Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology > Research & Publications > IOP Journal > IOP Focal Articles

Quantifying the Scientist–Practitioner Gap: How Do Small Business Owners React to Our Academic Articles?


Steven Zhou, Lauren N. P. Campbell, and Shea Fyffe 

Much ink has been spilled on the scientist–practitioner gap, that is, the apparent divide between knowledge published in academic peer-reviewed journals and the actual business practices employed in modern organizations. Most prior papers have advanced meaningful theories on why the gap exists, ranging from poor communication skills on the part of academics to paywalls and other obstacles preventing the public from accessing research in industrial-organizational psychology (I-O). However, very few papers on the scientist–practitioner gap have taken an empirical approach to better understand why the gap exists and what can be done about it. In our focal article, we specifically discuss the gap as it pertains to small businesses and present empirical data on the topic. Drawing from our experiences working with and in small businesses before entering a PhD program, we suggest that a primary reason for the existence of this gap is the differences between large and small businesses, and we advance two theory-driven reasons for why this is the case. Next, we compiled abstracts and practical implications sections from articles published in top I-O journals in the past 5 years, then we collected ratings and open-ended text responses from subject matter experts (i.e., small business owners and managers) in reaction to reading these sections. We close by recommending several potential perspectives, both for and against our arguments, that peer commentators can take in their responses to our focal article.

Keywords: scientist-practitioner gap, science communication, research, small businesses, practical implications



View as a Word Document           View as a PDF


Under Attack: Why and How I-O Psychologists Should Counteract Threats to DEI in Education and Organizations


Kayla Brooke Follmer, Isaac Sabat, Kristen P. Jones, and Eden King


“Instructors and materials teaching that men and members of certain races, as well as our most venerable institutions, are inherently sexist and racist are appearing in workplace diversity trainings across the country, even in components of the Federal Government and among Federal contractors… Therefore, it shall be the policy of the United States not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services, and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes. In addition, Federal contractors will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees."     Executive Order 13950 signed by Donald J. Trump, September 22, 2020

As highlighted in the opening quote above, former President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order in 2020 that cast diversity training and education programs in an alarmingly negative light, describing them as “destructive,” “anti-American,” and “designed to divide us and to prevent us from uniting as one people in pursuit of one common destiny for our great country.” Furthermore, in the days leading up to this Executive Order, President Trump publicly decried institutions that teach curricula that recognize the existence of systematic racism and White privilege, likening such curricula to a form of “child abuse” and instead advocating for “patriotic education” and a “pro-American curriculum” (National Public Radio, 2020). Despite the fact that this executive order was overturned by President Biden, it set a precedent for state-based legislation seeking to defund or dismantle diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs within institutions of higher learning and workplace organizations. In this article, we contend that these legislative initiatives represent a significant threat to DEI progress by creating a chilling effect on policies and programs that aim to increase DEI-literacy among young professionals and impeding organizational efforts to recruit, select, and retain historically underrepresented employees.