PDW 06: Writing Theory Papers for Organization Studies and the Academy of Management Review

Daniel Hjorth
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Jay B. Barney
University of Utah, USA

Call for Applications

Depending on the number of submissions, we will put together a team of facilitators, including associate and senior editors of both journals and editorial board members. Organization Studies Editors in addition to Daniel Hjorth likely to attend: Trish Reay (Co-editor-in-Chief), Renate Meyer, Jasper Hotho, Mike Zundel, and Charlene Zietsma. In addition to Jay Barney (Editor-in-Chief), several Academy of Management Review associate editors, including Sharon Alvarez, Jean Bartunek, and Heather Haveman, are likely attend, along with several members of the AMR Editorial Review Board.


Both Academy of Management Review (AMR) and Organization Studies (OS) aim to publish well crafted theory papers that galvanize our field. Such papers are crucially important within our academic “ecosystem” of management and organization journals, where they foster new ways of thinking and (re)direct lines of research.
However, developing and writing such conceptual papers brings particular challenges. Oftentimes, prospective authors perceive writing theory as more difficult than writing empirical, methods-driven papers. We believe this is at least partly the case because they have had relatively little training in developing and writing such theory papers (Byron & Thatcher, 2015). There are also no straightforward formulas or templates for writing theory papers (Ragins, 2012).
In addition, there are also different styles, or genres, of theory papers (Delbridge & Fiss, 2013), based on whether the main arguments are configured into a set of propositions, a process model, a theoretical essay, or are presented as part of a comprehensive typology (Cornelissen, 2017). Furthermore, implicit expectations about what journals such as AMR and OS expect from a theory paper may not be widely known; more open discussion can help potential authors to overcome these potentially challenging and mystifying aspects of writing a first theory piece (Rindova, 2008).
The purpose of this Paper Development Workshop (PDW) is therefore to help participants understand (1) the specific expectations regarding a theoretical contribution for AMR and OS, and building on those expectations, (2) help them gain a good grasp of the different ways in which theory papers for these two journals can be written.



The first part of the PDW (9:00–10:15) features a plenary session on both journals and a short roundtable discussion of common issues and expectations regarding theory. We will then in the second part of the workshop (10:30–13:00) divide into roundtable groups where participants will get feedback on their own paper from an associate or senior editor of both journals.
This workshop follows up on the successful PDW at the EGOS Colloquium 2017 in Copenhagen. The rationale for the workshop is that there are still very few workshops on theory papers. Both journals have “Meet the Editors” sessions. AMR also organizes a general writing workshop at the AoM each year (which is heavily oversubscribed), but that workshop focuses mostly on general writing issues. AMR has also begun to offer workshops at other international locations. There continues to be demand, we think, for a more hands-on paper development workshop. For both journals, EGOS offers an important community of theory-minded scholars who are generally interested in writing for both journals and who would like to get actionable feedback and help on how they might develop or strengthen their theory papers.



We invite authors to submit theory papers to be considered for this workshop. Please note that empirical papers (those with quantitative or qualitative data) will NOT be accepted. In addition, papers that are accepted for presentation at the main Colloquium should not be submitted to this PDW. The workshop mainly targets early career researchers and doctoral students, but is also open to more experienced scholars. We particularly encourage scholars who have not yet written theory papers for AMR and OS to apply. Everyone interested in this workshop is invited to apply; however, priority will be given to scholars in earlier stages of their careers.

Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2018 a single pdf file document that contains the following information:

  • On the cover page, a short letter of application containing full details of name, contact (i.e., postal address, phone, and email), affiliation, date of PhD completion (if applicable, stage in the doctoral studies otherwise);

  • A statement of why the applicant considers it valuable to attend the PDW;

  • An indication of what journal(s) the paper is likely to be submitted to; and

  • A full paper that you wish to further develop to a publishable stage and that you will bring to the PDW.



  • Byron, K., & Thatcher, S.M.B. (2016): “Editors’ Comments: ‘What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then’ – Teaching Theory and Theory Building.” Academy of Management Review, 41 (1), 1–8.
  • Cornelissen, J.P. (2017): “Editor’s Comments: Developing Propositions, a Process Model, or a Typology? Addressing the Challenges of Writing Theory Without a Boilerplate.” Academy of Management Review, 42 (1), 1–9.
  • Delbridge, R., & Fiss, P.C. (2013): ”Editors’ Comments: Styles of Theorizing and the Social Organization of Knowledge.” Academy of Management Review, 38 (3), 325–331.
  • Ragins, B.R. (2012): “Editor’s Comments: Reflections on the Craft of Clear Writing.” Academy of Management Review, 37 (4), 493–501.
  • Ragins, B.R. (2015): “Editor’s Comments: Developing our Authors.” Academy of Management Review, 40 (1), 1–8.
  • Rindova, V.P. (2008): “Editor’s Comments: Publishing Theory When You Are New to the Game.” Academy of Management Review, 33 (2), 300–303.

Daniel Hjorth is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organisation at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. He is Academic Director for the across CBS Entrepreneurship Business in Society Platform. His latest books include the “Handbook of Organisational Entrepreneurship” (2012) and (co-editing) the Oxford University Press “Handbook of Process Philosophy and Organisation Studies”. Daniel’s research is focused on the organizational conditions for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and on social entrepreneurship. Together with Trish Reay, he is Editor-in-Chief of ‘Organization Studies’.
Jay B. Barney is a Presidential Professor of Strategic Management and the Pierre Lassonde Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, USA. His research focuses on the relationship between costly-to-copy firm skills and capabilities and sustained competitive advantage. He has also done research on the actions entrepreneurs take to form the opportunities they try to exploit. He has served as an officer of both the Business Policy and Strategy Division of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society, and has served as an associate editor at the ‘Journal of Management’, senior editor for ‘Organization Science’, and co-editor at the ‘Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Academy of Management Review’. His work has been published in numerous leading outlets and is among the most cited work in the fields of strategic management and entrepreneurship.