Debra Shapiro: Lost in Translation 

In this interview, Debra Shapiro talks about a recent survey that examined why management research is often not applied in management practice. The “lost in translation” problem occurs when academic researchers do not present their results in ways that make sense to practitioners. The “lost before translation” problem occurs when management research does not address questions that are even of interest to managers. Dr. Shapiro discusses the causes and possible solutions to these two problems.

Dr. Shapiro is currently the Clarice Smith Professor of Management and Organization in the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, and associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal. She received her Ph.D. in Organization Behavior from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and previously served as professor and associate dean in the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Recommended further readings:

  • Lawler, E. E., Mohrman, A. M., Ledford, S. A., Ledford, G. E., Cummings, T. G., & Associates. 1985. Doing research that is useful for theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Nonaka, I., & Konno, N. 1998. The concept of “ba”: Building a foundation for knowledge-creation. California Management Review, 40(3): 40-54.
  • Rynes, S. L., Bartunek, J. M., & Daft, R. L. 2001. Across the great divide: Knowledge creation and transfer between practitioners and academics. Academy of Management Journal, 44: 340-355.
  • Shapiro, D.L., Kirkman, B.L., & Courtney, H.G. 2007. Perceived causes and solutions of the translation problem in management research. Academy of Management Journal, 50: 249-266.

Michael Johnson is an Assistant Professor in Department of Management and Organization at the University of Washington. He can be reached via