Academy of Management Review

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0363-7425 / 1930-3807
Published by: The Academy of Management (10.5465)
Total articles ≅ 5,464
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Matthew A. Cronin, Jeroen Stouten, Daan van Knippenberg
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 667-683;

Lewin’s famous dictum is that “there’s nothing so practical as a good theory,” yet there is growing concern that management theory is not very useful or usable. Many scholars seek to fix the growing disconnect between theory and managerial realities, as well as the overabundance of weak and untested theory. Our concern is that all this discussion focuses on improving unit theory, which frames empirical work on specific aspects of a phenomenon, rather than programmatic theory, which orients scholars and practitioners toward what the unit theories collectively support as settled science. While programmatic theory must be comprised of solid unit theories, the processes that improve programmatic theory are different from and can be undermined by those that improve unit theory. Our contribution, therefore, is a model for how unit theory becomes programmatic theory that demonstrates how and why programmatic theory needs to drive that process. We conclude by using our model to show why the current suggestions for fixing the crisis of theory are not only insufficient but even draw away from the development of programmatic theory.
Chad David Coffman, Sanwar A. Sunny
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 823-825;

In their recent paper, Dencker, Bacq, Gruber and Haas (2019) reconceptualize necessity entrepreneurship—sometimes referred to as necessity-motivated entrepreneurship (McMullen, Bagby & Palich, 2008)—through the lens of motivational theory, utilizing Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs framework. Prior research often conceptualized necessity entrepreneurship within a push-pull framework (Storey, 2016), with necessity entrepreneurship occurring when individuals are pushed into entrepreneurship by negative forces such as job loss or even the need for food and clothing, and opportunity-motivated entrepreneurs pulled into entrepreneurship by its attractiveness (Uhlaner & Thurik, 2007). This push-pull framework resulted in a dichotomous view of necessity entrepreneurship that Dencker et al (2019) correctly describe as over-simplified, and unable to account for the wide array of antecedents, processes and outcomes that occur in developing and developed contexts.
Santi Furnari, Donal Crilly, Vilmos F. Misangyi, Thomas Greckhamer, Peer C. Fiss, Ruth V. Aguilera
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 778-799;

Management scholars study phenomena marked by complex interdependencies where multiple explanatory factors combine to bring about an outcome of interest. Yet, theorizing about causal complexity can prove challenging for the correlational theorizing that is predominant in the field of management, given its “net effects thinking” that emphasizes the unique contribution of individual explanatory factors. In contrast, configurational theories and thinking are well-suited to explaining causally complex phenomena. In this article, we seek to advance configurational theorizing by providing a model of the configurational theorizing process which consists of three iterative stages—scoping, linking and naming. In each stage, we develop and offer several heuristics aimed at stimulating configurational theorizing. That is, these theorizing heuristics are intended to help scholars discover configurations of explanatory factors, probe the connections among these factors, and articulate the orchestrating themes that underpin their coherence. We conclude with a discussion of how configurational theorizing advances theory development in the field of management and organizations, and beyond.
Violina P. Rindova, Luis L. Martins
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 800-822;

The goal of strategy is not only to address a given environment, but also to change it to a firm’s advantage. In this article, we maintain that design science provides a useful theoretical foundation for understanding the development of novel strategies by shifting strategists’ perspective from what is to what could be, from the past and present to the future, and from choosing among existing alternatives to discovering problems and solutions. We propose a structured process based on design mechanisms, which enables strategists to overcome the impediments to generating novel strategies that have been identified in prior research. The process we theorize integrates (i) strategists’ shaping intentions to transform an existing situation into a preferred one, (ii) a discovery-oriented exploration of problems and solutions based on designing without final goals, and (iii) stakeholder dialogue to validate and extend novelty and value. We discuss how it extends the micro-foundations of strategy with respect to the generation of strategic foresight and shaping intentions, as well as the work at the intersection of stakeholder strategies and complex societal problems.
Marco Berti, Christos Pitelis
Academy of Management Review;

