OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
Organizing the PDW program this year at OMT was not easy, because we received an unprecedented number of high quality submissions (which is good!) while facing new restrictions in our allocation of time to events (which is… less good). Trimming here and there, though, we managed to accept almost all submissions, reaffirming our will to make OMT “the place to be” for a broad and diverse range of scholarly communities.
Our offering combines long-standing, popular workshops discussing latest developments in established conversations in the OMT community…
… with new and stimulating forums to discuss emerging research areas and start new conversations:
Some exciting workshops will directly address the main conference theme…
… while others will reflect on the actors, structures, and interactions that shape our economic systems:
And do not forget our usual range of insightful and instructive methodological workshops (many of which, courtesy of other divisions; thank you, guys!), discussing opportunities and problems with both novel and established research tools and methods:
To serve our members at various career stages and in various professional paths, we have also strengthened our offerings of workshops and consortia to support students and early-career scholars…
… and reflect on our pedagogical skills:
Last year, we created a host of new events to allow OMTers to interact outside the traditional settings offered by the conference. These events will return, as part of the PDW program or our new off-program series, OMT Events (check them out on this blog!).
The inaugural OMT New and Returning Member Networking and Research Forum (Friday 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm) will continue to help all members feel “at home” in the OMT division. This forum will offer them the opportunity to meet leading scholars in the OMT division, meet other new members of the division, and discuss research with other scholars who share similar interests.
The OMT Cafés, our popular, topically themed discussion in local cafés, where folks can come together to meet others with similar interests in a casual self-hosted cafe setting, will return as an off-program series of events. We have now 14 provisional topics, ranging from “Institutional Logics and Meaning Making” to “Crowds, Time and Entrepreneurship”. Stay tuned with this blog with more information about who, what, when, and where. And if you are interested in hosting an OMT Café, drop me a line at
Finally, some major OMT events to put on your conference calendar:
Come join us at one or all, even if you are not yet a member of OMT - all are welcome (especially to the receptions)!
We look forward to welcoming you to OMT, the place to be, in Anaheim!
Davide Ravasi PDW Chair
P.S. Really hope recycling chunks of last year’s blog does not count as plagiarism…
I wanted to start off by thanking everyone who put in so much work to build out an excellent program for this year in Anaheim. We had over 1100 reviewers from 48 countries volunteer to review for OMT this year, and the bulk of you did your reviews on time. In fact, we did not need to utilize emergency reviewers at all this year! Thank you!
Come join us, and continue to make “OMT the Place to Be!”
Marc-David L. Seidel
2016 OMT Program Chair
2017 OMT Junior Faculty Consortium
August 4, 2017
(Application deadline: April 30, 2017)
The OMT Division is pleased to announce the 2017 OMT Junior Faculty Consortium. If you have started a faculty position in the last few years, this workshop is for you!
The workshop provides an intimate forum for interacting with senior colleagues and peers to enable you to prosper in your academic career. The workshop focuses on:
You will have a chance to interact with an exciting team of faculty mentors and diverse peers who provide developmental feedback on your research, benefit from interesting and relevant panels, participate in roundtable discussions and informal conversations and build potentially lifelong networks.
This year’s faculty mentors offer diverse scholarly and geographic perspectives. Many have been editors for leading journals and won research and teaching awards.
The workshop will be held on the Friday prior to the Academy of Management meetings in Atlanta. On Thursday, August 3rd, we start with an informal dinner/mixer at 6:30pm. On Friday, August 4th, the program runs from 8:00 am to 4:15 pm. Research and professional development roundtables and panels run until 2:30 pm. From 2:45-4:15 pm, the forum joins the OMT Teaching Roundtables to give you the opportunity to talk with exemplary scholars-teachers in small groups about courses and techniques for high impact teaching.
To facilitate close personal engagement, space for this workshop is limited and participation is by application only. We expect about 30 participants. If you hold a faculty position as an Assistant Professor or a comparable rank and your research focuses on OMT related topics, we encourage you to apply. We also invite deans, department chairs, former workshop alumni and other faculty to encourage their junior colleagues to apply.
To apply, please email Wendy Smith (
) and include the following information:
1) Your name, email address, telephone number, and institutional affiliation
2) Your curriculum vitae
3) An abstract or description of a working paper you wish to receive feedback on (5 pages maximum)
We encourage you to apply early to guarantee consideration. The deadline for applying is April 30th, 2017. Please note that there is a $125 registration fee for the workshop.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the organizers Wendy Smith (
) and Tal Simons (
We look forward to meeting you in August!
Wendy Smith and Tal Simons
Below is an interview of the OMT 2015 Distinguished Scholar Martha Feldman, conducted by 2015 Pondy winner Mabel Abraham.
MA = Mabel Abraham
MF = Martha Feldman
MA: You have had a very impressive set of projects, papers, and co-authors throughout your career. I am inspired. Your research on boundary work caught my eye in particular, especially since you have been a boundary spanner in your own career. Could you tell us how your research trajectory emerged?
MF: There’s nothing intentional. I could not have planned my career. I didn’t even know what the possibilities were. It’s really been going where I’m interested and just following what I’m interested in or what I’m passionate about and where the opportunities are. So it’s that combination.
MA: It seems that you have always studied organizations. What led you to focus on organizations as a political science student and a young assistant professor?
MF: I started out in political science; in fact, all my degrees are in political science. But when I went to Stanford, I was recruited by Jim March who was in the political science department. He was also in the ed school and the business school and a few other places. His interest had always been organizations. His degree is also in political science, so there was a kind of natural connection.
I’ve always been interested in how people get things done. When I was at University of Washington as an undergrad, I was involved in a project, and we ended up writing a book. It’s called Reconstructing Reality in the Courtroom. That’s where I started recognizing my interest in qualitative research and my interest in how people do things. That’s what we were looking at ? how are people making decisions about whether somebody is guilty or innocent.
Then I went to Stanford and worked with Jim March. Organization seemed like such an obvious connection for me. I was studying political theory and I was interested in how people do things. I like the combination of the practical and the theoretical.
