This paper explores the gap between accounting research and practice with two primary objectives. First, it provides a review of the main results obtained by the impressive literature on the topic to get a comprehensive picture of this phenomenon, considering the different perspectives and research methods used so far. This review aims not only at summarizing results, but also at outlining a logical framework that could be useful for both our analysis and future studies on the topic. Against this background, our second objective is to carry out an empirical analysis on scholars’ motivations and incentives – rather neglected by prior literature – with a particular focus on their relationships with professional associations.
Evidence from our survey (with 447 questionnaires completed by EAA members) suggests that there is a hierarchy of objectives informing scholars’ motivations and that the first one is to publish on highly ranked journals. In such a context, the positive attitude of academics towards practice can be sometimes in conflict with scholars’ expectation about effort, individual result and peers’ consideration. In other terms, our study supports the idea that there is a gap between research and practice, together with a risk of an increasingly closed community of scientists. Our results seem in line with studies stating that the reasons for this gap essentially lie in the current evaluation logic driving scholars’ incentives. Additionally, evidence on scholars’ incentives might be helpful in finding new solutions to bridge the gap and supporting future research sharing the same objective.
Keywords: Research-practice gap, research impact, real impact factor, accounting research, accounting practice