Enacting the Scholar — Practitioner Role An Exploration of Narratives

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Ilene C. Wasserman
ICW Consulting Group, Penn Valley, Pennsylvania

Kathy E. Kram
Boston University, Massachusetts

An essential part of Edgar Schein’s legacy is his modeling of the role of scholar—practitioner. To better understand this legacy, the authors explored how being a scholar—practitioner is defined by those who ascribe to this role and the challenges and opportunities these individuals face as they go about their work. Their inquiry consisted of 25 interviews, a systematic reflection on their own professional journeys as scholar—practitioners, and a review of others’ related work. The authors confirmed that scholar—practitioners identify with the primary tasks of generating new knowledge and improving practice, yet how they prioritize and go about their work varies with where they are on the scholar—practitioner continuum. The authors highlight five themes to clarify the complexities of the role, stimulate further inquiry, continue dialogue, and ultimately lead to the creation of new venues in which scholar—practitioners can thrive and enhance their contributions to the world.


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