MA: As I go through your CV, your research has talked about organizational routines, and specifically how routines emerge and evolve over time. How do you see these processes changing in response to technological shifts over the past two decades? How much of what you are seeing or observing in your earlier research do you think still holds today?
MF: It seems like technology is just another location for many of the same issues. There’s this pull between people who want to think the routine is something you can put down on paper, and that somehow magically people will do it, and it will be possible to do those steps that are on the piece of paper versus people who see routines as much more alive and having a lot more variation, a lot more unpredictability, a lot more agency involved in making the decisions. The work on electronic medical records is a good example.
Frankly, most of the electronic medical records have been made under the first model, but there’s an increasing number of people saying, “You know what? We need to think about the way people actually do the work.” To some extent, that’s led to research on things like workarounds. So yeah, the electronic medical records force you to do it this way, but people figure out other ways to get the work done.
One of my students was studying labor and delivery routines, and the hospital was instituting an electronic medical record. In order to get certain medicines, in fact anything like even vitamins, the nurses had to use a thumb print to open the machine that would then dispense the correct medication. This is just a little thing, but some people’s thumbs didn’t work. So they would figure out who had good thumbs and make sure that when they needed to go get the medication, they would basically borrow a thumb. That’s a little workaround, but it’s indicative of some of the things people have to do. This example is about how the machine produces variation, but of course when you’re talking about people in hospitals, and patients with all kinds of different presentations, there’s a lot of variation in what it is that the patient actually needs. A patient may not need things in the order that the electronic medical records assume the patient needs things. So I think it’s still the same theoretical issue. The computerization of the routine makes the issue manifest differently. But it’s still basically the same issue.
MA: So the computer makes things even more difficult to change?
MA: Interesting. It’s almost as if it these technologies introduce another layer to implementing change. Does that mean change becomes more difficult?
MF: Is it more difficult to do a workaround with a digitized routine than it is to work around your co-worker who is completely inflexible or your boss who is working in a bureaucratic mode? I’m not so sure that that’s harder. I think it’s just different. I’m not sure it’s harder or more complicated with a machine, I think it’s just different.
MA: It is just another type of rigidity, potentially.
MF: Yes, or another way of being flexible, figuring out ways around it. You may negotiate with a person or try to manipulate them if you’re trying to get the flexibility. If you’re doing it with a machine, it may be things like borrowing a thumb.
MA: That is really interesting. Overall, your research does an impressive job of linking theory and practice, which is often a difficult thing to achieve. How have you been able to make that work?
MF: Partly I make it work by revising and revising and revising. And getting things rejected, and I keep revising some more. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s never made any sense to me to do one without the other. It feels like that is my work, and that’s what I have to contribute. I guess that’s the story behind the revise and revise. I have a vague sense of what I’m trying to say, and people are not getting it. So I keep working on it and working on it, and I don’t think the impact of it or the contribution doesn’t really come through until I’ve finally gotten those two pieces to work together.
MA: That makes sense. In business schools, for example, we need to help students convert the theoretical take-aways from research into practical tools that they can apply in their careers. It’s definitely a challenge, but important.
M: It’s really hard. Monica Worline and I just wrote a piece that’s going to come out in the Academy of Management Learning and Education. The title of it is “The Practicality of Practice Theory.” We wanted basically to say, “Practice theory would be useful to teach to MBAs.” In fact, I don’t teach MBAs, but I do teach MPPs (Masters of Public Policy). The way I teach them practice theory is not to explicitly teach the theory, but to teach it implicitly, through the practice. So that’s what we were trying to do in writing this piece, and at the same time speak to the people who would be teaching it. So there’s a little bit more explicit theorizing as well as some discussion of, not really how to teach, but here are the intuitions of practice theory that are practical. I think that’s a really fun puzzle. I agree it’s hard, and yet I think it’s worth trying to do that because that’s how we can make a change in how MBAs go out and do their work.
MA: In addition to your impressive body of research, you have extensive experience serving on a number of different editorial boards. What advice do you have, particularly for young scholars, on navigating the review process from knowing when a paper is ready to be submitted to actually navigating the review process when responding to reviewers.
MF: I think it’s hard to know when to submit. One of my colleagues at Michigan had a standard that she called the “embarrassment threshold.” She said, “Submit it as soon as you’re not going to be embarrassed that you did.” That’s hard to know, but that’s about as good as I could do.
I do a lot of editing for Organization Science, and the thing I see that makes the biggest difference is people’s willingness to step back and rethink. And to take the reviewer’s input as, “Oh, this is the way they understood what I was saying. What did I say that made them think that?” As opposed to, “Well, the reviewers are wrong and I didn’t say that.” You take that first thought and try to figure out what you said that ended up with the reviewers thinking what they thought, and then step back and think about, “Is that really what you want to say? Are there other ways to say it? When you say it other ways, does that help you understand new things?”
Actually, one of the things that drives my co-authors crazy, but has always worked for me, is a phrase I use: “Everything is always up for grabs.” Even at the very end of revising something, and it’s been provisionally accepted, and we’re just tweaking it a little bit, sometimes I’ll change things around dramatically because I can suddenly see it differently. I think when you can let the process work on the way you’re thinking, and be a learning process, then you get ? well, for one thing it becomes a lot more fun. Of course that’s easier to do when you’re not under tenure pressure or something like that.
MA: You have hit on a really important point – tenure pressure. To what extent do you see this advice on navigating the review process as applying to pre-tenure faculty who are under that time constraint?
MF: I think it always applies because I think it’s much harder to get something published if you have any other attitude. The reviewers are there, so you might as well use them. They’re either going to work with you or work against you, so you might as well engage them and make it so that whatever input they’re giving you is helpful. Now, I’ve certainly had reviewers where I didn’t feel that way! I felt like I had to figure out a way to get around them. So it’s not 100%.
But I do know that I put off a lot of major retooling until after I had tenure. So I do think you make choices pre-tenure about, “How far am I going to go in changing the way I think about this? How much learning am I actually going to do?” If you’ve got a reasonably good toolkit, then it’s better to stick with that than to get a new toolkit pre-tenure. I’m all in favor of getting new toolkits. I think that’s part of the fun of our jobs is you get to do that! But I wouldn’t mess with it before tenure unless you absolutely have to, or unless you’re really quick at doing that.
