This video highlights the difference between AMD and conventional management journals. Providing insight into empirical exploration and how it links to theory development, this video will help scholars better understand the mission of AMD, how it fits into the portfolio of AMD publications, and the benefits AMD offers to its authors.
What we look for: The Importance of Surprise; Using Data to Fill Gaps in Theory; Plausible Explanations; Rigor; Abductive Reasoning
Thinking about attending an AMD Paper Development Workshop? This video will give you a realistic preview of what to expect and what you might do to make the most of the workshop experience.
Planning to submit your manuscript to AMD? Before you press the "submit" button, watch this video and learn more about what AMD's editors look for and how you might "tweak" your paper to increase its likelihood of acceptance.
What is the mission of AMD?
The mission of AMD is to publish phenomenon-driven empirical research that theories of management and organizations neither adequately predict nor explain. Data on these poorly-understood phenomena can come from any source, including ethnographic observations, lab and field experiments, field surveys, meta-analyses, construct validation research, and replication studies. AMD welcomes exploratory research at the pre-theory stage of knowledge development, where it is premature to specify hypotheses, and which generates surprising findings likely to stimulate and guide further exploration and analysis. This research must be grounded in rigorous state-of-the-art methods, present strong and persuasive evidence, and offer interesting and important implications for management theory and practice.
AMD is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December.
Accordingly, AMD publishes management research guided by empirical abduction and induction, or in other words, studies which use data exploration in order to:
- Surface significant new or emerging phenomenon using any number of empirical approaches including rich description, quantitative construct validation, and/or empirical taxonomic analyses.
- Identify and explore surprising relationships using rigorous qualitative and/or quantitative methods in order to develop plausible explanations for those relationships and provide a grounded basis for innovative theorizing.
- Studies that leverage the data to offer plausible explanations for the mechanisms underlying these relations and/or the conditions governing them are likely to be published as full-length papers.
- Studies simply exposing stylized facts and providing evidence of their consistent and non-spurious nature without examining mediators or moderators are likely to be published as "Discoveries-in-Brief".
- Leverage original, secondary or "big" data and any number of alternative approaches (including lab and field/quasi-experiments, meta-analyses and replication studies) in order to offer empirically-driven insights into and/or a plausible resolution of critical anomalies and discrepant findings.
How does AMD differ from the other AOM journals?
As a journal grounded on empirical abduction, AMD's mission is distinct from but complementary to the missions of other Academy of Management publications. AMD papers report novel findings or unusual empirical patterns in their particular indigenous contexts that are either not adequately explained by current theory or that may play a critical role in the development or testing of new theory. Accordingly, AMD papers use data to isolate the plausible nature of new or poorly understood phenomena, identify their plausible antecedents and/or consequences, and/or shed light on the conditions potentially governing these relations. Ideally, these empirically driven insights provide a framework to guide further theory generation and a basis upon which to ground testable hypotheses. Papers developing new concepts or theory on the basis of the empirical insights offered by an AMD paper might appear in the Academy of Management Review, whereas papers testing theories deducted on the basis of the patterns uncovered by an AMD paper might be submitted to the Academy of Management Journal.
Why was there a perceived need on the part of the Board of Governors to launch AMD?
The decision to launch AMD came about as a result of two largely independent sources that identified a scholarly need for this journal, as well as an unmet need within our membership. First, with respect to our membership, on November 9, 2010, the Board of Governors received a memo signed by 18 Chairs of AOM Divisions and Interest Groups, requesting that AOM increase both the size and scope of publication opportunities within AOM for members. This memo articulated the need for expanded publication opportunities, and expressed several possible solutions for meeting this need, including the launch of a new empirically based journal along the lines of AMD.
This memo was consistent with the data from a 2005 membership survey, in which 88% of AOM members indicated that the most pressing need they had was for "expanded opportunities to publish research within AOM". This response also echoed a study conducted by the Board of Governors, which indicated that as a professional society the AOM publishes a significantly lower percentage of work by our members relative to other professional societies within business schools, such as Finance, Accounting, and Marketing.
In terms of the scholarly need, Don Hambrick (2007, AMJ) articulated why this type of journal is necessary in the field of Management, and others have echoed this call (see Miller 2007; Oxley, et al. 2010). The general idea expressed by Hambrick and others is that the field of Management needs to strike a better balance between theories on the one hand and direct empirical evidence on the other. Hambrick recounts many examples in the physical and natural sciences, as well as other disciplines in business, where reporting of critical evidence led to important advances in problem solving and future theory building, even when the immediate implications for current theories was unclear. That is, a novel finding, unusual empirical pattern, or a robust anomaly that cannot be explained by any current theory is reported, which in turn triggers future theory building efforts. In addition, direct evidence regarding relationships may promote Evidence-Based Management even if the full theoretical articulation for explaining a relationship is not immediately available.
