Alignment between business and IT functions is a critical yet unsolved problem of many organizations. Despite considerable amount of research devoted to address this issue, the quest for alignment re-mains challenging, particularly in light of the rapid and widespread digitization of the business world. This paper argues that a research-practice gap exists in the alignment field, and that academic litera-ture fails to discuss key aspects of high practical relevance: alignment as an (emergent) process ra-ther than a state, and operational realities rather than strategic goals. To reduce this gap, we draw on extant alignment research and psychological approach-avoidance theory to develop a model of misa-ligned organizations, emphasizing the need for coordination between strategy and operations and in-vestigating the adverse effects of operational misalignment. Results from two case companies facing operational misalignment provide preliminary confirmation for our propositions and support the call for more practice-oriented research in this highly complex domain.