MA: That’s really sound advice. I can certainly imagine how using the review process to your advantage is just a smart strategy. More generally, any other advice you can offer to scholars in our field?
MF: The other piece of advice that comes out of this conversation is to know what kind of scholar you are and know your strengths and weaknesses. None of us does it all. I’m a really slow reader, so I need to make the most of what I do read. But I’m a good field worker, so I make more out of that. I think getting past the illusion that we all have to do everything perfectly makes it easier to get on with the job, and finding help from co-authors or reviewers or whatever it is that is going to help you shore up what you’re not so good at.
I’ve come to the conclusion that you just need to do what works for you, and figure out where your passion is. Where the energy is and where the excitement is for you, and go with that, and not wish that you were some other kind of researcher.
MA: I love that an underlying theme to your responses relates to being true to yourself and following your passion.
MF: I think it comes through in the work. If you’re bored with it and you’re just doing it to get another publication, I think the reader can feel that. The other issue is that there needs to be something that’s feeding you. You cannot always be doing things for other people or because you think you’re supposed to.
MA: You mentioned working with co-authors as a way to offset weaknesses. What do you see as the greatest benefits or costs associated with co-authorships?
MF: I tend to co-author because I feel like there’s more energy and more excitement. When your energy is flagging, somebody else can carry it for a while. I often get energy by seeing how somebody has written something and saying, “Oh yeah, I agree with that, but I don’t agree with that.” Or, “Oh yeah, that really helps me figure out how to add to this.” Whereas if I’m doing that with myself, you have to write it and then wait for three or four months and then read it again. Then you can agree or disagree with yourself, maybe. But you’ve probably noticed that I have often co-authored several articles with one person. Then it feels like we have a very productive set of conversations. I think of them as conversations, and then at some point we’re done, we’ve played out the conversation. You’re still maybe really close to the person, and enjoy talking with them, but you don’t necessarily have another idea that you’re both ready to play out together. Recognizing when you’ve come to that point I think is also really important.
MA: That is really interesting. Do you have any tips on how to maintain or sustain this level of energy when you’re working on sole-authored projects?
MF: For me, the sole-authored pieces that I feel I have the most energy around are empirical pieces. I tend to work from the middle, in an article that would be the findings. Work from that empirical piece and then layer the theoretical stuff around it. Again, this goes back to the earlier conversation. It’s that practice orientation and then what are the theoretical implications of that. That’s what really keeps me excited. To some extent I do the same thing with a solo-authored piece that I do with a co-authored piece. I just have to work harder at engaging other people. I may have to submit it somewhere and get reviews from the reviewers and then I can engage with that conversation.
MA: Right, creating the community. That relates to your point on the review process ? to think of the reviewers as contributors to the development of the work, as opposed to a barrier. I think that is a really nice orientation and way to think about that process.
MF: Yes. I’d say it’s engagement with the empirical work and then the engagement with other people.
MA: I would like to shift gears a bit. Before starting the interview you mentioned that you are a mother. Do you have any advice for parents trying to balance the demands of our profession with those of family life?
MF: My work changed a lot when I had a kid. I had been more oriented to writing books. As an ethnographer, that’s kind of (at least it used to be) the standard, that you would write books instead of articles. I realized I wasn’t going to have the time and the space to keep a book in mind. So I started being more oriented to articles.
The other thing that changed for me was when my son was born, I realized that if I was going to continue working—and that wasn’t really an option, I wanted the work to matter—that it wasn’t going to make sense for me to spend time away from him if the work didn’t matter. So I became much more engaged with the work at a deeper level. It was ironic because I needed that in order to justify the time I was spending away from him.
You really start valuing your time. It’s not infinite! It’s very, very finite. So yeah, I think there is an aspect of just valuing yourself and your time a little bit more.
MA: Given this interview will be shared with members of the Academy, I would like to end with hearing your strategies for making the most of attending the annual meetings.
MF: I really enjoy AOM. I find it completely overwhelming, as I think many people do. For me (and again, this is me), I find it most useful to focus on a few events and networking with a group of people that I want to connect with. I often do work with a co-author while I’m there or somebody I don’t get to see very often. For younger people, I think it’s good to meet as many people as you can. Where else are you going to be able to meet that many people? I used to do more of that. Now I feel like I know a lot of people and that’s a little overwhelming for me. So I tend not to go to big parties or things like that. Or, I’ll do just a few of those.
Part of learning what people are doing is the networking. You’re going to have a meaningful interaction with somebody. It’s not just going to be shaking hands, it’s going to be, “What are you working on? What am I working on?” At least have a five-minute conversation where you get a sense of who that person is. It’s building that map of who is doing what, who is out there, who has questions similar to yours, who is fun to talk to, and all of those things. I think AOM is wonderful for that.
Where are you going to find the people who you are most interested in meeting and getting to know more about? What part of your map do you want to build? That’s one of the ways to think about: which PDWs am I going to go to? Which symposia am I going to go to? Which parties am I going to go to? The parties are more than just people, but building that map of who is doing what and what are they thinking about it. I started going to AOM when my son was quite young. I’d been a few times before but I was definitely in that mode of, “I’m going to be away from home for a few days and I’m going to make the most of it.”
MA: I’ll ask you one concluding question. If you were able to have some jurisdiction over the location of the next AOM, what would be your request?
MF: (laughing) I don’t know. I liked Vancouver a lot. Someplace where it’s not really hot. But the next one is going to be Anaheim, so that’s close to home and that’s always nice too.
MA: The West Coast crowd is finally getting their turn at having shorter travel for the conferences.
MF: Right! In some ways I don’t think it matters where they are, as long as it’s well organized. Could be on the North Pole and you’re kind of out of space. Maybe have a nice dinner or two while I’m there. Different restaurants or something, but other than that, it’s really just to be in that space with those people and taking advantage of having all those people in one place. All those people that you want to talk with.
