In the process, the business school might even recover its sense of purpose. Such a resolution would support the conclusion that rigor and relevance can be neither reconciled nor balanced in theory. It is the role of science to separate the real from the relevant; it is the role and the craft of the manager to bring them back together again in the human enterprise. But this can be accomplished only through action. The antinomy between rigor and relevance does not require a choice to be made; it is a dilemma to be lived, and the best preparation for that is preparation for life itself.
- David K. Hurst is a contributing editor of strategy+business and its Books in Brief reviewer. His writing has also appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, and other leading business publications. Hurst is the author of Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change (Harvard Business School Press, 2002).