Cocreating rigorous and relevant knowledge

Garima Sharma, Pratima (Tima) Bansal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The communities of research and practice are embedded in different knowledge systems; research favors rigor, while practice favors relevance. Many management scholars have concluded that cocreating knowledge with these two knowledge systems is difficult and rare, with such criticisms or reservations often being based on an event-based account of cocreation in which the cocreation activities occur over a distinct period of time with a clear beginning and end. However, event-based accounts bring the challenges of cocreation into focus. In the present research, we have assumed a process ontology, which brings the dynamics into focus and recognizes that cocreation is continuous. We observed two projects in which researchers and managers collaborated to generate knowledge related to business sustainability, and conducted 67 interviews with 47 participants in similar projects. We found that, by making the process explicit, participants were better able to cocreate knowledge. Furthermore, we identified two devices that helped to make the process explicit: (1) making temporal connections between events and (2) recognizing the incompleteness of the objects. Our study contributes to prior research on cocreation by showing that cocreation occurs not just within events but also between events, so that rigor and relevance are imbricated over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-410
Number of pages25
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

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