PDW 09: Writing Theory Papers for ‘Organization Studies’

Daniel Hjorth
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Trish Reay
University of Alberta, Canada

Call for Applications


A team of Organization Studies senior editors will provide feedback to participants.


Organization Studies aims 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. There are also no straightforward formulas or templates for writing theory papers (Czarniawska, 2008).
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 Organization Studies 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 (Cornelissen, 2017).
The purpose of this Pre-Colloquium Development Workshop (PDW) is therefore to help participants understand (1) the specific expectations regarding a theoretical contribution for Organization Studies, and building on those expectations, (2) help them gain a good grasp of the different ways in which theory papers for this journal can be written.
The first part of the workshop (9:00–10:15) features a plenary session 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 round table groups where participants will get feedback on their own paper from a senior editor of Organization Studies.
This PDW follows up on previous successful EGOS PDWs. The rationale for this workshop is that there are still very few workshops on theory papers. There continues to be demand, we think, for a more hands-on paper development workshop. EGOS offers an important community of theory-minded scholars who are generally interested in developing publishable conceptual articles 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 workshop. The workshop mainly targets early career researchers and doctoral students, but is also open to more experienced scholars, space permitting. We particularly encourage scholars who have not yet published theory papers in Organization Studies 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 2, 2019 a single document of application (pdf file) 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

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



  • Czarniawska, B. (2008): “Organizing: how to study it and how to write about it.” Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 3 (1), 4–20.
  • Cornelissen, J.P. (2017): “Editors’ Comments: Developing Propositions, a Process Model, or Typology? Addressing the Challenges of Writing Theory Without a Boilerplate.” Academy of Management Review, 42 (1), 1–9.
  • Delbridge, R., & Fiss, P.C. (2013): “Styles of Theorizing and the Social Organization of Knowledge.” Academy of Management Review, 38 (3), 325–331.


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’.
Trish Reay is Professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton, Canada. Her research interests include organizational and institutional change, professions and professional identity. She has studied these topics in health care settings and in family firms. Published articles from these research streams appear in ‘Academy of Management Journal’, ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Journal of Management Studies’, ‘Work and Occupations’, and ‘Family Business Review’. Together with Daniel Hjorth, Trish is Editor-in-Chief of ‘Organization Studies’.