We critically assess the comparative efficiency advantages and disadvantages of capitalist and cooperative firms using team production as a frame of reference. We revisit the debate about such (dis)advantages in the context of open team production (OTP), a situation where team members are both internal and external to the firm. In contrast to the case of traditional (closed) team production, which focuses on the problem of monitoring team members within the firm, open team production, requires incentivizing both internal and external team members to commit to firm-specific cospecialized investments, as well as orchestrating and monitoring these continued investments. We identify some comparative efficiency (dis)advantages of traditional cooperative and capitalist firms in dealing with the novel challenges posed by OTP and we conclude that, in its context, a new type of a hybrid firm can possess comparative efficiency advantages vis-à-vis both types of traditional firms.
Nan Jia, Stanislav Markus, Timothy Werner
Academy of Management Review;

Law-abiding firms often attempt to conceal their corporate political activity (CPA), yet the concealment of CPA has not been matched by our understanding of the phenomenon. We develop a theoretical framework consisting of three components to analyze firms’ strategy of CPA concealment. First, we provide a detailed conceptual background on CPA concealment, including what concealment of CPA is and how it can occur. Second, we develop an in-depth analysis of the key benefits and costs of concealing CPA for firms. Finally, we integrate this analysis with positive political theory to place our firm-level calculus in the context of policymaking by identifying the public policymakers whom firms are most likely to influence via CPA concealment. Based on this framework, we generate additional empirically testable propositions on how CPA concealment changes with factors at the country, institution, issue, and firm levels. This study is the first to generate systematic theory on firms’ CPA concealment strategies. Moreover, this research context highlights the particular importance of theory for investigating consequential phenomena that yield scarce data – it is theory which guides data discovery ex ante, helps assess bias ex post, and uncovers key insights that empirical analysis alone cannot generate.
Kevin Rockmann, Stuart J. Bunderson, Carrie R. Leana, Paul Hibbert, Laszlo Tihanyi, Phillip H. Phan, Sherry M. B. Thatcher
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 421-430;

Andrew A. King, Brent Goldfarb, Timothy Simcoe
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 465-488;

Published testimony in management, as in other sciences, includes cases where authors overstate the inferential value of their analysis. Where some scholars have diagnosed a current crisis, we detect an ongoing and universal difficulty: the epistemic problem of learning from testimony. Overcoming this difficulty will require responses suitable to the conditions of management research. To that end, we review the philosophical literature on the epistemology of testimony, which describes the conditions under which common empirical claims provide a basis for knowledge, and we evaluate ways these conditions can be verified. We conclude that in many areas of management research, popular proposals such as pre-registration and replication are unlikely to be effective. We propose revised modes of testimony which could help researchers and readers avoid some barriers to learning from testimony. Finally, we imagine the implications of our analysis for management scholarship and propose how new standards could come about.
Barry M. Mitnick, Duane Windsor, Donna J. Wood
Academy of Management Review, Volume 46, pp 623-629;

In the January 2020 Academy of Management Review, associate editors Wang, Gibson, and Zander (hereafter WGZ, 2020) pose this question: “Is research on corporate social responsibility undertheorized?” They answer affirmatively, pointing to the field's initial practice orientation and arguing a subsequent lack of "theoretical foundation and coherence" sufficient “to inform practice.” We disagree with WGZ on key points concerning the corporate social responsibility (CSR) field. We argue the field is "essentially contested," not undertheorized. We suggest that the case of CSR raises the larger question of how contesting conceptual interpretations of the literature are created, sustained, and, potentially, reconciled. We characterize and discuss the essentially contesting views of CSR as “instrumental/economic CSR” and “injunctive/social CSR.” We believe this characterization and discussion clarifies what exactly is contesting between these views. We note how these contesting views of CSR are generated from differing assumptions and world views. We discuss the factors operating in academic fields that tend to support the persistence and defense of such differences in conceptual interpretation. Finally, we offer our approach as a model for scholars to think about other concepts in management science that are also “essentially contested.”
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