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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Restricted Variance Interaction Effects

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Jose Cortina of Virginia Commonwealth University,  Tine Koehler of the University of Melbourne, Kathleen R. Keeler of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Bo Bernhard Nielsen of the University of Sydney and Copenhagen Business School. They recently published an article in Journal of Management entitled “Restricted Variance Interaction Effects: What they are and why they are your friends,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Cortina reveals the inspiration for conducting this research :]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointI had read about Mischel’s situation strength notion when I was an undergrad. The idea was that, in strong situations, everyone behaves the same way regardless of individual differences like conscientiousness or extraversion. In weak situations where there aren’t clear norms for behavior, individual differences rule. This phenomenon results in Mischel’s personality by situation interaction such that personality predicts behavior in weak situations but not in strong situations. That made sense to me, and I didn’t giveit much more thought.

Until few years ago. Some of my students were interested in this stuff, so I started reading more about the situation strength hypothesis. Then, as always, I started to question. First, do authors who rely on Mischel’s theory for their hypotheses actually test for variance differences as per the theory? (Spoiler alert-the answer is no, but that paper is under review elsewhere). Second, might it be that this sort of phenomenon goes beyond personality by situation interactions? The more I thought about this second question, the more intrigued I became.

Then I was on sabbatical at the University of Sydney, and I was looking for an excuse to collaborate with Bo Nielsen on something related to international business. It occurred to me that a more general sort of interaction, something that I began calling a restricted variance interaction, was quite common in IB research. So Bo, my longtime partner in crime Tine Kohler, and I published a paper to this effect in JIBS. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that RV interactions went beyond IB. They were, in fact, everywhere, and at every level of analysis, from within person to between country. If we ever start doing interplanetary research, I bet we find RV interactions there too.
We started fiddling with data and equations, and we discovered that there was a lot of interesting stuff going on with these interactions. First, restriction of variance affects unstandardized weights, but not standardized weights. Second, while restriction on the DV weakens prediction as per Mischel, restriction on the IV actually has the opposite effect! Third, restriction on a mediator has no effect on the indirect effect. Fourth, higher order RV interactions are also entirely possible. Fifth, RV interactions have their own testing requirements. And the more we looked in the literature, the more we found examples of these and other RV interaction phenomena. Put all of this together, add my student Kate Keeler to the team, and you have our JOM paper.

This paper is one of three that Tine, Bo, Kate, and I are working on. The more that people look at the field through an RV lens, the easier they will find it to support their interaction hypotheses. My hope is that, through these various papers, we can generate enough interest in RV interactions that it reaches a tipping point such that everyone gets some exposure to the thinking that underlies these phenomena. Then we will see interaction hypotheses with stronger foundations than is currently the case. Here’s hopin’.

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Do we Value Disabled Lives in Academia?

[We’re pleased to welcome Guest Editor Dr. Sushil K. Oswal of the University of Washington Tacoma. Dr. Oswal recently published a guest editorial in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly entitled “Can Workplaces, Classrooms, and Pedagogies Be Disabling?” which is currently free to read for a limited time. The editorial was written as an introduction for the Special Issue: Enabling Workplaces, Classrooms, and Pedagogies: Bringing Disability Theory and Accessibility to Business and Professional Communication. Below, Dr. Oswal reflects on the significance of the articles featured in this issue in the context of today’s political environment:]


Disability has been of late in the news for so many reasons: during the last presidential election, a presidential candidate publicly made fun of a disabled journalist without any serious repercussions; earlier this year the U.S. Department of Education took down advisories on providing access to education in schools and colleges to students with disabilities without any serious opposition from educators or public; and presently some members of Congress are trying to turn the clock back to the times when United States did not treat its own children as citizens because they were missing a limb or a sensory organ. What has been missing from the media coverage of these recent events is whether or not the U.S. body politic any more considers disabled people human enough to have any rights or voice at all. The humanity that was returned to this nation’s disabled citizens after a long wait of two centuries at the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President, George Bush on July 25, 1990 seems to be in peril because the U.S. Congress appears no longer concerned about the civil liberties of all the citizens of this land. Even when major corporations like Walgreens, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Apple have realized the value of being inclusive of disabled users, consumers, and sometimes, workers, some of our democratically elected representatives are writing legislations that would raise new barriers for more than one fifth of the country’s population and deny them the right to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or a game at the neighborhood bowling alley.

