The argument is made that contemporary management research is driven by misplaced scientific ideals that keep research at a distance from managerial practice. Misplaced scientific ideals are institutionally reinforced, and therefore hard to change. To provide a viable alternative a different ‘soul of relevance’ needs to be constructed, which addresses the localized, embedded, fluid and contingent nature of managerial work. Four tenets are suggested that may tentatively form the basis of such work, which are as follows: practice as constitutive of organization, time as ontology, becoming as essence, and heterogeneity of factors. Narrative patterns that combine these tenets may help constitute a soul of relevance that further energizes European management research.