Negotiating reciprocal relationships: Practices of engaged scholarship in project studies

Alfons van Marrewijk*, Nick Dessing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Engaged scholarship is frequently being advocated to bridge the knowledge gap between academic scholars and project practitioners. Through the methodology of engaged scholarship academics establish a reciprocal relationship with the project community while adhering to the standards of quality scholarship. Notwithstanding its growing popularity, in project studies we do not learn much about the practices involved in engaged scholarship, neither is the concept theoretically well developed. We argue that, to further the project studies debate, methodological reflection on the reciprocal relationship between academics and practitioners is needed. For this purpose, we provide an analytical framework containing four elements; goals, negotiation practices, reciprocity typology and outcomes of project studies. We then use this framework to analyze three engaged project studies. The paper contributes to project studies with an enhanced concept of engaged scholarship containing three types of reciprocity; generalized, balanced and negative reciprocity. Furthermore, we found that a reciprocal relationship is negotiated and changes over time. We identified four mechanisms that negatively impact the academic and practical outcomes of engaged scholarship studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-895
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Engaged scholarship
  • Knowledge gap
  • Methodology
  • Practices
  • Project studies
  • Reciprocity


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