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JMS Special Issue Call for Papers: Interdisciplinarity in Management Research - Premises, Promises, and Pitfalls

  • 1.  JMS Special Issue Call for Papers: Interdisciplinarity in Management Research - Premises, Promises, and Pitfalls

    Posted 04-04-2024 21:48

    Special Issue Call for Papers


    Interdisciplinarity in Management Research:

    Premises, Promises, and Pitfalls 


     Submission Deadline: 31 March 2025 

    Special Issue Editors (in alphabetical order): 

    Mirko Benischke (Rotterdam School of Management), Brian Boyd (University of Northern Arizona), Beatrice D'Ippolito (University of York), Johann Fortwengel (King's College London), Caroline Gatrell (University of Liverpool), Hannes Leroy (Rotterdam School of Management), Christopher Wickert (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).



    How can a view to other disciplines help further our goal of theory development in management studies and create more impactful and relevant scholarship? Despite having its roots in multiple fields – including, among others, psychology, economics, and sociology – there are continued calls for management research to become more interdisciplinary (e.g., Baudoin et al., 2023; Budhwar and Cumming, 2020; Dunning, 1989; Ogbonnaya and Brown, 2023), and it seems that we as management researchers have not yet fully unleashed the potential of interdisciplinary work when studying management and organizations.


    In fact, our field continues to feel challenged to conduct and publish creative and interdisciplinary research that mobilizes methods and theories from other fields and which would truly deliver groundbreaking insights to management studies (Cheng et al., 2009; Jacobs and Frickel, 2009; Kniffin and Hanks, 2017). Whether and how management research can learn about and better understand phenomena by drawing on knowledge from other disciplines, or vice-versa how other disciplines can learn from "our" field, remains a contested question (Markóczy and Deeds, 2009). Often, interdisciplinarity is praised for its premises and there is generally strong agreement about its benefits for the societal and scientific enterprise (de Bakker et al., 2019). Yet, it seems many management scholars do not yet fully draw on the repertoire of other scientific disciplines and cross the boundaries of our own knowledge frontier. The idea of undertaking interdisciplinary research is enticing, however the practice of actually doing interdisciplinary management research – and getting this published in leading management journals – can be fraught with difficulties. Its premises are challenging, its pitfalls are many, yet its promises are far-reaching. Scholars are still encouraged to carefully consider the costs and benefits of different forms of interdisciplinary research in relation to their project, particularly where this diverges from the patterns and expectations prevalent in their field at the time (Raasch et al., 2013).


    Here, in the context of the Journal of Management Studies special issue, we understand interdisciplinarity in a broad sense. It can start from within our home terrain, which is typically the business and management school (or, for instance, a social science or psychology department) and could stretch to business school departments usually less engaged in studying management and organizations such as finance, accounting, marketing, and economics. Even crafting interdisciplinary research based on collaborations among groups within a business school is often a challenge, as we frequently do not seem to speak the same language or share the same aspirations that we hold in high regard at JMS: to develop novel and original theory that explains important phenomena in the context of management and organizations. Yet, the aim of truly interdisciplinary research is to reach outside our methodological and theoretical comfort zones, drawing on narratives that are novel to management studies, and to enter what are effectively 'uncharted waters' (Breslin and Gatrell, 2020) including both arts and humanities (e.g., Aguilera et al., 2022; Cornelissen, 2008), as well as natural sciences like physics, biology and chemistry (Padgett and Powell, 2012) in order to bring in new perspectives, ways of thinking, theoretical insights, and new methods.


    Against this backdrop, with this JMS special issue on interdisciplinarity in management studies, we seek to push the debate about interdisciplinarity in management studies to new frontiers. We call for manuscripts that explore how to mobilize the theoretical and methodological repertoire of other disciplines. Our purpose is to better understand and theorize contemporary management phenomena in a light that is different from how we would typically see these, based on the theories and methods familiar to us.


    For this special issue, we call for two broad types of submissions whose boundaries are fluid:


    First, manuscripts that do interdisciplinary research by examining phenomena interesting to management scholars by mobilizing new theories and/or creative methods from another discipline as described above. We are particularly curious about how we as management scholars can learn from those disciplines and how such research can offer insights that we would struggle to generate by relying on theories and methods familiar to us. Conversely, we are also interested in work that explores what management researchers can offer to neighbouring disciplines. How does a view on management and managing add new insights, contributions, and practical implications? 


    Second, manuscripts about interdisciplinary research that take it as a phenomenon itself and examine the premises, pitfalls, and promises of doing interdisciplinary research, and which would trigger a debate about what would ultimately facilitate interdisciplinarity in and beyond our field, and how to effectively engage in it.


    Possible questions that pertain to both of the above themes include, but are not limited to:

