This paper takes as its focus, the complex, challenging and sometimes problematic relationship between management practice and the practice of management research. Practising managers and management researchers both tend to care passionately about the same subject. However, despite their common concerns, they remain two distinct audiences. This paper describes a five year research process, involving a range of 25 organisations drawn from the public and private sectors. During the period covered by the paper, a network of practitioners and academics co-developed a research agenda and a number of research projects were undertaken to explore this agenda. The projects ranged from a few weeks in some cases, to 12–24 months in most. Furthermore, the projects were about the process of strategic transformation and were informed by complexity theory. The paper presents a brief overview of these projects, their genesis, conduct and deliverables. In so doing, we hope to demonstrate one way in which the two communities identified above can engage in a single process yet each derive benefits in their own terms. Following a discussion of the individual projects, the paper concludes by addressing the two audiences separately. Practical advice is offered on conducting management research. One list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ (which emerged from the five year study described in the paper) is offered to the practitioner community, whilst a separate list is offered to the academic research community together with some speculations concerning the competencies of research-friendly practitioners and practice-friendly researchers.