Purpose: This article provides a general review of the debate over rigor and relevance in academia,
specifically in the scientific field of management. It seeks to contribute to the body of literature
while emphasizing instances where the gap between rigor and relevance has been bridged, along
with the role of business schools.
Approach: This takes the approach of underscoring the most important works in the present literature
regarding rigor and relevance, and then focusing on three points of emphasis: 1) role of
business schools in the debate; 2) main points of contention; and 3) strongest examples of success
in this field.
Findings: The most important findings in this work indicate that the debate surrounding relevance
and rigor still persists and may also be reaching a breaking point where the two sides of the debate
cannot reconcile. Various proposed solutions to the debate are available but meaningful action has
yet to be taken.
Implications: The practical applications of this work are manifold. Scholars would have a clearer
understanding of the environments in which their works are operating and practitioners would
find academic works in management more accessible.
Value: This work provides a description of both the points of contention in the rigor vs. relevance
debate and the points of successful unification of the two.