This author believes that not only do we in academia have a civic obligation to speak in support of our 56 million disabled fellow citizens in public debates about disability rights but also have a professional and academic responsibility to pull down barriers that keep these citizens from full participation in our universities, the products of our professional work, and our information and communications. The March 2018 special issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly takes a step in this direction and presents a host of professional and scholarly solutions for making our business information and communication accessible for users with disabilities. Not only does it share some well-tried approaches for teaching disability and accessibility in our classes but also includes a set of strategies for disabling our whole curriculum so that the business field begins to include students with disabilities as the rightful members of academia.

It is a hefty issue with seven full-length articles and a longish introduction by the guest editor. Above is a link to the table-of-contents as a sampling of the topics and authors covered. Readers will see how the authors here engage disability studies theory and design principles in interesting ways with the work of scholars like Sara Ahmed and J. K. Rowling. Before the print copies of this BPCQ special issue run out, you would like to grab a copy for your book shelf. The special issue can also be an excellent textbook for a graduate course in business, professional, and technical communication because the wonderfully diverse advice on integrating access offered in this volume is even more pertinent for our future teachers, scholars, and practitioners as people with disabilities join our programs (and ranks), and as the aging population of this world demands roughly the same sort of access to information and communication services that disabled users have desired all along.

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Cognitive and Affective Job Insecurity

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Lixin Jiang of the University of Auckland and Dr. Lindsey M. Lavaysse of Washington State University–Vancouver. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “Cognitive and Affective Job Insecurity: A Meta-Analysis and a Primary Study,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Jiang reveals the inspiration for conducting this research :]


What motivated you to pursue this research?

I was driven by two primary reasons. The most recent meta-analysis on the outcome of job insecurity was published in 2008. The field has made a lot of progress since then. There is a great need to update our knowledge of outcomes of job insecurity. More importantly, when asking employees about their job insecurity, they often say, “I am really scared of the possibility of job loss.” This is what we called the affective aspect of job insecurity. However, the field still primarily focuses on cognitive job insecurity- the perceived possibility of job loss. Thus, there is a mismatch between how employees really experience job insecurity and what we actually measure in the academia. In order to address this problem, I conducted this meta-analysis to show that affective job insecurity has better predictive power than cognitive job insecurity and should be included in the theoretical development of job insecurity.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

We ended up having to code almost 500 articles (465 to be exact). I coded all articles. You can imagine it is a very time-consuming process. To complete the task, I coded 20 articles per day, which took me about one month. Then, I focused on my other work during the next month. Finally, I came back and recoded all articles all over again to make sure that all coding was correct. Of course, Linz, the second author, coded 20% of articles and we compared our notes. This was the most challenging part.

As predicted, affective job insecurity was a better predictor of employee outcomes than cognitive job insecurity. Additionally, we included a primary study as suggested by reviewers. We found that for those who treat their job as their number one priority (as opposed to those who do not believe their work plays an important role in their life), they become more vulnerable and report a significantly higher level of affective job insecurity when perceiving there is a possibility of job loss. The only one surprising finding is that the predictive validity of a scale tapping into both affective and cognitive job insecurity was not as bad as we have expected.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

If you are particularly interested in outcomes of job insecurity, then you should measure affective job insecurity. If you are interested in predictors of job insecurity, then you should measure cognitive job insecurity. Moreover, future research should examine moderators and mediators in the linkage between cognitive job insecurity and affective job insecurity. That is, why is there a relation between cognitive job insecurity and affective job insecurity? Who is more likely to report higher levels of affective job insecurity as a result of cognitive job insecurity?

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Call for Editor: Journal of Applied Behavioral Science

The NTL Institute invites applications for the Editorship of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science isJABS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint the leading international journal on the effects of evolutionary and planned change. Founded and sponsored by the NTL Institute, the Journal is continually breaking ground in its exploration of group dynamics, organization development, and social change.

For more details click here.


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What Motivated CEO Wrongdoing?