    • How and why could interdisciplinary studies contribute to a better understanding of grand societal challenges such as climate change, sustainability, inequality and democracy?  
    • How might different research philosophies common in management studies impact interdisciplinary research and the methods underpinning it?
    • How can we balance the varying priorities of different disciplines related to theoretical contribution, practical implications, and policy or societal impact when designing an interdisciplinary project that addresses a management audience broadly speaking?
    • How can studies that cross within-management silos (e.g., Organizational Behaviour vs. Organization and Management Theory) be used to inform work that spans entire disciplines?  
    • What is the lifecycle of interdisciplinary approaches to conducting research, both theoretically and methodologically, from genesis to obsolescence? 
    • What have been the greatest management 'exports' to other disciplines and how can this inform future research? 
    • How can bibliometrics and big data/AI tools be used to identify the next big external influences on management research?
    • How are similar topics studied differently across different fields and disciplines and what can be learned from such cross-disciplinary reviews?
    • How are theoretical assumptions across disciplines different from each other and how does that translate to different methods or research questions? What can we learn from "looking over the fence"?
    • Are there universal truths across disciplines? Are there things we can agree on or are we confronted with subjective truths? How does interdisciplinarity deal with the accumulation and convergence of scientific knowledge?
    • How might conventions that are considered pitfalls and/or weaknesses in other disciplines be a source of inspiration or support for navigating tensions in management?
    • How to address the problem of incommensurability when different disciplines work based on different epistemological and ontological positions?
    • How are professions and professional boundaries affected by a multidisciplinary approach to management education? 
    • How can interdisciplinarity in methodological approaches shape the nature of innovation?
    • What are the necessary conditions for interdisciplinary projects to be successful, and how to measure such "success" more generally? What can we learn from research on integrating diverse perspectives in teamwork and apply it to interdisciplinary research?




    This Call for Papers is linked to the 2024 JMS conference in Edinburgh that had the same topic of interdisciplinarity in management research. Presentation at the conference is not a precondition for submission to the special issue, nor does it guarantee acceptance.

    Post-submission: The special issue editors will organize a revision workshop in Fall 2025 (exact date, time, and format TBA). Authors who receive a first "revise and resubmit" (R&R) decision on their manuscript will be invited to attend this workshop. Participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue and attendance is not a prerequisite for publication.


    Ø  Submission deadline: 31 March 2025

    Ø  Expected publication: 2027

    Ø  Submissions should be prepared using the JMS Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

    Ø  (http://www.socadms.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/JMS-ManuscriptPreparationGuidelines.pdf)

    Ø  Manuscripts should be submitted using the JMS ScholarOne system (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jmstudies)

    Ø  Articles will be reviewed according to the JMS double-blind review process.

    Ø  We welcome informal enquiries relating to the Special Issue, proposed topics, and potential fit with the Special Issue objectives. Please direct any questions on the Special Issue to the Special Issue Editors (in alphabetical order):

    ·      Mirko Benischke (benischke@rsm.nl)

    ·      Brian Boyd (Brian.Boyd@nau.edu)

    ·      Beatrice D'Ippolito (beatrice.dippolito@york.ac.uk)

    ·      Johann Fortwengel (johann.fortwengel@kcl.ac.uk)

    ·      Caroline Gatrell (c.gatrell@liverpool.ac.uk)

    ·      Hannes Leroy (leroy@rsm.nl)

    ·      Christopher Wickert (christopher.wickert@vu.nl)  


    Aguilera, R. V., Aragón-Correa, J. A. and Marano, V. (2022). 'Rethinking corporate power to tackle grand societal challenges: Lessons from political philosophy'. Academy of Management Review, 47, 637-45. 

    Baudoin, L., Carmine, S., Nava, L., Poggioli, N. and van den Broek, O. M. (2023). 'Imagining a Place for Sustainability Management: An Early Career Call for Action'. Journal of Management Studies, 60, 754-60. 

    Breslin, D., Gatrell, C. and Bailey, K. (2020). 'Developing insights through reviews: reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the international journal of management reviews'. International Journal of Management Reviews, 22, 3-9.

    Budhwar, P. and Cumming, D. (2020). 'New Directions in Management Research and Communication: Lessons from the COVID19 Pandemic'. British Journal of Management; 31, 441–43.

    Cheng, J. L. C., Henisz, W. J., Roth, K. and Swaminathan, A. (2009). 'From the editors: Advancing interdisciplinary research in the field of international business: Prospects, issues and challenges'. Journal of International Business Studies, 40, 1070-74.

    Cornelissen, J. P. (2008). 'Metonymy in language about organizations: A corpus-based study of company names'. Journal of Management Studies, 45, 79-99. 

    de Bakker, F., Crane, A., Henriques, I. and Husted, B. W. (2019). 'Publishing interdisciplinary research in Business & Society'. Business & Society, 58, 443-53. 

    Dunning, J. H. (1989). 'The study of international business: A plea for a more interdisciplinary approach'. Journal of International Business Studies, 20, 411-36. 

    Haley, U. C. V., Cooper, C. L., Hoffman, A. J., Pitsis, T. S. and Greenberg, D. (2022). 'From the editors. In search of scholarly impact'. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 21, 343-49.

    Jakobs, J. A., and Frickel, S. (2009). 'Interdisciplinarity: A critical approach'. Annual Review of Sociology, 35, 43-65.

    Kniffin, K. M. and Hanks, A. S. (2017). 'Antecedents and near-term consequences for interdisciplinary dissertators'. Scientometrics, 111, 1225-50. 

    Markóczy, L. and Deeds, D. L. (2009). 'Theory building at the intersection: Recipe for impact or road to nowhere?'. Journal of Management Studies, 46, 1076-88.

    Ogbonnaya, C. and Brown, A. (2023). 'Editorial: Crafting review and essay articles for Human Relations'. Human Relations, 76, 365-94.

    Padgett, J. F. and Powell, W. W. (2012). The Emergence of Organizations and Markets. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Raasch, C., Lee, V., Spaeth, S. and Herstatt, C. (2013). 'The rise and fall of interdisciplinary research: The case of open source innovation'. Research Policy, 42, 1138-1151.

    Simeone, L. (2020). 'Characterizing strategic design processes in relation to definitions of strategy from military, business and management studies'. The Design Journal, 23, 515-34.

    Christopher Wickert
    JMS General Editor
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam