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Call for Papers: How to Conduct Rigorous and Impactful Literature Reviews? - Feature Topic at Organizational Research Methods

  • 1.  Call for Papers: How to Conduct Rigorous and Impactful Literature Reviews? - Feature Topic at Organizational Research Methods

    Posted 05-10-2018 09:52
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    Call for Papers for a Feature Topic at Organizational Research Methods


    How to Conduct Rigorous and Impactful Literature Reviews?


    Submission Deadline: March 1, 2019


    Guest Editors: Sven Kunisch (University of St. Gallen), Markus Menz (University of Geneva), Jean M. Bartunek (Boston College), Laura B. Cardinal (University of South Carolina), David Denyer (Cranfield School of Management)



    Aims and Scope: With an ever-growing body of knowledge in various areas of management including strategic management, organization theory, international business, organizational behavior, and human resource management, there is an increasing need to consolidate, organize, and synthesize the existing knowledge. The importance of review studies is reflected by the prevalence of several review outlets such as the Academy of Management Annals, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, and International Journal of Management Reviews-all of which are highly influential publications according to the ISI Citations Report. Highly influential are also the Journal of Management (JOM) special review issues that are published biannually. Recently, several other journals have adopted JOM's approach and have launched regular review issues. For example, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of World Business now solicit proposals for a special review issue on an annual basis. In addition to these dedicated journals and special issues for literature reviews, many journals occasionally publish literature reviews, including, among others, Academy of Management Perspectives, International Business Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Studies, Leadership Quarterly, and Strategic Management Journal.


    The purpose of this Feature Topic (FT) is to turn a spotlight on methodological issues and approaches in literature reviews. Indeed, a variety of review studies and methodological approaches exist (e.g., conceptual, narrative, critical, etc.). This variety is also reflected in very different requirements for reviews that different journals have (e.g., AOM Annals vs. IJMR vs. JOM vs. subject-specific journals), which can create confusion and misunderstanding. While the plurality of review methods can be seen as a strength in management and organization research, it also presents particular challenges in terms of what constitutes a high-quality review and how researchers should approach the task of reviewing. These challenges are what motivate this FT.


    We seek a variety of contributions that are aimed at providing methodological advice to advance rigor in various types of literature reviews. The contributions may refer to several of the following five broad categories concerning the process of conducting a review study: (1) purposes and review types; (2) data selection; (3) assessment and synthesis; (4) reporting and using the findings; and (5) evaluation criteria, validity, and reliability.


    Topic Area 1: Purposes and Review Types

    ·      What is the role of research question formulation? What are effective motivations for conducting a review study?

    ·      What are useful types of reviews (e.g., pure systematic literature review and meta-analysis vs. complementing/blending systematic literature reviews with other review types-e.g., a systematic literature review with a conceptual review)?

    ·      What are the roles of different types of reviews (e.g., mapping vs. integrative review)?

    ·      When and how can meta-analyses be used to conduct literature reviews? When and how can citation analyses be used to conduct literature reviews? When and how can narrative approaches be used to conduct systematic literature reviews?


    Topic Area 2: Data Selection

    ·      What sampling strategies can be used to identify the literature (i.e., the "evidence")? This refers to various aspects relating to the sample including data sources (e.g., gray literature, journals), scope, timelines, keywords, databases, books, scholarly discipline, etc.

    ·      What are appropriate search strategies, inclusion and exclusion criteria? For example, what are appropriate guidelines for working with gray literature?

    ·      What is the role of exhaustiveness and informational redundancy?

    ·      What kind of (potential) selection biases need to be considered, and how shall these biases be addressed? For example, a sample of works published (only) in journals may be biased because journals tend to publish positive rather than weakly significant or neutral findings.


    Topic Area 3: Assessment and Synthesis

    ·      How should the "evidence" (i.e., data in the form of particular articles, unpublished studies, books, etc.) be analyzed?

    ·      Which "traditional" approaches can be used to analyze qualitative and quantitative data? Examples include content analyses, thematic analyses, concept maps, framework analyses, etc.

    ·      Which "alternative" approaches can be used to analyze data? Examples include meta-ethnography, meta-narrative, realist synthesis, meta-analysis, bibliometric analyses, etc.

    ·      When and how can grounded methods and content analyses be used to conduct reviews?

    ·      How should the "evidence" be synthesized? What are appropriate "synthesis strategies"? Exemplary approaches include, among others, critical appraisal, critical interpretive synthesis, descriptive data synthesis, analytical data synthesis, framework analysis, temporal analyses, etc.


    Topic Area 4: Reporting and Using the Findings

    ·      How should results reported (e.g., tables, graphs, forest plots, funnel plots)?

    ·      How should various types of reviews inform research and practice?

    ·      How can future research directions be highlighted?

    ·      How can transparency and replicability be facilitated?


    Topic Area 5: Evaluation Criteria, Validity, and Reliability

    ·      What are the roles of reliability, generalizability, validity (external and internal validity) and trustworthiness in various types of reviews?

    ·      How should reliability, generalizability, validity, and trustworthiness be ensured?

    ·      How should quality of conduct and quality of reporting be measured and ensured?

    ·      What kind of robustness checks and sensitivity analyses could be done?

    ·      How should reviewers evaluate literature reviews? What criteria need to be fulfilled?



    Submission Deadline for this FT:


    Completed full manuscript submissions for the FT are due by March 1, 2019. Authors may begin submitting manuscripts for the FT on February 1, 2019 (and not before that date). When submitting completed manuscripts, be sure to select from the dropdown menu the FT on Rigorous and Impactful Literature Reviews.


    For questions regarding the content of this FT, please contact the guest editors:

    ·      Sven Kunisch, University of St. Gallen (sven.kunisch@unisg.ch)

    ·      Markus Menz, University of Geneva (markus.menz@unige.ch)

    ·      Jean M. Bartunek, Boston College (bartunek@bc.edu)

    ·      Laura B. Cardinal, University of South Carolina (laura.cardinal@moore.sc.edu)

    ·      David Denyer, Cranfield School of Management (david.denyer@cranfield.ac.uk)


    The full Call for Papers will also be available in the next issue of ORM.



    Best wishes



    Sven Kunisch, Ph.D.
    Executive Director Master in Business Management (MUG-HSG)
    MUG-HSG ranked #1 in the German-speaking area and #10 globally by QS Business Schools Rankings 2018
    Institute of Management (IfB-HSG)  |  University of St. Gallen  |  Dufourstr. 40a  |  CH-9000 St.Gallen (Switzerland)
    Fon +41 (0)71 224 7622  |  Fax +41 (0)71 224 2355
    www.ifb.unisg.ch  |  www.mug.unisg.ch  |  www.svenkunisch.com

    Special Issue at Journal of Management Studies on "Corporate Strategy and the Theory of the Firm in the Digital Age" (Submission deadline: 31 January 2019) – Call for Papers here


    Recent publications (selected):

    Time in Strategic Change Research (The Academy of Management Annals) – see Dynamic Edition here

    The CEO as a Key Microfoundation of Global Strategy (Global Strategy Journal)

    Benchmarking Corporate Headquarters – Instrumental, but not Strategic? (Long Range Planning)

    The Corporate Headquarters in the Contemporary Corporation (The Academy of Management Annals)

    Why Corporate Functions Stumble (Harvard Business Review)



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