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Mikael Klintman

Mikael Klintman


Mikael Klintman

Embracing the academic–practice gap : Knowledge collaboration and the role of institutional knotting


  • Maria Grafström
  • Anna Jonsson
  • Mikael Klintman

Summary, in English

Collaboration between academia and practice is crucial for addressing complex societal challenges and generating new knowledge. However, bridging the perceived gap between these two domains has proven challenging due to differences in language, expectations, and time horizons. In this article, we question the usefulness of framing these differences as a gap and explores alternative approaches to fostering academic–practice collaboration. With the help of organizational institutionalism and theory on configurational boundary work, we propose the concept of “institutional knots” to temporarily ease tensions and reconcile differences between researchers and practitioners. Drawing on two case studies, we examine how temporary knotting activities can support and enable collaboration without undermining participants’ distinct expertise and professional roles. By embracing and understanding the gap from such a perspective, we argue that institutional knots provide an alternative metaphor and valuable framework for organizing and managing academic–practice collaboration. The findings contribute to the literature on how collaborations may be organized by offering a complementary understanding of the gap metaphor and providing practical insights for researchers and practitioners seeking to navigate and leverage their differences.


  • Organizational Studies
  • Department of Sociology
  • Sociology

Publishing year





Management Learning

Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Business Administration




  • ISSN: 1350-5076