Published on May 2, 2008
Challenges in Strategy and Organization Theory Research: Challenges in Strategy and Organization Theory Research Mike W. Peng Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Global Strategy University of Texas at Dallas Editor-in-Chief, Asia Pacific Journal of Management www.utdallas.edu/~mikepeng Macro organizational research: Macro organizational research Strategy and OT: Boundaries are blurred The big question: What determines the success and failure of firms around the world? (Peng, 2004, JIBS) My experience and advice: Be programmatic in your research Of course, you will learn from and collaborate with your advisor as a PhD student But you don’t want to do your advisor’s research Guidelines on topic selection (R. Tung, 2005, Asia Pacific Journal of Management): Guidelines on topic selection (R. Tung, 2005, Asia Pacific Journal of Management) What are the significant and important trends that have broad implications for theory and practice in the future? Is the topic sustainable over an extended period of time and not just a fad? Will the topic be broad enough to generate interest among a sufficiently large group of researchers? How much research attention has the topic received so far? What is my competitive advantage in this area? Am I truly passionate and excited about the topic? Slide4: A paper’s success is substantially determined at the outset (S. Rynes, 2006, IACMR talk) Research Formulation: Research Formulation Minimum standards: “That’s interesting!” 4 - 6 smart people test Maximum goals: “I’ll never think about the issue the same way again!” Publication becomes a ritual citation (e.g., Barney, Child, Jensen, Hofstede, Porter, Williamson . . . cite Peng & Heath 96 for China/emerging econ research and Lyles & Salk 96 for IJV learning) A programmatic research strategy: A programmatic research strategy Emerging markets strategies Export strategies (dissertation) Conceptual: Peng & Heath (1996 AMR) Peng & Ilinitch (1998 JIBS) Peng (2003 AMR) Peng, Lee, & Wang (2005 AMR) Trabold (2002 JIBS) – A test of Meyer & Peng (2005 JIBS) Peng & Ilinitch Lee, Peng, & Barney (2007 AMR) Peng, Wang, & Jiang (2008 JIBS) Qualitative: Peng (1997 OS) Peng, Hill, & Wang (2000 JMS) Quantitative: Luo & Peng (1999 JIBS) Peng & York (2001 JIBS) Peng & Luo (2000 AMJ) Tan & Peng (2003 SMJ) Peng, Zhou, & York (2006 JWB) Peng (2004 SMJ) -- A replication of Trabold Tong, Reuer, & Peng (2007 AMJ) Peng, Zhang, & Li (2007 MOR) Research book: Peng (2000 Sage) Peng (1998 Quorum) Practitioner: Peng (1997 CBR; 2001 AME; 2006 HBR) Special issue: Wright, Filatotchev, Hoskisson, [Source] M. W. Peng, 2005, & Peng (2005 JMS) From China strategy to global Textbook: 2006: Global Strategy strategy, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 22(2): 123-141 Strategies in emerging economies: Strategies in emerging economies 20-15 Figure 20.6 Geographic & substantive diversification: Geographic & substantive diversification 20-15 Figure 20.6 FROM CHINA STRATEGY TO GLOBAL STRATEGY: FROM CHINA STRATEGY TO GLOBAL STRATEGY M. W. Peng (2005) Asia Pacific Journal of Management (vol. 22: 123-141) Frontiers of strategy/OT research: Frontiers of strategy/OT research The relationship over time and around the world Stay away from simple linear relationship Strategic choices during institutional transitions Example of a recent stream What determines the scope of the firm over time? (Peng, Lee, & Wang, 2005 AMR) What determines the scope of the firm over time and around the world? An Asia Pacific perspective (Peng & Delios, 2006 APJM) From diversification premium to diversification discount during institutional transitions (Lee, Peng, & Lee, 2008 JWB) China/Asia researchers need more self-confidence: China/Asia researchers need more self-confidence Self-confidence: Meyer (2006 APJM) Debate in APJM (2007/4, 25th anniversary) Au, Yang & Terjesen, Puffer & McCarthy Ramaswamy Meyer (rejoinder, 2007) Manifestations Topic selection Measurements “A journal” designation Data issues: Data issues Qualitative: Peng (1997 OS) Quantitative/survey: Luo & Peng (1999 JIBS); Peng & Luo (2000 AMJ); Peng, Buck, & Filatotchev (2003 JWB); Peng, Tan, & Tong (2004 JMS) Quantitative/archival: Peng (2004 SMJ assigned); Peng, Zhang, & Li (2007 MOR); Tong, Reuer, & Peng (2007 AMJ) Combining survey and archival sources: Tan & Peng (2003 SMJ assigned) No data are perfect, all can be challenged by reviewers—you need to defend your data Slide13: Publishing research is difficult for almost everyone…. (S. Rynes, 2006, IACMR talk) Mike’s 1-slide checklist: Mike’s 1-slide checklist Shorten your title (it’s not an abstract!) Do you really need your subtitle? Finish the Introduction section in 2 pages Make sure to raise questions (using ?) in Intro Start your Methods no later than p 15 NO new ideas and cites in Findings (just your findings) Make sure you use the word CONTRIBUTIONS Have a 1-para Conclusion (Don’t end with Limitations) The shorter your paper, the better! Research implementation: Research implementation A well-crafted article Tells a good story: Beginning, middle, and end Draws the reader into the plot Shows a picture (worth 1,000 words?) Standard format, although boring, simplifies our task (and life!) Qualitative studies may appear to be relatively easier to conduct, but are a lot harder to write The beginning (I): The beginning (I) Shorten your title: Easy to remember (and cite!) Peng and Heath (1996 AMR): The growth of the firm in planned economies in transitions: Organizations, institutions, and strategic choices (15 words) Peng (2003 AMR): Institutional transitions and strategic choices (5 words) Raise questions, preferably in the 1st sentence Peng (2003 AMR): How do organizations make strategic choices during the time of fundamental and comprehensive institutional transitions? Peng (2004 SMJ): Do outside directors on corporate boards make a difference