2017 OMT Doctoral Student Consortium
Academy of Management Annual Meeting Atlanta, Georgia August 4, 2017
Call for Applications
Deadline: April 30, 2017
We are pleased to announce that the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division will once again hold a Doctoral Student Consortium as part of the pre-conference activities at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting. Designed just for OMT members, the goal of this consortium is to help doctoral students who are broadly interested in organizations and management as they enter the final phase of their doctoral programs and prepare for the job market and future careers. We aim to help you make the most of your doctoral program, advance your research, consider how best to publish your research, find a job in the academic or professional world, manage your early career and, perhaps most importantly, establish professional networks with colleagues who share similar research interests.
The consortium includes panel presentations, discussion sessions, and workshops aimed at these goals. It has been designed to allow for high levels of interaction between faculty and students. We have a group of distinguished faculty participants from different career stages and countries, these including:
In order to maintain a high faculty/student ratio, space for this consortium is strictly limited, and interested students must be nominated by their schools and must be OMT members (either already or by joining now). Due to space constraints, doctoral programs should nominate one applicant. Universities with multiple departments seeking to send students are advised to coordinate their nominations. Preference will be given to those students who have progressed to the dissertation stage and are either on the job market or considering being on the job market in the coming year. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2017.
Applications should be e-mailed by the department representative who nominates the student to the two consortium organizers listed below. It should include the following in the body of the e-mail:
Please attach three supporting items to the e-mail:
Students selected to attend the Consortium will be informed personally.
Please note that the Doctoral Consortium begins with an opening reception dinner on the prior evening of Thursday August 3, and ends on the afternoon of Friday August 4, 2017.
We look forward to seeing you at the AOM in Atlanta!
Journal of Management Studies Special Issue: Managing in the Age of DisruptionsGuest Editors: Shahzad (Shaz) Ansari, University of Cambridge, UKRaghu Garud, Pennsylvania State University, USAArun Kumaraswamy, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA.Submission Deadline:15th December 2016
It is hard to deny that we are living in an age of disruption, defined vernacularly as fundamental changes that disturb or re-order the ways in which organizations and ecosystems operate. Researchers studying technological innovation in the 1980s focused on (among other issues) transilience (Abernathy and Clark, 1985), which culminated in the emergence of dominant designs (Tushman and Anderson, 1986; Utterback and Abernathy, 1975). The 1990s saw the advent of disruptive technologies, a concept that Christensen (1997) introduced to talk about how incumbents are disrupted and then lose ground against new entrants. The 21st century has seen the advent of continual disruption, as incessant technological advances and changes lead to disruption of not just individual firms but entire industries and ecosystems through a process of cumulative synthesis (Usher, 1954). Disruption is not a one shot deal or “a carefully planned forward march”, but rather a process (Christensen, 2006; Christensen and Raynor 2003), posing dilemmas for both incumbents and new entrants (Ansari, Garud and Kumaraswamy, 2015). Incumbents may want to ride the wave of creative destruction, and yet are reluctant to relinquish the basis for their existing competitive advantage (e.g., Christensen, 2006; Kapoor and Klueter, 2014). New entrants also confront the dilemma of gaining support of the very incumbent firms that stand to be “disrupted” by entrants’ innovations (Ansari et al., 2015; Faems et al., 2012).An exploration of these issues implicates theoretical perspectives and topics from various disciplines such as (a) ecosystems and platform dynamics from technology studies; (b) transformation of business models and pivoting from entrepreneurship; (c) co-opetitive dynamics and dynamic capabilities from economics and strategic management; (d) framing strategies from institutional theory; and (e) ambidextrous organizations for simultaneous exploration and exploitation from management of technology/innovation. As even this short indicative list demonstrates, studying this phenomenon is a multi-disciplinary endeavour spanning multiple levels of analysis (intra-firm, inter-firm, industries/ecosystems/organizational fields, and institutional).Recent debates on what constitutes disruptive innovation and the methods appropriate for its study (e.g., Christensen, 2006; Christensen, Raynor and McDonald, 2015; King and Baatartogtokh, 2015; Lepore, 2014; Markides, 2006) demonstrate a need for cumulative theorizing that can better inform academia and practice. Consequently, a key objective of this Special Issue is to take stock of extant research and emerging practice on this topic. We encourage submission of papers (both conceptual/theory development and empirical) from multiple disciplines that seek to answer questions such as:
Answers to these questions will enable scholars to build robust and potentially novel theories to gain an understanding of how firms manage in this age of disruptions. They also will provide practical implications for managers who have to deal with disruptions on an ongoing basis to ensure the survival and success of their firms. Given the multi-disciplinary and multi-level nature of the Special Issue topic, we encourage empirical studies using a variety of methods (qualitative and quantitative). Authors, however, are advised to refer to the JMS Author Guidelines (see: http://www.socadms.org.uk/journal-management-studies/submission-guidelines/types-of-jms-articles/ ) to ascertain the specific types of articles that JMS seeks to publish.
Abernathy, W. J. and Clark, K. B. (1985). ‘Innovation: Mapping the winds of creative destruction’.Research policy, 14, 3-22.Ansari, S. A., Garud, R. and Kumaraswamy, A. (2015). ‘The Disruptor’s Dilemma: TiVo and the U.S. Television Ecosystem’. Strategic Management Journal. (doi/10.1002/smj.2442/abstract)Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Christensen, C. (2006). ‘The ongoing process of building a theory of disruption’. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23, 39–55.Christensen, C., Raynor, M. and McDonald, R. (2015). ‘What is disruptive innovation?’. Harvard Business Review, December, 44-53.Faems, D., Janssens, M., Van Looy, B. and Vlaar, P. (2012). ‘Value creation in asymmetric new venture development alliances’. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 29, 508-27.Kapoor, R. and Klueter, T. (2015). ‘Decoding the adaptability-rigidity puzzle: Evidence from pharmaceutical incumbents’ pursuit of gene therapy and monoclonal antibodies’. Academy of Management Journal, 58, 1180-207.King, A. and Baatartogtokh, B. (2015). ‘How useful is the theory of disruptive innovation’. MIT Sloan Management Review, 57, 77-90.Lepore, J. (2014). ‘The disruption machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong’. The New Yorker, May 23.Markides, C. (2006). ‘Disruptive innovation: In need of better theory’. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 23, 19-25.Tushman, M. L. and Anderson, P. (1986). ‘Technological discontinuities and organizational environments’. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, 439-465.Usher, A. P. (1954). A History of Mechanical Inventions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Utterback, J. and Abernathy, W. (1975). ‘A dynamic model of process and product innovation’.Omega, 33, 639-56.
