Neither “Food Chain” nor “Translation Problem”? The Disregard of Academic Research in Best-Selling Business Books

John L. Kmetz


There has long been awareness of the lack of translation of academic research into professional practice. One recent suggested explanation of this is that academic research is “lost in translation;” another proposition is that a “food chain” of academic research provides communication linkages, wherein empirical research becomes absorbed into popular books and consulting materials, eventually reaching management practitioners and perhaps creating a pathway for translation and application. To partially examine these models, the author sampled 30 best-selling business books published between 1996 and 2005 and analyzed the 3,162 references cited in them. There is virtually no evidence to suggest a research “food chain” through these books. Neither does the pattern of citations suggest a “translation problem;” if anything, it suggests gratuitous citation of selected articles that frequently follow little or no discernible logic. The author suggests that the underlying problem may be one of research methods and interpretation that are common to the published literature in our discipline.

Full Text:



International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.