IS continually struggles with the ‘gap’ between academic preparation and industry needs. To close this gap, we need to better understand its causes. Recent IS research suggests that gaps may arise when issues receive attention in only practitioner or academic discourses. Institutionalism suggests that gaps can be attributed to the structure of the organizational field. We conduct two studies to investigate these rival explanations. In Study 1 we analyze the practitioner and academic discourses on the need for soft skills in IS. In Study 2 we identify important actors in the IS field and the degree to which they are tightly coupled as evidenced by linkages in their discourses. We then present a process model of the identification, development and assessment of requisite IS skills. We conclude that convergence between academic and practitioner discourses alone cannot close the gap between preparation and industry needs in a loosely coupled organizational field.