First awarded in 2014, the Best Student Paper recognizes an outstanding student paper that is not related to a dissertation. The 2015 winner was Tristan L. Botelho (MIT Sloan) with his paper “Here’s an Idea: Knowledge Sharing among Competitors to Build a Critical Mass”.
Congratulations on winning the OMT Best Student Paper Award! Can you briefly elaborate on what the paper is about?
Thank you, Georg! I would like to begin by thanking the OMT community for recognizing my research; it is truly an honor.
Recently, there have been several prominent examples of employees and firms engaging in knowledge sharing with their competitors. Often times, this knowledge and information being shared is difficult and costly to collect. What makes this behavior puzzling is that it occurs even in the absence of conditions that previous strategy and management research had identified as helping facilitate such exchange. In this paper, I propose, and find evidence for, an uncertainty-based mechanism. Specifically, I posit that as uncertainty within a market increases, building a critical mass of others (e.g., adopters, investors) around a given idea becomes increasingly difficult (i.e., there is a lot of noise). Thus, knowledge sharing serves as an avenue to help reduce this uncertainty. What is really interesting is that while competitors are rivals, they also control key resources and the know-how to recognize a high quality idea, especially relative to an outsider. Therefore, sharing relevant information with competitors helps bring them (and their resources) on board, thereby increasing the likelihood of building the necessary critical mass.
I test this theory by looking at knowledge sharing among investment professionals on an online platform. In my setting, these competitors share their portfolio strategy through buy and sell recommendations of individual stocks. I leverage a unique feature within my setting to provide evidence for my theory. In this context, investment professionals are effectively given an option when they decide to share an investment recommendation: (a) they can include a detailed write-up (of at least 600 words) justifying this position, which I call knowledge sharing, or (b) they can include a limited justification (of less than 40 words). Consistent with my theory, I find that knowledge sharing increases as measures of market uncertainty increase.
How did you come up with your main idea of the paper?
The main idea for the paper came to me before I even entered the PhD program at MIT Sloan, while I was working in the finance industry. Many of my colleagues were using similar platforms to the one I study to discuss their investment strategies. I immediately thought that these platforms were innovative and useful, however, their existence seemed paradoxical given what I knew (or thought) about competition. Once I started at Sloan, I started reaching out to firms that had the type of data needed to better understand this puzzle.
Would you like to share any empirical and theoretical challenges you faced during the research and writing process? How did you overcome them?
Similar to every paper I have worked on thus far, there have been several challenges on both fronts. For this paper in particular, the largest challenges stemmed from the use of a financial market context. While I was quite familiar with the investment industry from a practical perspective, I had never conducted any research using these type of data. Therefore, it was important to me to develop a deep understanding of how finance scholars would treat these data. I did this through reading the relevant literature, talking with those in the field, as well as taking/sitting in on a course in financial theory and a course in financial econometrics. Even though the paper is framed using theories relevant to management, sociology, and economics scholars more broadly, I found it imperative to understand my question from a finance perspective as best as I could.
The empirical context of your study is investment management. What would you tell analysts and portfolio managers if you were asked about the main implications of this paper?
Share! In many competitive knowledge-based industries this is seemingly counterintuitive advice. Individuals in these industries often feel that the value they offer is a function of the novel ideas/thoughts they bring to the table. However, by sharing, you bring others, and their resources, on board. This is important because being “right” is not always the winning strategy. For example, in the financial markets there are prominent examples of investors being “right” about a given buy or sell decision, but, due to constraints (e.g., time, capital), a critical mass is not created in time for them to benefit from this position. Therefore, while there is great reward to being first, there may be further benefits that can derived by sharing.
Additionally, for those not in the investment management industry I believe this research has important implications. For example, entrepreneurs are commonly tight lipped about their ideas, and though there are benefits to this approach (e.g., when dealing with patentable technology) there are many cases where sharing can be beneficial. Further, it is not a given that the “right” idea will be the market leader. By engaging in knowledge sharing, entrepreneurs may be able to incorporate market sentiment much earlier, which would minimize unnecessary expenses or costly strategic pivoting.
Of course, knowledge sharing is not a panacea for uncertainty or success, however, it should be more seriously considered as a strategic choice, not only within a firm but between firms.
Again, congratulations! Are there any thoughts about the paper and its development that you would like to share with the OMT community?
I would like to thank all of those who have offered feedback and thoughts on this paper. While this project only has my name on it, it would not have been possible without the feedback of others. I would especially like to thank the firm that has allowed me to use their data for my scientific inquiry, in this project as well as my other projects, and my colleagues at MIT Sloan for their feedback along the way, especially Roberto Fernandez, Ray Reagans, and Ezra Zuckerman.
Lastly, as I said above, I believe this paper has important implications for many settings, such as entrepreneurship and the development of new technologies. I hope others are interested in my findings and take up a related line of questioning to better understand the conditions under which knowledge sharing is more likely to occur and its effect on key outcomes.
Each year, the OMT Division acknowledges the efforts of the best reviewers by presenting the ABCD (Above and Beyond Call of Duty) Awards. Of the several hundred volunteer reviewers who provide their services to the division, these are the individuals who were deemed worthy of special recognition for the helpfulness, civility, extensiveness and insight of their reviews. To help you in reviewing for OMT, we have sought advice from the 2015 ABCD Award winners. In particular, ABCD Award winners share their thoughts on reviewing for AOM.
