Practice Rules

August 13, 2015

Practice Rules

How many degrees of separation do you think there are between the research in management sciences to to making an impact on business and organizational practice?


Not as many as you might have first thought.


If you listened to the editors of Harvard Business Review, the People + Strategy journal and the Conference Board speaking at the Academy of Management in Vancouver earlier this week, you learned that the reward is worth your time and focus if the reward is changing people's behavior in business.


What is the secret sauce of translating research into practice? In brief, as the editors noted, it is about solving someone else's problem in a new way. It is also about developing a point of view and it is about activating your ideas through practice.  


You know of a problem that persists.You see a process that stopped delivering. You find relevant research first published in an obscure academic journal and you help bring it to real life--practice. 


Such was the story of Ethan Bernstein, the HBS professor of leadership who won the 2014 HBR Research Award for his article, "The Transparency Trap" published in October 2014. The publication was an applicable, actionable, and accessible version of his earlier, academic paper in Leadership Quarterly.


In short, it takes the village to turn all the nuggets of research insight into execution insight to the business, and the editors speaking at the academy are willing to help.

The Authors: 

Anna A. Tavis, Ph.D., is executive editor of the People + Strategy journal and an adjunct graduate professor at New York University. She is the founder of She can be reached at or