Based upon the confluence of membership and scholarly needs, the Board of Governors asked the Journals Committee to explore the idea of expanding both the size and scope of publication opportunities for AOM members by creating a new empirical journal that would be focused on important management issues and organizational phenomena that was not necessarily theory driven. This eventually led to the development of AMD as a empirical journal grounded on abduction.
Why not just expand the size and the scope of AMJ instead of launching a new journal?
By any standard, AMJ is a clear success story for AOM. The journal's blending of tight and formal a priori theory building combined with rigorously obtained and analyzed data is a powerful vehicle for making scientific contributions. This has been a proven formula for the success of that journal, and there was no perceived need within the Board of Governors to "fix" something that was so obviously "not broken". Rather than threaten that established paradigm by mixing in new articles that would not adhere to the paradigm, it was considered more prudent to offer a new journal that was devoted to a different paradigm.
How can I determine whether AMD is the appropriate outlet for my manuscript?
AMD seeks to publish papers that use data to identify and propose plausible explanations for management and organizational anomalies (i.e., new or poorly understood phenomena), thereby facilitating important advances in management knowledge and practice. The first step in creating knowledge is conceiving the germ of an idea that may change our understanding of an issue or phenomenon. This idea may originate from an observation or experience in the practical world, from an irregularity in an empirical analysis that is inconsistent with conventional understandings of how things are expected to unfold, or from a personal experience or insight. The second step is to use data to better understand the nature of the concept or relationship discovered, and to then narrow down the range of plausible explanations for it. This may be done using quantitative and/or qualitative data, but often demands comparative analyses, the re-testing of models across varying sets of assumptions or datasets, or multi-experiment studies.
Whatever the source of a discovery, AMD welcomes papers that clearly grounds important and innovative insights in their empirical characteristics and context, and explore the data in ways that lay the groundwork for down-the-road theorizing. As Pasteur stated, "Chance favors the prepared mind." AMD seeks to publish papers from authors with minds–prepared not only in terms of describing the particulars of a phenomenon in its indigenous context, but also by showing a deep appreciation of the most plausible alternative theories or models that do NOT adequately explain the discovery. By definition, a phenomenon or uncovered relationship among constructs is not a discovery if it is adequately explained by existing theory or does not call existing theories or taxonomies into question.
In particular, AMD is an appropriate outlet for manuscripts whose purpose is to:
- Better explain why it is that…
- Investigate the possibility that…
- Challenge the idea that…
- Examine the effectiveness of…
- Shed light on the debate regarding…
- Examine the unintended consequences of the widespread practice of…
- Introduce a new construct/taxonomy that…
- Better understand the boundary conditions for…
- Re-examine conventional understandings about…
- Describe and diagnose…
AMD is NOT an appropriate outlet for manuscripts that:
- Are grounded on a-priori hypotheses…
- Examine the effectiveness of…
- Shed qualitative data to specify generalizable inferences (i.e., propositions)…
- Test the validity of new measures capturing well-known and well-understood constructs…
What kind of papers will AMD publish?
Papers are more likely to be accepted for publication in AMD if:
- They are grounded on abductive reasoning.
- They examine new or poorly understood phenomena or relations in management and organizations.
- These new or poorly understood phenomena or relations have demonstrable importance to management/organizational scholars and/or practitioners.
- The methods used meet the highest standards of scientific rigor.
- The data and findings are sufficient to narrow down the range of plausible explanations and demonstrate plausible generalizability.
AMD publishes studies using a wide-range of analytical approaches. Examples may be found here:
Quantitative Field Data–Macro
Quantitative Field Data–Micro
Construct Validity& Taxonomies
Simulation models (Lyneis & Sturman)
What is the page limit for manuscript submissions?
Authors should prepare their manuscripts in accordance with AMD's Style Guide, which appears on the AMD webpage. Based on their contribution-to-length ratio, “REGULAR” submitted manuscripts should be about 30 pages, excluding references, tables and figures. “DISCOVERIES-IN-BRIEF’ should be about 20 pages, excluding references, tables and figures.
How might I frame an AMD paper?
Because AMD seeks empirical studies of poorly-understood yet important phenomena, we expect they will be directed by specific research questions and conjectures rather than testing refined hypotheses. Introductory paragraphs should clearly ground the phenomenon and the research question. While this can be done many ways, we encourage this grounding to clearly describe a particular case or instance of the phenomenon, and the context or settings in which it exists. This grounding should also include a statement of the specific research question that guides the study of the phenomenon, why it is important, and how it is addressed in the paper.
Examples of how exemplary submissions have framed their research question may be found in any of the following studies:
Quantitative Field Data–Macro
Quantitative Field Data–Micro
Construct Validity& Taxonomies
Simulation models (Lyneis & Sturman)
Are AMD manuscripts a-theoretical?