Congratulations with your decision to review for AOM! I think this is a great way of joining the AOM community and the best to benefit from your membership. Of course, there is no one best approach for first-time AOM reviewers. Here are three things I would not do again, if I had the wonderful opportunity you have now. One, today I would not create long lists pointing out everything I thought was wrong or worth commenting on. This takes a lot of time and effort on your side and it asks for too much resilience from the author. Two, I would avoid writing the review in chronological order. Doing so forces the reader to find what really matters. Three, I would not only criticize. Sure, cultures differ and you may want to help writers to become perfect. However, a highly critical review that deconstructs a paper completely will not help an author to (re)build something better. Constructive reviews can do this. A review that is balanced accomplishes more than one that looks like bashing. Here is the one thing that I try to write: friendly reviews (Patrick Reinmoeller, Cranfield University)
First, I would recommend AOM reviewers to read the excellent papers that talk about reviewing and that are available on the AOM website at: http://aom.org/annualmeeting/reviewerresources/. Something that I took away from Romanelli’s paper in particular and that I try to do whenever I write a review is to remind myself to focus on the rough diamond in the paper: what is the nugget of insight that deserves to be presented at the conference? While it’s important to identify the issues or problems in a paper, it’s equally important to identify the main contribution(s) and to tell the author(s) how to develop them and enhance the potential impact of their paper. Another thing I try to do is to sleep at least one night on the review before submitting it. I usually read the paper once, making notes throughout; then I go back to the paper and write my review. I reread my review a day later and adjust it if needed before sending it off. I have found that having a second look at my review a day later helped me ensure that it was as helpful and constructive as it should be (Jean-Baptiste Litrico, Queen’s Univeristy).
I would think that reviewing for the Annual Meeting should consider the potential discussion that a submission can stimulate. In this sense, I would hope that you allow novel and provocative thoughts to compensate for some rigor in analysis. There are papers which are clearly very far away from being publishable, but the exciting data or eye-opening thought they present deserves a forum for discussion. Dare to recommend that authors use the Annual Meeting to ask their audience questions and to discuss phenomena that are surprising but are lacking an explanation. Help to ensure that the AOM Annual Meeting remains what it should be: A forum of academic debate for the latest research and the most interesting ideas (Dirk C. Moosmayer, Nottingham Univesity Business School China).
One thing I always remind myself when reviewing for the Academy (or other conferences) is that the papers are typically at (much) earlier stage of development. At such stage, authors need feedback on issues like what is most interesting/exciting about their paper, what potential contributions they can conceivably make, clarity of exposition, importance of research question, etc. Being “developmental” as a reviewer is much appreciated by authors, so I try to provide suggestions on strengthening the paper, rather than criticizing its weaknesses (Antoaneta Petkova, San Francisco State University).
First, treat review seriously. It starts with the selection of theoretical and methodological keywords in the registration. It helps to assign the best suited papers to you, which match your interest and expertise. This is particularly important because you will have an intellectual conversation with your colleagues using the same language in the same framework. That will maximize your contribution and the gains of authors. Second, be constructive. Although it seems that this point does not need any particular mention, it is often forgot. Reviewing consists of not only critiques, but more importantly feedbacks and suggestion that help authors to improve their papers in their own theoretical framework (if possible). Last, but not least, be respectful. Conference papers are different from journal submissions in terms of purpose and maturity. In addition, AOM is a melting pot with papers from all over the worlds. When encountering papers of different origins and degrees of maturity, it is reviewers’ job and responsibility to respect them and be polite and dutiful (Tao Wang, Grenoble School of Management).
When writing AOM reviews, it’s important to consider that they benefit three groups: the authors, the track chairs, and the reviewer. You should evaluate if you are addressing each person at each step of the review. First, rather than consider the authors first, I recommend considering yourself first. AOM reviews are an opportunity for you to take a fresh look at someone’s work. This is a time to reflect on the paper based on what you know, but also a great time to look at the field more generally and see how reviewing the paper can be an opportunity to for you to expand what you know. Read the citations you aren’t familiar with. Do your own brief literature review. This helps you and it helps the authors as you are able to provide a more thorough review. Second, you should focus on the authors. Write the review you wish you would get. Focus on your strengths in the review. If you are strong at methods, give a great methodological review. If you’re strong at theory, focus there. The authors are going to get several reviews back and they’ll benefit from a few focused reviews rather than a few broad reviews. Be sure to include citations you think are missing. Finally, your review should assist the track chairs in developing the program. A good review is a great start, but don’t forget that it’s important to write a quick summary in the comments to the track chair. They have a lot of work to do to select papers to include in the program and that is a very efficient way for them to know your undiluted opinion (Tim Hubbard, University of Georgia).
Each year, the OMT Division acknowledges the efforts of the best reviewers by presenting the ABCD (Above and Beyond Call of Duty) Awards. Of the several hundred volunteer reviewers who provide their services to the division, these are the individuals who were deemed worthy of special recognition for the helpfulness, civility, extensiveness and insight of their reviews. To help you in reviewing for OMT, we have sought advice from the 2015 ABCD Award winners. In particular, ABCD Award winners share their thoughts on the nuts and bolts of crafting good reviews.
Take reviewing seriously. It is an anonymous process, but you are actually building a reputation among the representatives of the division and good reviewing will also be noticed by journal editors. First, don’t be shy about naming a large number of concerns, but very clearly prioritize these issues: Name those two or three areas that require most improvement because they leave the paper’s conceptual contribution unclear, limit the validity of the findings, or make the paper inaccessible to potential readers. Second, think and write like a co-author. Write the review like an email to a co-author who sent you a first paper draft and whom you will call later on: (a) Thanks for sending this over; (b) I feel we have a real challenge with areas x and y, and we need to work on them, (c) I think area x can be solved by doing q; y is tricky and I think p and o could be ways to address this, but I am not sure yet. You are not a co-author (at least most AOM members erroneously believe you are not), but the approach above ensures (a) you have a constructive tone, (b) you fulfill the vetting task that reviewers also have, and (c) your review is developmental (Dirk C. Moosmayer, Nottingham University Business School China).
