Wanted: New Theory in Strategic Management

September 3, 2014

The Strategic Management Journal calls for new theory in Strategic Management and outlines areas of particular importance

The request is for submissions for a special issue of the SMJ [Deadline: November 1, 2014] by the distinguished editorial team of Jay Barney, Richard Burton, Donald. Hambrick, Richard Makadok, and Edward Zajac:

As Strategic Management has continued to evolve and grow as a field, its research base has become predominantly empirical. Quantitative and qualitative empirical studies, which typically include deductive or inductive hypotheses, have grown in absolute and relative terms when compared with purely theoretical Contributions.
Often these hypotheses are derived from theories that were developed some time ago. While we continue to make progress in refining our understanding of these theories’ one wonders if there aren’t important questions in the field that are not well covered by existing theories. A few of many possible examples include:
(1)Every major change in a firm’s strategy involves significant organizational change, yet we have very little theory about how to effectively manage such change;
(2)although we now know that many concepts and processes in strategy such as firm strategy, environmental “fit” involve highly complex interdependencies we have made little progress adapting complexity-based concepts to strategic theory;
(3)We have relatively little theory that applies to strategy questions in the public sector (including public policy); to non-market strategy, and to the broader social consequences of strategic decisions; and (4) fifty years after the publication of A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, and with a wealth of new psychological theories appearing in the interim, behavioral theories of strategy remain underdeveloped.

Additionally, citation evidence indicates that the most widely cited (and award-winning) articles in the Strategic Management Journal are disproportionately theory articles. This suggests a substantial need for such papers relative to their supply.

A historical strength of the Strategic Management field has been its intellectual openness to theories rooted in related disciplines. The field of Strategic Management addresses phenomena that typically do not fit neatly within single disciplinary theories, allowing opportunities for interdisciplinary theory development and additional advances in core theories emanating from within Strategic Management.

We seek theory papers that have the potential to significantly advance overall development
of the field of Strategic Management. These papers may present new theories; reconciliation, synthesis or extension of existing theories; or other important theoretical advances in existing areas, which include (but are not limited to) behavioral strategy,evolutionary theory, dynamic capabilities, upper echelons theory, the resource-based view, contracting theory, and theories of cooperation and competition at the firm, industry, and network levels.

We do not seek minor refinements. While highlighting the shortcomings of existing theories may be important for motivating or justifying the purpose and contribution of submitted papers, we are nevertheless interested in papers that make their own original and constructive contributions to theory, rather than in papers that merely critique existing literature.

We are open to papers that approach theory using conceptual models, formulation of hypotheses, computational models, and various kinds of mathematical models, or combinations of these.
While we encourage the use of illuminating examples and illustrations, submitted papers should not rely substantially on original empirical data.

Submissions are due by November 1, 2014 and must be submitted using the SMJ Submission

Authors should indicate that they would like submission to be considered for the special
issue on “New Theory in Strategic Management.” Authors of papers invited to be revised
and resubmitted will be expected to work within a tight timeframe to meet the special issue’s
publication deadline.