ERIC Number: ED128714
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
The "Mysterious Gap" Between Knowledge and Action: A Sociological Comment.
Sheinberg, Sheila; Nelson, Harold A.
For the academic social scientist who aspires to or actually assumes the dual role of expert and activist, the applicability of scientific knowledge and action-oriented expertise becomes an extremely practical problem. When the "knowledgeable" activist fails, the theoretical gap between knowledge and action intensifies the problem, and the question for the academic activist becomes a requestioning of the applicability of social science knowledge to "real life" problems. This paper addresses itself to an examination of this gap between theory and practice, knowledge and action, and admonishes the social scientist to examine the disjunction not in terms of "mysterious elements," but in terms of other social science knowledge and the current state of scientific knowledge. By focusing on a case study of failed, planned change, it seeks to demonstrate why a gap may exist between expert and action, and in so doing, to suggest that it is not due to some unexplained variance but rather, in this case, to such organization variables as time, status differentiation, imported or external leadership, the diffuseness of goals and the characteristics of the authority structure of the organization in question. (Author)
Publication Type: Guides - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (70th, San Francisco, California, August 25-29, 1975); not available in hard copy due to marginal legibility of original document.