PDW 03: Experimental Research in Organization Studies: Pushing the Boundaries

Alexandre B. Bitektine
HEC Montréal, Canada
Magdalena Cholakova
Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands
Vern L. Glaser
University of Alberta, Canada

Call for Applications

Presenters & Facilitators:
Alexandre B. Bitektine, HEC Montréal, Canada
Joel Gehman, University of Alberta, Canada
Derek Harmon, University of Southern California, USA
Josh Keller, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Jeff Lucas, University of Maryland, USA
Christopher Steele, University of Alberta, Canada
Leigh Tost, University of Michigan, USA


The purpose of this PDW is to advance the use of experimental methods to study organizations and organizational processes by offering participants an opportunity to learn more about experimental research in this domain, to meet colleagues who use (or plan to use) experimental methods in their research and discuss with them opportunities for using experimental methods to generate new theories for organization, and to receive feedback on current work in progress.

We will discuss some illustrative examples of laboratory and non-laboratory experiments in the study of organizations, explore their future potential for examining organizational processes, and discuss experimental approaches for the analysis of organizational and institutional processes. We will draw participants’ attention to common challenges in research on micro-foundations of different management theories and highlight the role of experimental methods in the exploration of micro-level processes that, on the one hand, are triggered by macro-level events and, on the other hand, produce macro-level outcomes for organizations, categories and fields.

The first part of the workshop starts with opening remarks by the PDW organizers, followed by three presentations that would cover topics of particular interest to researchers using (or planning to use) experimental methods in organization studies. The second part is a paper development workshop. The overall length of the workshop is four hours, including a coffee break of 30 minutes.

Part 1:

  • The first presentation by Alex Bitektine and Jeff Lucas, will explore the connection between experimental methods and the microfoundations research agenda. This talk will highlight a fundamental distinction that differentiates applied experimental research and fundamental experimental research. The presentation will also delineate theoretical topics in institutional theory and strategy research that can be explored using experimental methodology.
  • The second presentation, by Derek Harmon, will provide participants with the foundational principles of experimental design. The talk will highlight the fundamental criteria used to evaluate experimental research (i.e., internal validity, statistical conclusion validity, construct validity, and external validity). The presentation will also cover types of experimental design, highlighting the purposes and circumstances when researchers might use each of these designs.
  • The third presentation, by Joel Gehman and Vern Glaser, will discuss the use of research methods as „packages“ that entail distinct epistemological assumptions, methodological strategies, and assumptions about theory and the relationship between theory and method. The talk will illustrate the centrality and nature of research method packages by using various research methodologies, such as laboratory experiments, the "Gioia method", the "Eisenhardt method", Qualitative Comparative Analysis, and traditional linear regression analysis. This presentation will provide a platform that participants will use to talk about the challenges of transferring laboratory experiments traditional associated with psychological theory to the organizational level of analysis.

Each of these presentations will be interactive, with ample time for questions, answers, and group discussion.

Part 2:

The second part of the workshop consists of a paper development workshop. Work in progress as well as project ideas will be exchanged in roundtable discussions. Each roundtable will be led by a facilitator. We explicitly welcome the submission of project ideas (no paper required). The workshop ends with a general discussion on the potential prospects and pitfalls of experimental research in organization studies.


All scholars interested in applying experimental methods to the study of organizational phenomena are invited to apply. However, preference will be given to PhD students/early career scholars. To be considered as an early-career scholar, the applicant needs to have completed his/her doctoral/PhD thesis within the last three years. Attendance of the workshop is limited to 12 participants. Criteria for selection are originality and relevance of the proposal.

Please submit – via the EGOS website! – a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes:

  • On the first page: a short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email), affiliation (date of PhD completion for early career scholars), and a statement of why you consider it valuable to attend this PDW;
  • A CV;
  • A two-page proposal of the project idea outlining the research question and its relevance. The proposal should also motivate why an experiment is needed to answer the research question and specify the dependent and independent variable(s) in the experiment. Note: the experiments can be carried out after the PDW. The purpose of the roundtable session is to discuss work in progress as well as project ideas, not fully-developed papers.


Alexandre B. Bitektine is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management at HEC Montréal, Canada. His research interests include social judgments, institutional theory, strategic management and non-market strategies, as well as application of experimental methods in organizational research. He currently serves as a member of editorial review boards of the 'Academy of Management Review', 'Organization Studies', and the 'Journal of Management Studies'.
Magdalena Cholakova is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship at the Rotterdam School of Management, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on the microfoundations of institutional complexity, as well as on decision making heuristics for judgment under uncertainty. Her work has been published in the 'Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice Journal' and the 'International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior'.
Vern L. Glaser is an Assistant Professor in the Strategic Management and Organization Department at the University of Alberta, Canada. His research interests evolve around the question of: How do organizations strategically change practices and culture? His research looks at four inter-related concepts naturally associated with organizational efforts to change practices and/or culture: language, tools and technology, professional expertise, and organizational consciousness.