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Karen Schnatterly of the University of Missouri, K. Ashley Gangloff of the University of Missouri, Anja Tuschke of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management entitled “CEO Wrongdoing: A Review of Pressure, Opportunity, and Rationalization,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Schnatterly reveals the inspiration for conducting this research :]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointWe were motivated to explore CEO wrongdoing because of its prominence in popular press headlines and in academic publications. We know CEOs engage in or facilitate wrongdoing, and have known for a long time. Mechanisms exist that should limit or prevent it, yet it still occurs! Not even the terrible consequences of wrongdoing prevents it from happening. For all of these reasons, we were interested in understanding why it still occurs. Moreover, if we know more about the internal and external forces that foster or allow for CEO misbehavior, we can better help organizations choose CEOs and build structures and processes that are more effective in encouraging ethical behavior.
In this review paper, we examined scholarship over the past 10 years on the antecedents to CEO wrongdoing. We adopted a framework from accounting and applied it to the management literature to structure our review in a way such that we would see gaps in the current literature. (We recommend this approach to other scholars, by the way.) The gaps were interesting. The Fraud Triangle suggests that when pressure (‘I have to’), opportunity (‘I can’) and rationalization (‘it’s okay’) are possible, wrongdoing is more likely. We found extensive research in the area of pressures applied to the CEO to commit wrongdoing—this was to be expected as much management literature deals with CEO compensation or activist investors, for example, both examples of pressure on the CEO. We did find much research on the role of the CEO’s status (whether they have it and don’t want to lose it, or don’t have it and want it) on wrongdoing.

There were more gaps in both opportunity and rationalization. We think this is largely because factors in these areas are harder to measure—this takes us outside of our comfort zone. But, it also makes them very interesting.
We were surprised by the gaps in the literature regarding CEOs’ opportunity to misbehave. While there is literature on CEO structural power (e.g., duality), CEO ownership, and board monitoring, there is very little research on the deeper nuances of these issues—do CEOs create distractions to enable them to commit wrongdoing? Are certain board characteristics or board members likely to create more opportunity than others are?

Finally, there is very little work on the CEO’s ability to rationalize his or her wrongdoing beyond simple demographic variables or personality traits (e.g., Machiavellianism). Are there behaviors that influence the CEO’s ability to rationalize wrongdoing? Or firm characteristics? Or board characteristics? Do large-scale firm events, like an M&A, require such effort that the CEO commits fraud, and rationalizes it as ‘otherwise the merger would fail?’
As with any good review paper, we hope we brought together previous research, identified gaps, and generated a number of questions that can now be tested. We also think we generated some things for practitioners to think about.

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Expatriates’ Performance Profiles

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Riki Takeuchi of the University of Texas at Dallas, Yixuan Li of the University of Florida and Mo Wang of the University of Florida. They recently published an article in Journal of Management entitled “Expatriates’ Performance Profiles: Examining the Effects of Work Experiences on the Longitudinal Change Patterns,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Takeuchi reveals the inspiration for conducting this research :]

JOM_44.1_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

If you are talking about this particular study, the basic motivation is to understand further what causes expatriates to differ in their performance while overseas. While many scholars, including myself, have focused on cross-cultural adjustment as an important antecedent of performance, we actually do not have a very good understanding of factors that causes performance since adjustment only explains a small portion (10-15%) of variance in expatriate performance (see meta-analysis by Bhaskar-Shrinivas, Harrison, Shaffer, & Luk, 2005) and I had a suspicion that this may be partly due to variation in the performance levels for different “groups” of expatriates. Having this four-wave longitudinal data allowed me to test such an idea and I must thank Mo for getting this data.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

When I was 11 years old, I moved to Raleigh, NC, because my father took a visiting position at North Carolina State University for 2 years so I’ve had to adjust to a foreign culture and re-adjust back to Japanese culture. This prompted me to identify cross-cultural adjustment issues as one important research area. So, you could say that this was a social event that influenced my decision to pursue this line of research, including this particular study.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

I’d like to comment more broadly on the most challenging aspect of conducting expatriation research, which is data accessibility and the mismatch between (many) reviewers’ high expectations regarding research design rigor and actual design/data quality. Given that expatriates typically are middle-level managers who are in charge of the foreign subsidiary spread across many countries, having access to multi-wave and/or multi-level data is significantly more difficult than collecting data from employees and managers who are co-located in one particular area, be it across time or across levels (teams and individuals). Thus, I don’t think it fair to apply the same standard for different types of research (experiment, field survey, qualitative study, for instance) and topics (e.g., coworker influence or justice, to pick from my own research interests) because the challenges associated with expatriation research is quite different from challenges associated with a different topic.

For this study, one of the most surprising finding is the existence of a low performance group who did/could not improve their performance over the two years period. In retrospect, this may make more sense as these individuals are more likely the ones terminating their assignment early.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

In the past, there is an implicit assumption underlying existing expatriation literature that an entire population of expatriates holds a uniform performance change pattern. Our research is among the first to challenge this assumption and explore the possibility that expatriates may vary in terms of their performance change patterns over the course of international assignment. Using latent class growth analysis, we identified the coexistence of four distinct longitudinal change patterns of expatriate job performance based on different types of experiences one has accumulated (international, job, and organization), which is a distinct contribution to the expatriation literature. 

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