Organization Theory (OT) publishes work in all areas of organization theory, including papers that develop new substantive theories or offer theoretical extensions, papers on the history of management and organizational theory, meta-theoretical inquiries into the core underpinnings of existing theories, critiques of theories and theoretical developments, and theory-driven reviews of important areas of research.
Given the pluralistic ethos of the journal, papers that are written on a subject can take a variety of forms and lengths. Whatever the format and style in which papers are written, the general hallmark of papers published in OT is that (a) a theoretical argument is coherently developed and laid out; and in a way that (b) significantly contributes to our understanding of organizations and management. Meaningful new implications or insights for theory must be present in all articles published in the journal, regardless of whether such implications or insights are derived from the development of novel ideas into new theory, from a critique of received theory, or from a conceptual synthesis of recent advances. Submissions should therefore also clearly signal and communicate the nature of their theoretical contribution in relation to the existing literature.
Submissions to OT fall in three categories:
regular full-length submissions (‘theory article’),
review papers (‘review article’), and
shorter, essay-style contributions to a debate or conversation regarding a theoretical problem or issue (‘controversies and conversations’).
OT publishes theory articles on different subjects within the broad domains of organizations (in their environment), organizing, and the organized, including work within subject areas such as strategy, organizational behavior, work and employment relations, human resource management, international business, general management, public administration, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, ethics, and gender and diversity.
Submissions to OT may feature different approaches to theory development, including approaches centered on proposition development, process theorizing, or on a theoretical critique and synthesis of the existing literature.
Each submission should therefore explicitly signal its theoretical aims and position and maintain congruity with this approach throughout the paper. This openness of OT to different styles and approaches at the same time encourages authors to make their articles accessible to the journal’s wide-ranging readership. Whilst submissions may be focused on a particular specialized area or set of ideas, they should be written in such a way that our general readers are able to understand the ideas and arguments presented.
OT routinely publishes papers that provide a comprehensive and theory-driven review of a particular research field. These review articles provide a theoretically-informed review and integration of an important area of research, and offer significant implications for subsequent theory development and research.
In other words, reviews published in OT have to be strongly theory-led, either in the design of the review (e.g., comparing and synthesizing different streams of theorizing and research on a topic), or in the implications for theory derived from the study. Because of this specific expectation, authors are asked to clearly elaborate the theoretical contributions of their review and the strong implications they see for further research in an area.
The submission and review processes for these reviews are identical to those for regular submissions.
Controversies and conversations
Essays in this section of OT feature commentary and debate on important theoretical topics in the field. Sets of authors may engage in a conversation about topic in a complementary manner, for example by highlighting alternative but compatible viewpoints or ways of researching a subject. In other instances, the communication between the two sides may take the form of a debate around competing viewpoints (controversies), but similarly with the constructive aim of fostering new ways of thinking about and researching organizations.
The initiative for the development of a controversies and conversations contribution may come from the editors, the journal’s editorial board, or through an informal proposal from authors to a member of the editorial team. On receiving such a proposal, the editorial team will evaluate the proposal and, if it is approved, will ask for a more formal proposal which describes the relevance, scope and contribution of the essays, including the different positions of the respective authors on the issue or topic and the proposed outcome of the conversation or debate.
Proposals for this section are received on a rolling basis, and can be formally submitted via the manuscript central system. When preparing a proposal, we advise authors to read previous examples of debates featured in the journal to get an understanding of what is required.
Submitting a Manuscript
Authors need to submit their manuscripts (in Word format, i.e either a .docx or .doc file) to the online ScholarOne submission system at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ot. On the site, you will be asked to upload a title page, with contact information for all authors. Please also make sure that you answer all the manuscript- and author-related questions in the system, and that all authors’ names are entered into the manuscript submission form.
In addition, please bear the following points in mind:
When authors submit a manuscript for consideration, they must certify that the manuscript is not at the same time under review for publication in another outlet (e.g., book chapter, journal) nor that it, or a closely related version of the manuscript, has previously been published in another outlet.
Authors should not re-submit a manuscript that OT has rejected at an earlier time, unless they are doing so at the express invitation of one of the editors.
Authors should prepare their manuscripts in such a way that they cannot be identified. Authors should avoid specific references to themselves or to their own work in the manuscript and should anonymize the author designation encoded in Word files and ensure that all ‘track changes’ are removed from the manuscript.
Please indicate in your cover letter people who have already viewed the paper, members of thesis committees and colleagues who would have a conflict of interest in reviewing the paper, and any other circumstances that might affect the integrity of the blind review process.
Manuscript Preparation Guidelines
Submissions should generally not exceed 11,000 words (including references), although in some cases longer versions may be accepted.
Manuscripts should be accompanied by an abstract of 300 words (maximum), by 3–10 keywords from the OT ScholarOne keyword list.
Within the manuscript, text should be formatted as double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font. Tables may be single spaced and in smaller fonts, if necessary, for formatting. Use footnotes sparingly.
Organize the manuscript by using primary, secondary, and tertiary headings (see a recent OT issue for examples), rather than numbered headings.
Add each table or figure on separate pages at the end of the manuscript after the references, rather than inserting these directly in the text. Include a reference in the manuscript (for example: “Insert table 1 about here”) in the appropriate place.
References in the manuscript should follow the APA guidelines; for more details on the APA referencing style, please click here.