Dealing with the opposition of rigor and relevance from Dewey’s pragmatist perspective

  • Linh Chi Vo ISC Paris, School of Management Ecole Centrale Paris
  • Eléonore Mounoud Ecole Centrale Paris, France
  • Jerman Rose Washington State University, USA
Keywords: rigor, relevance, Dewey, pragmatism, experimentalism


Central to the controversy regarding the practical utility of academic research is the academic–practitioner gap, which is characterized by the opposition between ‘rigor’ and ‘relevance’. We contribute to this discussion by proposing Dewey’s pragmatism as a perspective that helps resolve the rigor–relevance divide. If the rigor–relevance dichotomy is to be eliminated, there are philosophical, theoretical, and empirical challenges that need to be overcome. We demonstrate that Dewey’s pragmatism helps deal with these challenges. His ontological and epistemological stance about the world, theory, knowledge, and the relationship between knowledge and action addresses the philosophical challenges. His notion of usefulness embraces both rigor and relevance. It can serve as a new criterion for desirable academic research, thereby addressing the theoretical challenges. Dewey’s writing about experimentalism deals with the empirical challenges.


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How to Cite
Vo L. C., Mounoud E., & Rose J. (2012). Dealing with the opposition of rigor and relevance from Dewey’s pragmatist perspective. M@n@gement, 15(4), 367-390. Retrieved from
Original Research Articles