How to... write for a practitioner audience Part: 1

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How to... write for a practitioner audience

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Why write for a practitioner journal?

Why publish?

If you are an academic, then you have good job-related reasons to want to publish: your job and your promotion depends on your keeping up your publishing profile in quality scholarly journals. If you are a practising manager, however, writing for publication is not part of your job and can seem much less important than keeping up with your targets and the inevitable fire-fighting.

Why therefore consider publishing? There are a number of reasons:

  • Because you may have done something interesting and/or that has made a difference, or your company or organization has something to say! If you have a new product, development or initiative which could be communicated as part of a case study, then publishing will get your company or organization noticed.
  • By getting your organization noticed within both industry and academia, you will create valuable networking opportunities.
  • You may have a hand in improving or changing practice in other organizations or countries.
  • You may have done some research as part of an MBA or other master's degree, and publishing will provide a means of building on that research.
  • Even though you may not be required to publish, a publication will always look good on your CV, and also get you noticed with your peers. In a very competitive job market, being published can give you an edge, particularly in an area which values particular knowledge and expertise.
  • Publishing will provide a good means of sharing your opinions and experiences with colleagues and peers worldwide.

Why publish with Emerald?

  • Emerald is widely known and respected as a publisher of management journals, and as such will provide you with a respected platform for your work. Because most of its journals are part of a database, your work will be distributed electronically to over 1,000 institutions in more than 200 countries, ensuring maximum visibility to the right audiences.
  • You will be read by people at Boeing, Ford, ICI, NASA, Phillips, Shell, Nokia, 3M, Mitsubishi, BAE Systems, IBM, Rolls-Royce, Saab, Intel Corp, and many more...
  • You will join authors from BAE Systems, Imperial College London, Rice University, BMW, UMIST, QinetiQ, DuPont, Cranfield University, MIT, NASA, Cambridge University, Nanyang Technological University, Harvard Business School, IBM, Deloitte Consulting, Accenture, Sun Microsystems, Xerox, HP and Wipro to name a few...

Why publish in a practitioner journal? 

If you are a practitioner working for an organization, you might think: Why not publish for a trade journal?

If you are an academic, you might equally think: Would it not be better to publish in an academic journal?

To answer these questions, we need first to consider: What is a practitioner journal?

Practitioner journals are journals that are aimed at a particular professional market. They differ from trade journals in that:

  • they are targeted at a niche market rather than a broad audience
  • subscribers to these journals are usually senior managers who are key influencers in their particular organization and often beyond, so your ideas could well be taken up at a very senior level
  • they are of a higher quality than trade publications in that they are much more selective about the quality of content
  • for the above reasons, there is more kudos attached to writing for them
  • articles go into an online database, thus increasing dissemination.

They differ from academic journals in that:

  • they are aimed at a professional rather than at an academic market
  • there is proportionally more emphasis on practical implications and less on rigorous research methodology
  • articles are often selected by the editor, and do not have to go through a process of peer review. 

If you are an academic author, you may wish to consider publishing a more practitioner-oriented version of your research in a practitioner journal, as a means of disseminating your research findings and making a difference in the wider world, as well as reaching a larger audience.

Professor Andrew Pettigrew, dean of the School of Management at the University of Bath, England, advocates a portfolio approach to academic publishing, in which you take your research and write for a top US journal, a top European journal, and a practitioner one.