Department of Management meets the editor: Dr Robert Wapshott

The Editor of International Small Business Journal shared insights into achieving publication success in this virtual event.

Birkbeck’s Department of Management was delighted to welcome Dr Robert Wapshott, Editor for International Small Business Journal (CABS 3*), to our latest Meet the Editor session. The event was chaired by Dr Muthu De Silva, Assistant Dean (Research) in Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics.

How to publish papers in International Small Business Journal

Dr Wapshott began the session with advice for researchers aspiring to publish in International Small Business Journal (ISBJ). The journal focuses on publishing high-quality, highly relevant research on small business and entrepreneurship and features a broad range of fields and approaches.

Dr Wapshott shared some key details about ISBJ emphasising that the team works hard to reach decisions quickly and the importance of reviewers’ valued contributions to the journal’s overall strength. Dr Wapshott also highlighted that a small percentage of the manuscripts submitted to the journal are finally published in the journal

When a paper is submitted to ISBJ, it undergoes an editorial review by one of the two editors or the Editor in Chief. This is to check that the submission is relevant in scope and fit for the journal. Papers are then peer-reviewed, hopefully ending in publication.

How can I tell if my paper is a good fit for International Small Business Journal?

Above all, Dr Wapshott advises reading the journal and allowing time for the style to “sink in” to get an idea of whether your work is a good fit. An exercise to support this process would be to select some papers from the journal and study each of them by section.

When submitting papers, it is important to show how the work is relevant to journal’s readership, for instance the kinds of debates that might be of interest. Finding the ‘right’ audience for a paper can help the spread of its author’s ideas because the readers will be engaged in pursuing similar questions and topics.

Dr Wapshott also advised asking for feedback from colleagues that have published in ISBJ before, or who know the field, on whether the paper is a good fit for the journal.

Finally, it is important to consider whether ISBJ publishes the kind of work that you would like to write in terms of length, style and topic and whether there is an engaged readership for the paper’s topic, as this is key to supporting engagement with the paper beyond publication.

Papers accepted for publication in ISBJ have several things in common:

  • Clearly articulated contributions to debates that are relevant to the ISBJ audience
  • A contribution that matters beyond simple novelty
  • Careful engagement with the reviewers’ comments

Advice on writing and submitting a research paper

Dr Wapshott shared some general advice on writing and submitting a research paper.

Firstly, carefully consider keywords and ensure they are not too specific; they should link to other work in the journal and not just the paper submitted. Papers should be written in plain language where possible, showing sophistication instead through the ideas and their development.

What are the reasons for rejecting papers from International Small Business Journal?

Dr Wapshott shared the main reasons why a paper may be desk rejected:

  • Vague aims
  • Dated literature
  • Little sign of claimed contribution
  • Poor fit with the journal

If a paper is rejected at the full review stage, it could be due to:

  • Questionable contribution (e.g. inadequate theory)
  • Argument does not ‘work’, perhaps due to gaps or leaps in reasoning
  • Limitations in the method (e.g. inappropriate data for the claims made in the paper)

Advice for responding to reviewers

Dr Wapshott stressed the importance of treating reviewers with respect, even when disagreeing with their comments, by engaging with any feedback given and taking the time to explain your position. A good check is to imagine the reviewer in the room, or that they are an immediate colleague, and consider how you would respond to them.

A question from the audience asked for advice on dealing with rejection. Dr Wapshott focused on this as an evaluation only of the work submitted rather than anything broader, such as the author’s ability or potential. In this context, Dr Wapshott reassured delegates that rejection is something that happens to all researchers.

He encouraged delegates to try and understand what the editors or reviewers see as the weakness of the paper and to recognise the reviewers’ expertise – if it feels like they have missed the point of a paper, how could this be possible? It can be helpful to return to a paper with a fresh view once the comments have settled to see what might need to be improved.

Dr Wapshott’s presentation was followed by a Q&A session with delegates. One attendee asked what makes an article more impactful? Dr Wapshott responded: “It’s all about the significance of the contribution. How does this change how I see the world, how I think about it or practice? The author’s role is to articulate why the contribution matters. Then people can cite the work because there is a really clear takeaway.”

We would like to thank Dr Wapshott for an insightful and productive session.

Join us for our next Meet the Editor Session

Our next Meet the Editor Session will welcome Professor Jonathan Doh, General Editor of Journal of Management Studies on February 14 2022. Find out more and book your place.