When I review, I imagine myself talking directly to the author(s) in my office and what I would tell them about how to improve the paper. You’re often reviewing for your friends, even if you do not know it at the moment. This technique not only sets a very positive tone for the review, but also gives you a perspective on how difficult it is to make the changes you so desire in the paper (David Maslach, Florida State University).
First, Build the paper up, rather than just tear it down. Let’s face it, we all work very hard on our research throughout the year. Getting a reviewer who picks apart every single aspect they don’t like – without acknowledging any of its redeeming qualities – can be frustrating and demoralizing. What I appreciate most about AOM is that it gives us all an opportunity to present work-in-progress, often before we submit to a journal. So when I review papers for AOM, I’m particularly sensitive to highlight elements of the paper I like and hope the author will continue to pursue. While reading the paper, I jot down several positive and then try to incorporate as many of them into my review. Of course, I also highlight areas where I think the paper could be stronger, but always with the mindset of trying to offer up possible solutions. Second, don’t write too much, but don’t write too little. We’ve all been there. We open up a set of AOM reviews and see one that goes on-and-on for pages… then we scroll down to the next and find the reviewer only wrote one or two pithy comments. Try not to create a laundry list of every single issue you have with the paper. I typically read the paper and write notes in the margin (e.g., what I like, what confuses me, how a construct or method might be strengthened). Before writing my review, I then try to group these comments into 4-5 main categories. I always appreciate reviewers who take the time to highlight a few critical areas for focus, with a few sub-points to help clarify their point. Last but not least, remember that the review is not about me or my research agenda. One of the things I appreciate most about reviewing for AOM is that I get to read papers that often extend a bit outside my typical areas of research. However, I have to be careful not to apply the theories I care most about to these papers. There is nothing worse than getting feedback from a reviewer who wants you to write their paper, rather than helping you develop yours. I consistently have to remind myself to avoid this trap. (Ryan Raffaelli, Harvard University)
First, I would suggest setting aside time for reviewing work. I try to treat reviewing time as “Money in the Bank” that not only helps other scholars see their work through a new set of (hopefully helpful) eyes, but plays a huge role for me in reflecting upon my own research. Specifically in my own work, do I practice what I preach? Am I holding myself to the standards that I propose? Second, I would encourage reviewers to be kind. Reviewing for AOM often comes in the middle of teaching, research, and service. I would just put out the notion that patience and the “softening of critical language” can be as valuable for AOM’s submitters as the actual input that you provide (Wesley Helms, Brock University).
I normally approach as reading a good story. Besides great concepts, data, and contributions, it is extremely important that the story makes sense, that the pieces fit, and there is a clear sequence between what is been promised, how the person says he/she will accomplish and the final results. In my experience, differently from journals, AOM meeting papers tend to have more richness in data, really interesting data, but a lack of focus in how to exploit these treasures. A good reviewer should help make sense of the stories they are trying to tell, how to best frame their work and what potential and important contributions they are not necessarily exploring (Marcos Barros, Grenoble School of Management).
There is one thing that makes reviewing naturally easy for me, something I also addressed in my research using the term “provisional role switching”. The essence of this idea is that a task can be best completed not by drawing on one’s knowledge and expertise to assess an external object but by putting oneself –at least for a short period of time- into the other’s shoes in order to understand how he or she might benefit from it. While the first method makes the object (in this case, the work under review) “assessable” by aligning it with familiar frames and institutionalized standards, it also denies its right to speak for its own. Thus trying to put oneself into an author’s shoes while reviewing his/her work means becoming part of a conversation that goes beyond the textual level. It entails making hypothesis about the author’s intentions, trying to understand why they made the choices they did, and especially, where they are heading to, with what purposes, and with what means at hand. Above all, it implies putting yourself to the service of their journey in any way you can, by asking a challenging question (and some foolish ones, as well), by suggesting new paths, or by helping them orient differently on a map that neither of us knows perfectly but that we can all help (re)build (Paula Ungureanu, University of Modena).
In terms of content, my best advice is to be developmental. Every time I approach a manuscript, I ask myself what type of review would be the most helpful to me if I was the author. Two points are the most important in my opinion: first, try not to over impose the reviewer’s view on the paper (instead support the authors to develop the best argument given their genuine research interests); secondly, ensure that you provide a rational and carefully executed analysis of the manuscript. I have found it useful to invest time and energy to develop my ‘own’ review protocol that addresses the fundamental quality criteria for manuscripts; I then apply systematically this protocol to multiple reviews. On the process side, manage your time wisely. You will be frequently asked to review multiple submissions within the same period of time, and it is important to demonstrate an equal level of commitment to each review. Delivering a wonderful review of one manuscript at the expense of two other submissions is not a service to the community! Furthermore, take the time to ‘digest’ your writing. I always find it useful to finalize reviews in multiple—at least two—waves: a first wave in which I read the study and annotate the manuscript with my major comments, and a second wave in which I structure carefully the arguments and finalize the comments (Giulia Cappellaro, Bocconi University).
Each year, the OMT Division acknowledges the efforts of the best reviewers by presenting the ABCD (Above and Beyond Call of Duty) Awards. Of the several hundred volunteer reviewers who provide their services to the division, these are the individuals who were deemed worthy of special recognition for the helpfulness, civility, extensiveness and insight of their reviews. To help you in reviewing for OMT, we have sought advice from the 2015 ABCD Award winners. In particular, ABCD Award winners share their thoughts on how reviewing for AOM, and OMT in particular, has helped them.
You can stay current and be part of the academic conversation!
It's a great opportunity to learn and become better at your own research!
I hope you have all had a terrific fall and are well on your way with your preparations for the upcoming holiday season. I would like to begin by thanking the entire OMT community for all of your enthusiastic help and support over the last year. The willingness of OMT members to volunteer their time as reviewers, session chairs, discussants, and volunteers of all kinds is the key to our success as a division and I want to thank each and every one of you for all your efforts. In addition, I want to celebrate your collegiality and friendliness. After more than twenty years as an OMT member, I continue to be amazed and energized by the level of camaraderie, intellectual energy, and just plain fun that I witness at every AoM meeting. You all continue to prove that OMT is the place to be!!!
