Why and how organizations experience performance decline and achieve subsequent successful turnaround has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention over the years. Since early works that mostly focused on anecdotal observations of successful turnaround cases, research in this area has grown both in scope and significance. Over the last four decades or so, turnaround scholars have explored various antecedents and outcomes of successful organizational turnaround, employing diverse methodological approaches and research contexts. Indeed, much insight has been generated in understanding the drivers of successful organizational turnaround including the role of changes in leadership, efficiency vs. market-based turnaround strategies as well as stakeholder involvement in the turnaround process.
In recent years, businesses are increasingly grappling with complex changes in the economic, social and political landscape, some of which seem to directly or indirectly affect the topic of organizational decline and turnaround. For instance, the proliferation of digital transformation (i.e. use of digital technology in product/service offerings and business processes) seems to have accelerated the disruption of prevailing business models and the incumbent firms and industries that rely on them (McAfee & Brynjolfsson, 2017; Volberda et al., 2021). Such disruption has serious implications for the performance and viability of businesses as well as the way their leaders think about turnaround strategies (Barker et al., 2022). Similarly, the growing literature on business model innovation and strategic renewal has generated important insights on how businesses "re-invent" themselves by adopting new business models and re-configuring their dynamic capabilities (Agarwal & Helfat, 2009; Schmitt et al., 2018). The major findings in this stream of research seem to suggest that perhaps merely recovering from organizational performance decline and achieving a successful turnaround may not suffice as the ultimate goal of businesses; rather, they should strive for a strategic renewal as a long-term solution in the face of a rapidly changing external environment.
Beyond the technology-enabled digital transformation and business model innovation, recent developments in stakeholder management literature have also important implications to research on organizational decline and turnaround. Specifically, the growing importance of inclusive stakeholder management and corporate social responsibility (CSR) is likely to further strengthen the bargaining power of external stakeholders in the turnaround process (Decker, 2018). Likewise, major labor market trends (e.g., growing push for work/life balance, remote work, and "quiet quitting") seem to pose significant challenges for declining firms attempting successful turnaround. Finally, as the war in Ukraine, the global COVID-19 pandemic and their associated economic disruptions demonstrate, macroeconomic and political conditions continue to be quite precarious, creating a very challenging context for formulating and implementing successful turnaround strategies.
Given these important developments, it is important for turnaround scholars to (re)examine and reflect on what successful organizational turnaround could look like going forward. With this in mind, we are putting together this research handbook to compile the state-of-the art scholarly work on organizational decline and turnaround. Upon publication, this handbook is intended to serve as a research companion to turnaround scholars and practitioners. We invite book chapter submissions that advance the conceptualization of organizational decline and turnaround in the contemporary business landscape.
Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):
- Business model innovation and strategic renewal
- Digital transformation and organizational turnaround
- Corporate governance and organizational turnaround
- Stakeholder orientation, CSR/ESG commitment and organizational turnaround
- Family business, entrepreneurial firms, and organizational turnaround
- Emerging HR practices, human capital and organizational turnaround
- International perspectives on organizational turnaround
- State-of-the-art review of the turnaround literature (including meta-analytic reviews)
- Methodological issues in organizational turnaround research
Chapter proposals should be uploaded to the online submission system no later than August 31st, 2023. Conceptual or empirical chapter proposals are accepted. We welcome proposals that utilize various conceptual and methodological approaches. Proposals must be original works that have not been published by other outlets. Proposals must be in either Microsoft Word or PDF formats with a maximum length of 40 pages. Authors are encouraged to follow the Academy of Management Journal Style Guide in preparing their submissions. Submitted book chapter proposals will undergo the standard peer-review process.
Once published by Edward Elgar Publishing, the research handbook will be included in the Book Citation Index (as part of the Web of Science) as well as in the SCOPUS citation index.
The book will be published in hardback and as an eBook. It will be available to purchase through EEP's website and third-party vendors. The book will also be included on ElgarOnline which is available for institutions/academic libraries to purchase.
All contributing authors will receive a 50% author discount to use across Edward Elgar Publishing's website. A digital copy of the book and a PDF of their chapter will also be offered to contributors.
For questions and additional clarifications, please contact Professor Michael Abebe (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), co-editor of the handbook, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agarwal, R., & Helfat, C. E. (2009). Strategic renewal of organizations. Organization Science, 20(2), 281-293.
Barker III, V. L., Luger, J., Schmitt, A., & Xin, K. R. (2022). Corporate Decline and Turnarounds in Times of Digitalization. Long Range Planning, 102211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2022.102211
Decker, C. (2018). Stakeholders' impact on turnaround performance: The case of German savings banks. Journal of Small Business Management, 56(4), 534-554.
McAfee, A., & Brynjolfsson, E. (2017). Machine, platform, crowd: Harnessing our digital future: WW Norton & Company.
Schmitt, A., Raisch, S., & Volberda, H. W. (2018). Strategic renewal: Past research, theoretical tensions and future challenges. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(1), 81-98.
Volberda, H. W., Khanagha, S., Baden-Fuller, C., Mihalache, O. R., & Birkinshaw, J. (2021). Strategizing in a digital world: Overcoming cognitive barriers, reconfiguring routines and introducing new organizational forms. Long Range Planning, 54(5), 102110.
Michael A. Abebe, Ph.D.
Professor of Management
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty
Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Edinburg, Texas, USA