in firm performance? Raise a question in the title Peng, Lee, & Wang (2005 AMR): What determines the scope of the firm over time? A focus on institutional relatedness The beginning (II): The beginning (II) Set forth the plot line “This paper is about …” “This topic is important because …” Draw the reader to think your way “According to institutional theory …” Finish the Introduction section in 2 pages Reviewers are impatient: “Please be explicit!” Don’t waste precious space on “Section 2 is about >>>, section 3 is about >>>”—nobody reads that Use the last paragraph in your Intro to say: “This article departs from (or contributes to) the literature in three ways. One >>> two >>> three >>>” The middle (I): The middle (I) Literature review Short, focused -- no need to cite 1,000 articles Your focus: Puzzles? Contradictions? Gaps? Methodology Bear in mind of replication needs by others Full disclosure of imperfect approach is better than no disclosure Place the most technical (boring) stuff to the appendix The middle (II): The middle (II) Results Only talk about results No new cites or ideas please Be explicit: Were hypotheses supported or not? Interpret; don’t just repeat the tables “Shown in Table 1, X is significant.” “Shown in Table 1, X is significant, thus supporting our H1.” Good idea to have a summary table for results The end: The end Discussion State your contributions explicitly “Three contributions emerge. First … Second … Third …” Don’t say “weaknesses;” say “limitations and future research directions” Conclusion So what? How does the world look different now? No more than one paragraph: Tie everything together “Learning does lead to higher performance—albeit not necessarily in a linear fashion” (Luo & Peng 99 JIBS) The reviewer’s perspective (I): The reviewer’s perspective (I) I have served on the editorial boards of AMJ, AMR, JIBS, and SMJ, and guest edited a JMS Special Issue Editor-in-Chief of Asia Pacific Journal of Management Is the story interesting? Avoid “dead end” topics Is the theory sound? Topic- or data-driven versus theory-driven research Building on previous theory? Overlooking major aspects of previous work (such as my work)? Citing authors (such as the reviewer!) correctly? The reviewer’s perspective (II): The reviewer’s perspective (II) Is the method reasonable? Does it match your research objectives? Does operationalization reasonably reflect the conceptual essence of your constructs? Are you trying to hide something? Is the writing good? Logical flow of macro-structure Consistent words throughout the paper (e.g., don’t mix up “org. culture” and “climate”) The author’s tactics: The author’s tactics Anticipate the reviewers’ concerns Anticipate who your reviewers might be Very hard; can never be proven Your references provide a clue (for editors) Meet journal styles (asset-specificity investment) Tight editing (Have you tried research notes?) Avoid amateur styles: Be professional and cool “Our results are incredible (shocking) ...” Offer to review for the journal Surviving the review process: Surviving the review process Thick skin is required: Everybody gets rejections @ 90% rejection rates, my 40+ articles would have been submitted 400 times (baptism by fire?) I’m now 3 times better than average, which means my submissions are still being killed 70% of the times! Realize reviewers and editors are rational At least in most cases: Everybody can have a bad day Our intellectual market for ideas is not perfect, but is rational, reasonable, and the best in the world Case study of Tong, Reuer, & Peng @ AMJ (2007) Dealing with reviewers: Dealing with reviewers Thoroughly address every point raised Including disagreements, don’t hide them! What reviewers hate: #1: Done! #2: Done! #3: Yes – they won’t remember What reviewers appreciate: Point-by-point [Review #1] >>>> (completely retype or cut and paste) [Our response #1] >>> [Review #2] >>> [Our response #2] >>> What I have found (I)...: What I have found (I)... The university is a subsidized writers’ club … Or multiple, never-ending Olympic games. Have to care about major games Leverage your core competencies Ours is a socially constructed, virtual community around the world So what? Send your work to relevant people ASAP My global network is a source of my energy, replenishment, and inspiration (and citations!) What I have found (II) ...: What I have found (II) ... Writing is just like cooking! We are all cooks. We cannot cook up data, but we can cook up presentable dishes in paper format Be creative: Don’t be a slave to a certain style of cooking Avoid too many or too few ingredients (theories) Certain foods are no longer fresh or appealing if they are not cooked right away When is the best time to write? – Right (write) now! The art of theoretical stir fry For more, see H. Becker, Writing for Social Scientists //ChallengeSMOT0706//6/17/2007// Useful references: Useful references The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. Strunk, White, and Angell, 2000. Longman The Craft of Research. Booth, Colomb, and Williams, 1995. University of Chicago Press, Chicago Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne Lamott, 1995. First Anchor Books Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article. Howard S. Becker, 1986. University Of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style. By University of Chicago Press Staff, 2003. Publishing in the Organizational Sciences. Cummings and Frost, 1995. Sage Publications. Slide29: No need to go over what the top journals are Do think of MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION REVIEW and ASIA PACIFIC JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT Official Journal of the Asia Academy of Management
... Writing for Social Scientists //ChallengeSMOT0706//6/17/2007// Useful references The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. Strunk, ...