Change CAN Happen in Academia: The Story of Organizational Research Methods

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Herman Aguinis of George Washington University, Ravi S. Ramani of Purdue University Northwest, and Isabel Villamor of George Washington University. They recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled “The First 20 Years of Organizational Research Methods: Trajectory, Impact, and Predictions for the Future” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the growth of Organizational Research Methods and possible future directions for the journal.

ORM_72ppiRGB_powerpointA common viewpoint is that change and innovation is difficult and very slow in academia. If they occur at all, changes are long-drawn and unlikely to alter the status quo substantially. The story of Organizational Research Methods (ORM) proves otherwise. ORM, a journal that is just 20 years old, has become one of the most-cited and influential journals in management, business, and applied psychology. How did this happen? And, having achieved so much success so quickly, what does the future of ORM, and methodology more generally, look like?

Our article published in ORM titled “The First 20 Years of Organizational Research Methods: Trajectory, Impact, and Predictions for the Future” answers these questions and more. In two decades, this journal devoted to methodology has fulfilled its dual role and mission of serving as an outlet in which methodologists can publish their best work and where substantive researchers can learn about new methodological developments as well as recommendations on how to address important methodological challenges. From its adoption of a legitimization strategy through strategic partnerships, to growing pains as it sought to balance quantitative vs. qualitative and micro vs. macro topics, to the challenges of breaking into lists of “A-journals,” and finally, to questions about its future, our analysis shows that in many ways, the story of ORM is the story of a successful disruptive new venture in one of the oldest and most traditional industries: academia. We analyze the story of this new venture, as evidenced by editorials, published articles, and the composition of senior editorial teams to understand what specific steps allowed it to succeed. We also highlight innovations introduced by ORM that separated it from other journals, and the researchers whose contributions fueled this rise. Finally, we discuss the implications of ORM’s journey for its future and the future of research methodology as it moves from a growth phase to maturity in its organizational life-cycle.

We believe that our article explicating the trajectory, impact, and possible future directions for ORM and methodology more generally will be useful for management researchers in a number of ways. The information regarding methodological advancements published in ORM will help substantive researchers sharpen their toolkits and discover novel ways of addressing important research questions. It will also help universities, professional organizations, and faculty involved in doctoral education improve the rigor and breadth of training provided to future scholars. Our article can also be a reference to these newcomers as they learn where to go to find accurate answers to most of the methodological questions they may encounter during their formative years. In addition, illustrating the impact of the numerous how-to’s and best-practice articles published in ORM may aid academics who wish to avoid engaging in questionable research practices (QRPs) which damage the credibility and impact of our research. Finally, by showcasing ORM’s trajectory, our article may be of use to the editors and senior editorial teams of both new journals, as well as those interested in improving the impact and influence of their existing publication.

We look forward to hearing the reactions to our article and hope that it will serve as a catalyst further enhance the quality of ORM, and more broadly, methodology in management, business, applied psychology, and related fields.

To read more examples of high impact articles from ORM see this list:

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