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By | Feb. 2012
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In the article “You’re an Organization Development Practitioner Scholar: Can You Contribute to Organizational Theory?,” Jean Bartunek compares and contrasts the paths of mainstream organizational theorizing and organization development practitioner scholars to try and strengthen connections between them. She believes that the complex relationship between the two has been evident for decades. According to her research, what works in theory doesn’t always work in practice and there is little to no academic writings that describe how practice should inform theory. Bartunek explains from her experiences that practitioners are more likely to think in terms of process models when considering what action to take, thus contributing to the disconnect between theory and practice. In this statement, the author’ interpretations are not supported by evidence. This paper clearly outlines key issues with respect to dialogue between practice and theory. It explains how practitioner scholars only see their contribution as practitioners but are also attracted to contributing to academic scholarship. Organization development theorizing was based on intervention research and there were definite links between theory and practice but they had not made their way into mainstream management theory. The author seemed slightly biased more in support of academics and theory than practice. There was not much evidence presented to support the point of view of the practitioner scholar.

Bartunek’s article is an informative account of the connections between practice and theory. The article was based on her research from numerous references and her opinion from her studies and through publications she’s written. The article however does not give the reader a sense that all the information is accurate. Bartunek does however include a ton of references to back up most of her interpretations and conclusions. Essentially, what the article does is suggest ways for practitioner scholars...

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