Absolutely not. Theory is critically important for any advancement of knowledge, but our appreciation of the roles of theory in scholarship needs to broaden. All data-driven explorations are theory-laden to some extent; one cannot consider evidence in a meaningful way without engaging in "sense-making." AMD papers very much rely on theory, but it is theory in service of describing, understanding and narrowing the range of plausible explanations for phenomena and relationships, rather than theory in service of testing and confirmation as has been the case in AMJ and other empirical journals in the field of management.
In most AMD papers, theory offers a guiding framework that is typically affected by the findings. For example, a discovery may highlight new boundary conditions for some theory. A discovery may question accepted understandings of the mechanisms underlying a relationship, or completely overturn basic assumptions underlying a particular theory. A discovery may demonstrate some relationship that is simply inconsistent with a variety of relevant theories and provide a plausible explanation as to when and why this is the case.
In sum, the aim of most AMD papers is to use empirical findings to provide plausible, data-driven descriptions of and explanations for phenomena, relations, and anomalies for which extant theory falls short. Accordingly, AMD may best be described as “pre-theoretical.” In contrast to other empirical journals which require extensive a-priori theorizing in the manuscript’s front end, in AMD papers most of the theory-relevant material is presented post-hoc and found in the paper’s discussion. In this way, the discussion provides a framework to guide further theory generation and a basis upon which to ground propositions and even testable hypotheses.
Can an author submit a paper to AMD if it was rejected at AMJ?
Because the purpose of articles published in AMJ and AMD differ, at the time of initial submission, authors need to carefully think about which AOM outlet offers the best fit for their work. Papers that have been reviewed at other journals and rejected, including AMJ, may or may not be a good fit for AMD.
The major criteria by which papers at AMD will be judged are (a) the importance of the discovery, (b) the technical strength of the research methods employed, (c) the weight of the quantitative or qualitative evidence presented in supporting the premise and eliminating alternative explanations for the discovery, and (d) the clarity and conciseness of exposition. Reviewers will be asked to determine if the discovery has a high likelihood of leading to advancements to management knowledge and practice.
Can I submit a meta-analysis to AMD and if so, how does a meta-analysis submitted to AMD differ from one that might be better suited for another AOM Journal?
Absolutely. However, consistent with the mission of AMD, meta-analyses must be focused on important emerging phenomena or already-studied but poorly understood phenomena. For further information on the criteria AMD reviewers use when evaluating a submission grounded on meta-analysis, please see the FTE by Miller and Bamberger below:
Does AMD publish simulation studies?
A simulation study is suitable for submission to AMD to the extent that its assumptions are grounded in empirical evidence regarding important phenomena or processes. Simulations that produce novel insights into the dynamics of systems are particularly relevant. For an example of a simulation study published in AMD see the study by Lyneis & Sturman below:
Can I submit a qualitative study to AMD, and if so, how does a qualitative study submitted to AMD differ from one that might be better suited for another AOM journal?
AMD welcomes qualitative research. The major purpose for publishing a qualitative study in AMD is to richly describe a phenomenon in terms of its characteristics, temporal development, and context. More specifically, rather than publishing papers using rich data to ground propositions, AMD seeks to publish studies that use such data to explicate emergent phenomena, processes, and taxonomies, and narrow the range of plausible explanations for them in order to provide the foundation for important subsequent theory development.
However, given its focus on abduction, qualitative studies published in AMD are different from those typically published in other management journals. For further insight on these differences please see the FTE by Arino et al.
Is AMD an appropriate outlet for studies that are trying to make contributions to Evidence-Based Management?
Yes. Many have suggested that there is a current imbalance between the emphasis on theory versus evidence in the field of management, which has prompted calls for "Evidence-Based Management" (EBM) (Rousseau, 2006; Pfeffer and Sutton, 2006). The EBM movement extols the virtues of basing managerial practice on empirical findings. AMD articles could provide the evidence that managers need without the research having to reach the maturity of a formal theory before it can be published.
Some empirical findings may defy logic or it may take a long time before a formal and comprehensive logic can be developed to explain them. AMD is the vehicle for sharing these systematic and interesting empirical findings that can serve as the basis for theorizing, while they can also inform and support practice. Findings reported in AMD, as is the case with evidence reported in AMJ, support the work of EBM. The main difference is that AMD focuses on the plausibility of the EBM discovery, while AMJ focuses on the robustness of the theory explaining the discovery.
Does AMD publish articles that are characterized by "null results"?
