Professor Gerard George, the Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB) and former editor at the top ranked Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), has been at the forefront of efforts to make management research papers more impactful.
In a 2016 editor’s note entitled “Management research in AMJ: Celebrating impact while striving for more”, Professor George, who is also the Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, reiterated a call for academics in the field of management studies to consider five factors to improve the publishability of their research, namely significance, novelty,curiosity, scope, and actionability.
“An impactful research agenda would preclude an overt emphasis on theoretical ‘gaps’ in the literature, and instead would move our collective attention toward addressing problems or understanding emergent phenomena that are significant and relevant to our stakeholders,” he wrote.
In his note, he also suggested that scholars could publish impactful research by developing novel insights or better explanations of a new, emergent phenomenon. He noted that there is an inherent tendency for academics to anchor themselves to past theories without necessarily thinking about the changed context. “Boundary conditions and causal mechanisms continue to evolve, which requires us to continually revisit and refine our understanding of organisations and their operating environments.”
As the editor of the journal from 2013 to 2016, Professor George played a significant role in shaping scholarship in the field of management studies. Using the “From the Editor” notes of the journal, Professor George encouraged a “Grand Challenge” approach to tackling societal issues and a rethink of how management research can help business achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. His editorials call for empirical evidence to shape management thinking on climate change, risk and societal resilience, gender equality, big data, digital money and natural resources among others.
Under Professor George’s leadership, the journal increased the number of articles published yearly from 54 to 90 articles in the period 2010 to 2016. The journal also introduced a “Dynamic Edition” in 2015 where authors were asked to provide media (audio or video) that could be integrated directly into the articles themselves. In addition, during this period, the journal improved its Impact Factor, which measures how often its articles are cited, and helped articles get exposure in the mainstream media.