of forty-five minutes of</p><p>hurried research presentations or brief comments exchanged while walking from the</p><p>keynote address to the first symposium of the day do not embody meaningfuldialogue and substantive interaction. That said, we offer some suggestions for ways</p><p>to enhance the research practice dialogue.</p><p>Rather than question the hard work of conference organizers, our challenge isfocused more on conference presenters and participants. In many conference</p><p>presentations, attendees sit quietly listening to pro forma presentations of what mayrepresent months or years of research. All too often, the focus and the majority of theallotted time is spent on the background and methods of the study, with each</p><p>presenter intent on demonstrating his or her expertise and rigor in research.</p><p>Predictably, coverage of the findings and conclusions is done in a hurried fashion,leaving only minutes to identify implications for theory, research and practice. The</p><p>HRDI 7:3 (2004), pp. 391393</p><p>Human Resource Development InternationalISSN 1367-8868 print/ISSN 1469-8374 online 2004 Taylor &amp; Francis Ltd</p><p>http://www.tandf.co.uk/journalsDOI: 10.1080/1367886042000245996</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>The</p><p> Aga</p><p> Kha</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>57 1</p><p>2 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>lack of adequate attention to the implications and applications of the research isfrustrating. Although session chairs work diligently to keep presentations on time,</p><p>and then desperately try to engage the listeners in a question and answer session that</p><p>follows, there is seldom sufficient time allocated for a meaningful social dialogueamong interested parties.</p><p>A few years ago we heard Kenneth Goodpaster deliver an outstanding keynote</p><p>address on themoral dimensions of corporate leadership.He called for the need tomeetinsanity with integrity. Noting the corporate pattern of avoiding the close examination</p><p>of purposes and practices by pushing for the top, he challenged us to pause and look</p><p>inside regarding what we are doing and why we are doing it. It was a provocativeaddress. The response of the academy, however, was to ask a few general questions from</p><p>the floor and head off to the next symposium.No dialogue. No substantive interaction.</p><p>No pause to look inside of who we are, what we do, or why. We rushed to the top topublish and present so that we might not perish. Yet we lost an incredibly valuable</p><p>opportunity for reflection, inquiry, and dialogue within the academy.</p><p>To improve the level of dialogue and content of interaction, we suggest that theframework for conferences and the submission and presentation of papers be altered.</p><p>What would it be like if we took an hour after each keynote speaker to break into</p><p>groups of eight to ten and discuss what had been presented? Perhaps we could eventake ninety minutes to ask one another questions, to pause to look inside. What</p><p>would it be like if the page limit for research paper submissions included a minimal</p><p>amount for conclusions and implications? Reviewers could also challenge the authorsto go further in developing the conclusions and implications sections. What would it</p><p>be like if symposia session chairs were given more time and training to facilitate,</p><p>ensuring that emerging researchers, seasoned academics and scholar practitioners hadan equal voice? Perhaps each paper symposium could have fewer papers, structuring</p><p>the format with less time on background and methods and more time allotted to</p><p>conclusions, implications and interaction with those attending.It would also be helpful if more time could be scheduled between formal</p><p>conference sessions. Increasingly, we hear from both practitioner and academic</p><p>colleagues that the learning from incidental and informal contacts is greater than thelearning obtained from attending formal conference sessions. We have learned to</p><p>adjust as individuals by spending more time inviting colleagues into informal</p><p>dialogues over food, drinks, a walk or meeting in the lounge.Our observation is that there is a substantial gap between the stated purpose of</p><p>academic conferences and the real purpose. The apparent purpose-in-use, to</p><p>paraphrase Argyris and Schon, is to publish and present as many research papers aspossible in as short a time as possible. Being scholar-practitioners, we understand that</p><p>our conference expectations may be different from the expectations of our colleagues</p><p>from academia. As we work to find the common ground between research andpractice, we seek a balance between the researchers need for publication, presentation</p><p>and academic rigor and the practitioners need for implications and applications.</p><p>Although making these changes might force a reduction in the number ofconference sessions and papers presented, doing so might also inspire a challenge to</p><p>improve the quality of the research product. We continue to hope for the</p><p>development of joint ventures with our academic colleagues. Our fervent desire isto see research influence practice, and in turn for practice to influence research in</p><p>Soap Box</p><p>392</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>The</p><p> Aga</p><p> Kha</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>57 1</p><p>2 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>reciprocal fashion. At the very least, we want to begin a conversation in ourcommunity of scholarship on ways to engage one another meaningfully in the</p><p>conference forum.</p><p>Addresses for correspondence</p><p>Dr Philip GrahamPerspectives Incorporated</p><p>11219 Hixson Place</p><p>Richmond, VA 23236USA</p><p>E-mail: pgraham-pci@comcast.net</p><p>Martin Kormanik</p><p>1200 Prince Street</p><p>Alexandria, VA 22314USA</p><p>E-mail: mkormanik@odsystems.com</p><p>Graham: Bridging the conference gap</p><p>393</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>The</p><p> Aga</p><p> Kha</p><p>n U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 01:</p><p>57 1</p><p>2 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li></ul>

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