Our field’s preoccupation with statistically significant effects has produced a number of distortions related to publication bias and general neglect of important non-effects (Schmidt & Oh, 2016). Imagine if medical researchers were unconcerned with understanding treatments that do not work! At AMD, null findings are welcome, so long as they have been produced in a pre-theory setting and with empirical methods that ensure sound measurement and strong statistical power. Purposeful searches for negligible effects also might benefit from Bayesian approaches (McKee & Miller, 2015).
Will AMD be "counted" by tenure and promotion committees as an "A-level" or "top-tier" journal?
The 19,000-plus members of AOM represent a diverse group of individuals who reside in a diverse set of contexts. We cannot speak to how each and every AOM member's institution defines the term "A-level" or "top-tier" publication. We believe, however, for the reasons listed in this document that (a) AMD will be a highly cited journal, (b) its citation status will be established quickly, and (c) over time it will be highly ranked on the lists of empirically-based journals in management. We expect AMD to become an A-level journal because it is published by AOM, which by reputation, publishes only top rated journals. The AMD team is committed to making AMD a top-tier journal.
Will AMD articles be highly cited?
We expect AMD to be the preferred source of knowledge related to management discoveries. Moreover, the AOM brand and access to its 19,000-plus AOM members will help increase the number of "eyes on target" relative to what might be experienced by a new journal with no existing link to this large professional body. Based on the latest rankings (2012 Thomson Journal Citation Reports), AOM has the top management journals in the world. Thus, AOM is a highly credible publisher of highly cited works.
Further, the electronic distribution of AMD provides the technical means for increasing "eyes on target" by direct distribution to AOM members. Most AOM members now receive emails that alert them to the content of upcoming editions of AMJ, AMR, AMP, AMLE and the Annals. Many members read or download papers from this source well before the actual physical journal arrives in the regular postal mail weeks later. This would also be true of AMD, in the sense that our members will be made aware of the contents of AMD via email communications. We suspect that our members will read and download works that are relevant to their areas of research or practice in the same manner as used for our other highly cited titles.
How long will it take for AMD articles to be highly cited?
It was once an accepted belief that it always takes a long time before a new journal can perform well in terms of the traditional citation metrics. However, our experience with the Academy of Management Annals has challenged that belief. The Annals became one of the most highly cited journals in the field of management in just a few years. Part of this is attributable to the nature of the content (an outlet for critical literature reviews). However, we believe that the AOM brand and the electronic means of distribution also played a major role in the quick success of this publication. These two factors might also reduce the time required for AMD to become a highly cited journal. And indeed, there are indications that this is happening as several AMD papers, although published only months ago, have been already been cited numerous times (link to most cited).
How did the process of developing AMD unfold?
Early in the development process of AMD, the Board of Governors sought the input of 25 people who were considered to be thought leaders within AOM. This group consisted of individuals who were (a) current or former editors of AMJ and AMR, (b) former editors of competing journals, (c) past AOM Presidents, (d) past Deans of the AOM Fellows Group, (e) winners of the AOM Distinguished Scientific Contributions Awards, and (f) current and former division chairs. The comments from the vast majority of this group were positive with respect to the need for AMD, and this group provided a number of comments that were helpful in developing the new journal.
Although not everyone was supportive of AMD, even those who were opposed recognized the need for more publication opportunities for members and an expanded scope of those opportunities. Some argued that these problems would be better addressed by changing the size, nature and scope of AMJ. For the reasons previously stated, the decision was made to leave AMJ unaltered. Instead, the plan was adopted to go forward with a new journal, AMD.
The new and revised AMD concept was then taken to the Chairs of the Division and Interest Groups of AOM. The Journals Committee reached out to this group and sent them a slightly updated version of the December 2011 AMD proposal, including a revised mission statement, the analysis of the competitive market, and a mock-up of the journal. The leaders of Divisions and Interest Groups were asked to study the proposal and weigh in on whether or not they believed AMD would provide a value-added professional contribution to the members of their divisions and the Academy of Management's portfolio of journal offerings.
They were then asked to respond to eight specific questions to gauge the degree to which they thought AMD would support the needs of their members and AOM at large, including:
- Do you think your members are conducting research that would be suitable for publication in AMD?
- Do you think your members would submit their work to AMD?
- Do you think that your department would value articles published in AMD?
- Does AMD address an "unmet need" for many of your members because there may be limited alternative publication outlets for this type of research?
- Do you think that AMD articles would advance the body of knowledge for management?
- Do you think that AMD articles would make a contribution to what we know about management and stimulate future research?
- Do you think members of your division would provide professional service to AMD, such as serving as reviewers, editorial board members, editors and associate editors?
- Can you think of potential questions your members might have regarding AMD that are not answered by the materials we are providing here (a FAQ list)?
We received input from 19 Division and Interest Group Leaders. The comments from the vast majority of this group were generally positive with respect to the need for AMD, and this group provided a number of additional insights that were helpful in further developing this new journal.