The second really important thing I would like to do is say a huge thank you to Candy Jones for her hard work as Division Chair this past year, as well as for her many contributions over the past five years as a member of the Executive Committee. Candy has been a source of energy, innovation and good council that has kept the Executive Committee highly engaged and working smoothly. In Candy’s Division Chair report at the AOM business meeting, she highlighted three areas of continued health of the OMT Division that I would like to repeat here: (1) our continued growth as a division indicated both by the continued growth in members (now 4,097) and the doubling of submissions from 300 to over 600 in the last decade; (2) the high standard that members of our division set for scholarship as indicated by the number of awards they have won including the last three years (yes, the last three consecutive years!) of the Terry Book Award, 65% of the AoM Career Scholar Awards, 54% of the ASQ Five Year Awards, and so on; and (3) the success of our students who go on to jobs in a number of areas beyond OT including strategy, entrepreneurship and OB.
As part of her Division Chair Report, Candy presented the results of the Five Year Review. The Five Year Review is an audit of members conducted by the Academy to ensure that members are being well served by their divisions. The results of the review of OMT showed that members were, by and large, happy with the Division. Members clearly indicated that they most valued high quality scholarship followed at some distance by the possibility to make social connections. This fits well with the direction and emphasis of the division and we are going to keep on track with providing a range of opportunities for sharing excellent scholarship and developing as scholars, as well as ensure plenty of opportunities exist for networking with like-minded scholars.
The main concerns that the membership expressed lie in the growing size and stratification of the Division. This is a challenge, but we are doing a number of things to respond to this. In order to respond to the concerns about size, we have created a communication committee and a communication chair charged with the responsibility to leverage social media and streamline communications between the Executive Committee and members as well as facilitating communication among members (you can read the Communication Chair’s report here). In addition, we continue to sponsor a number of small paper development workshops in international locations (including China, Poland, and Scotland this year) in order to provide international members with a more accessible context in which to meet with senior scholars and receive feedback on their papers. We have also created a Global Representative at Large whose responsibility includes engages with international members and encouraging their participation in Division activities. We hope that this combination of initiatives will keep OMT feeling like a real community despite the ever increasing size and geographic scope of the division.
Looking back to Vancouver, the conference was a tremendous success. Vancouver was a wonderful host city and conference venue situated on the Vancouver waterfront was truly breathtaking. For a more complete recap of the Academy Meetings in Vancouver, check out Anne Langley’s Program Chair Report, Marc-David Seidel’s PDW Report, Mark Ebers and Patricia Thornton’s Doctoral Consortium Report, Brayden King and Anne-Claire Pache’s Junior Faculty Report, Chris Quinn Trank and Bill Foster’s Teaching Roundtable Report, and Candy Jones’ Dissertation Proposal Workshop Report. If after all that you still want more, have a look at the OMT Business Meeting presentation.
True to form, Marc-David came up with a fun and original (as well as digital!) OMT artifact—the OMT photo booth. The idea of a photo booth combined with a range of props was absolutely inspired (our new PDW Chair Davide Ravasi looked particularly fetching in the pink sequined cowboy hat!). This new virtual artefact proved to be extremely popular and also made for some very special memories that continue to be a source of amusement and will undoubtedly reappear in future OMT Business Meeting slide decks. Marc-David is now the OMT Program Chair for Anaheim. Please help him by signing up to review for OMT and by submitting your very best papers and symposia by January 12, 2016.
The vibrancy of OMT is also reflected in the continuing growth of paper, symposia and PDW submissions for our annual Academy Meetings. Thanks to Anne Langley for skillfully managing the ever growing program. Mark-David Seidel organized a very successful PDW program that attracted large audiences and offered developmental opportunities across a range of theories, topics and methods. He also introduced a number of extremely successful new initiatives including OMT Café and OMT Bike Rides which added a wonderful opportunity for more personal interaction to the PDW program. We welcome aboard David Ravasi to the executive leadership team. You will have heard from him already as he has been hard at work eliciting your ideas and participation to create an exciting PDW program next year in Anaheim.
OMT really shines when it comes to the success of our scholarship. Please read Jo-Ellen Posner’s Research Report that summarizes our many achievements. Our 2015 Distinguished Educator award went to Henry Mintzberg for his extensive writings that have deeply informed teaching in OT and strategy as well as his work challenging taken for granted ideas about management education and the MBA. The Best Published Paper award this year went to Joep P. Cornelissen, Saku Mantere and Eero Vaara and you can read an interview with them about the paper here. In addition, you can read an interview with Valentina Assenova and Olav Sorenson, winners of the Best International Paper award, here.
We also want to thank our many sponsors. Given the escalation of meeting costs, the OMT executive team has aggressively sought out sponsorship over the past few years. This year we were grateful for the support of the Boston College and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Cass Business School, Desautels Faculty of Management-McGill University, Emerald Publishing, HEC Montreal, INSEAD, Kellogg School of Management-Northwestern, MIT-Sloan, Organization Studies, Radboud University-Nijmegan, Said Business School-University of Oxford, and the Sauder School of Business-UBC.
In closing, I want to extend a huge thanks to Joe Broshak, Joel Gehman, Forrest Brisco, Chris Marquis, and Michael Lounsbury for their service to the Division. As we move toward 2016, keep an eye out for the formal call for applications for OMT workshops and consortia. If you have questions, Mark Ebers, Pat Thornton, and new rep-at-large Nina Gandqvist will be organizing the Doctoral Consortium; Brayden King, Anne-Claire Pache and new rep-at-large Wendy Smith will be organizing the Junior Faculty Consortium; and I will be organizing the Dissertation Proposal Workshop. Stay tuned for details.
That is it for now. Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime with questions, comments, or ideas. I am your Division Chair and would love to hear from as many of you as possible. My e-mail is
. Drop me a line anytime.
Oh, and see you all in Anaheim!
OMT Distinguished Scholar Breakfast
OMT Doctoral Consortium
Junior Faculty Consortium
OMT Program Development
OMT Winter Executive Meeting
Best OMT Entrepreneurship Paper
Meet OMT @ EGOS
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