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The politics of power in (ir)responsible business

Birkbeck’s Responsible Business Centre seminar series discusses gender inequality and the mechanisms through which men and masculinities maintain their dominance in marketing and consumer research.

The second in the series of Birkbeck’s Responsible Business Centre research seminars was focused on the politics of power in (ir)responsible business: Men, masculinities and transnational patriarchies and the case of marketing and consumer research.

The seminar was led by Dr Wendy Hein, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Birkbeck University of London. Dr Hein was joined by Professor Jeff Hearn from Hanken School of Economics, Finland, who recently co-authored a chapter in the book: ‘The Routledge Companion to Marketing and Feminism.’.

Transnational patriarchies are complex, structural and material issues that remain despite efforts of business to increase a focus on gender and intersectionality. Dr Hein provided perspectives on these structural and material complexities by naming and addressing transnational male-dominated patriarchies.

Increase in women’s representation = increase in young men’s crime?

Dr Hein began the seminar with a quote from Nick Fletcher MP, who made a speech at Westminster on International Men’s Day 25th November 2021.

“In recent years we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, The Equalizer, all replaced by women, and men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby. Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime?”

Dr Hein argued that while the cultural sphere has evolved, it has done so as a result of decades and histories of under-representation. Although representation has increased, this does not imply that women are equally represented. There are still industries and sectors where women are underrepresented in terms of roles and participation.

How important is gender equality?

Achieving gender equality is central to development, as Dr Hein explained by presenting the report findings from the UN: ‘Reaching gender-equal educational attainment and labour force participation would add US$4.4 trillion to global GDP by 2030’ which would in turn help to reduce poverty.

Gender equality is also critical in driving sustainable development in areas such as providing equal access to family planning and education on land rights and sustainability.

Gender inequality is still prevalent today and gender relations are still characterised by various types of male dominance on a global/transnational scale. Dr Hein put this into focus by discussing the reports that Afghanistan has recently banned girls from attending school. Women also remain the main care workers in positions that are unpaid. According to a report by Oxfam 2020 ‘women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work each day—a contribution to the global economy of at least US$10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the size of the global tech industry’.

What is patriarchy or transpatriarchy and how does this relate to marketing?

The majority of research in marketing is about men and produced by men. As a result, men are often mentioned in the context of consumer culture but rarely gendered, thus forming an ‘absent presence’.

Dr Hein then discussed the role of patriarchy in transnational markets, including the worldwide flow of products, services, and finance. As a result, there is worldwide wealth inequality and international migration is widespread.

Dr Hein concluded the seminar by emphasising the importance of maintaining momentum on debates on critical study of men, masculinities and transpatriarchies. There is a greater need than ever before, since the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Report stated that the ‘impact of Covid-19 has set gender equality back by another generation. It is now believed that it will take 135.6 years to reach gender equality’.

The focus of research should be on the superior position of transnational media, as well as transnational influence in private and public spheres. Unless we tackle these growing inequities and transnational structural inequalities, true sustainability will remain a goal for future generations.

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Birkbeck on Ice

During the Christmas season, one of the most famous things to do is visit the Natural History Museum’s annual ice rink. In this blog, Bonnie Marnock, an MSc Management with Human Resource Management student, shares how she and her classmates got into the festive spirit at the Students’ Union’s Birkbeck on Ice event.

In the lead-up to the end of the semester, Birkbeck on Ice was the perfect way to enjoy a firm favourite – the Natural History Museum’s ice skating.

With a chill in the air and decorations adorning Cromwell Road, a group of Birkbeck students got in the spirit by trying their hand for the first time at ice skating, with those more experienced to guide them. There were some little slips and trips, but all were soon gliding around the beautiful Christmas tree and enjoying the evening.

In one corner, some pro’s provided a show, spinning and doing little pirouettes, while on the other side there was a photobooth, the timing of which made for some funny photos while skaters tried to turn around in time after hitting the shutter button. The best Christmas jumper award went to a scotty dog-inspired number, and in the following session a group in reindeer onesies graced the ice with considerable skill – practicing ahead of the big night perhaps?

Just in time for our session to end, the rain came down, so we all retreated into the loft bar for some mulled wine or hot chocolates, and to get to know the new friends made out on the ice, or catch up with how classmates were going with revision and assessments. A very pleasant way to defrost our fingers!

Thank you to the Student Union for organising the discounted tickets, a great night was had by all!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – stay safe and see you on the other side, rested and ready for the New Year!

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