NEW WAYS OF SEEING
Using Novel Theory and Meaningful Cross-disciplinary
Collaborations to Advance Management Research
Jason D. Shaw (Editor)
Pratima (Tima) Bansal and Marc Gruber (Deputy Editors)
This Special Research Forum (SRF) encourages “new ways of seeing.” This theme challenges our community of researchers, and beyond, to consider fresh, novel, and different theoretical positions, assumptions, and frameworks for their topics of interest. In addition, new ways of seeing provides an impetus to engage in meaningful, groundbreaking partnerships with researchers in other disciplines—using, building, or extending conceptual frameworks, research designs, and analytic techniques rooted in disciplines outside of the management domain to advance our understanding of management issues.
We frequently attempt to tackle new problems or study new phenomena, but the theories and frameworks we use are often grounded in thinking from decades ago; the designs we adopt are those bounded by our areas of interest; and the analytic approaches are the latest incremental improvements on our past gold standards. By applying the same theories, logics, and assumptions, we risk “looking for our keys under the lamp post.”
This SRF focuses on new ways of seeing—the development, extension, or adoption of new frameworks, perspectives, and lenses applied to management and organizational issues. In line with AMJ’s mission, submissions must also be empirical, including qualitative, quantitative, field, laboratory, meta-analytic, and/or mixed methods designs. We encourage authors to consider new, alternative frameworks and/or new methods for addressing management topics rather than reformulating commonly used approaches.
The call is broad and open to all topics, levels of analysis, and research designs. Submitters should articulate how their manuscript offers a contribution consistent with “new ways of seeing.” We hope that this call for new and alternative perspectives will also spur endeavors that incorporate outcomes beyond those commonly observed in our literature (e.g., short-term, performance-related outcomes). Some examples of broad, interrelated areas below that may be good candidates for new ways of seeing are identified below:
- Sustainable development. Sustainable development “meets the needs of present generations without compromising the needs for future generations.” (WCED, 1987). The notion implies new ways of conceptualizing the purpose and outcomes of organizations, but current approaches to research in this area often apply existing theories and methods to sustainability-related topics (e.g., climate change, biodiversity, poverty). Advancing our knowledge of these issues requires theorizing beyond common performance-related outcomes, to other issues that will ensure the livelihood of future generations, including carbon cycles, supply chains, energy use, and consumption patterns.
- Pay disparities and other forms of inequality. Current approaches to the study of these issues are mired in decades-old debates about tradeoffs between effort or motivation and fairness. The extant literature cannot yet disentangle the limits, forms, and conditions under which these differences play out in organizations, forms and facets of disparities and inequalities that hold the most influence on outcomes, and the points at which inequalities become inequitable. Existing studies tend to focus on rather narrow forms of disparities and an even more limited set of outcomes, typically performance. New ways of seeing disparities may include developing or bringing to bear theories of power, status, public policy, culture, and governance.
- Individual and organizational well-being. Current approaches seem linked inextricably to long-standing theories of stress, health, and vitality, focused on global perceptions of wellness, or rooted in an organizational interventionist approach. New ways of seeing well-being could include the development or adoption of perspectives outside of management, occupational psychology, and the like, and might include theory and insights from biology, life sciences, engineering, or other unique perspectives.
These categories are simply example areas where new ways of seeing are needed. Many other possibilities and topics would also be good fits for this SRF. The SRF seeks papers that adopt or develop unique lenses that will result in major leaps forward in our understanding. Although we encourage novelty in theorizing and methods, we will uphold Academy of Management Journal standards of logical and empirical rigor.
TIMELINE AND SUBMISSION
Submissions must be submitted between December 1 and December 31, 2017. Contributors should follow the directions for manuscript submission described in "Information for Contributors" in the front of each issue of AMJ and on AMJ's Contributor Information Page. For queries about submission, contact AMJ's Managing Editor, Michael Malgrande at firstname.lastname@example.org.