How to publish in top Management journals

In the Department of Management’s second Meet the Editor session, attendees heard from four inspiring academic speakers on how to publish in prestigious journals and the key pitfalls to avoid.

Editors of the top journals are tasked with reviewing thousands of papers, so how can you ensure that yours makes it past initial review and has a higher chance of getting published?

At the second of the Department of Management’s Meet the Editor sessions – chaired by Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research – Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean, School of Business Economics and Informatics welcomed Dr Dermot Breslin (International Journal of Management and Essex Business School), Professor Martyna Sliwa (Management Learning and Essex Business School), Professor Savvas Papagiannidis (Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Newcastle University Business School) and Dr Mohammad Faisal Ahammad (British Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies and Leeds University Business School) to share their insight.

This session was very well attended by 75 scholars around the world.

Through this interactive session, a number of key considerations for authors were discussed:

Tailor your article to the journal and never resubmit to a different journal without revising substantially

It goes without saying that articles should be tailored for a specific journal, but all presenters were in agreement that a quick way to get your submission rejected is to make it obvious that it has been submitted elsewhere first. Speakers emphasised that even if authors are resubmitting a paper to a different journal, it is essential to ensure that the article is tailored for this resubmission, as it is obvious when this is not the case.

Understand the scope of your chosen journal

To make it less likely that you will need to resubmit your article, it is important to understand the scope of different journals. For example, does your chosen journal publish literature reviews? Does your article ‘fit’ with the type of content that the journal has published in the past? Does it offer a new perspective on these issues? Taking the time to effectively target and understand your chosen journal will lead to a more successful submission.

Address any issues raised by editors and reviewers

Dr Mohammad Faisal Ahammad shared some useful insights from his experience of having papers reviewed, accepted, revised, and rejected. He noted that taking the time to respond to reviewer comments in detail led to a much greater acceptance rate. Use this response as an opportunity to highlight the contribution made by your paper and take the time to address concerns raised by reviewers in a way that makes the process as easy as possible for them. He -using a few examples-, clearly outlined strategies to adopt to successfully address common comments made by reviewers (e.g. motivation, common method bias and endogeneity issues etc)

Support journals by becoming a reviewer

Several speakers commented on the value of becoming a reviewer as a way to support journals and gain insight into this process. Becoming a reviewer is often a stepping stone to membership of an editorial board, so it is well worth considering the commitment.

We would like to thank Dr Breslin, Professor Sliwa, Professor Papagiannidis and Dr Ahammad for their time during this highly informative session. All are welcome to join us for our upcoming Meet the Editor events:

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Department of Management Welcomes Professor Vijay Pereira for first Meet the Editor Session

The Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management joined the Department for a virtual presentation on how to publish in top management journals.

Meet-the-Editor Sessions are free for anyone to join.

Screenshot of the group meeting for the Meet the Editor session

Dr Muthu De Silva (top left) and Dr Geoff Walters (top right) introduced this presentation by Professor Vijay Pereira (bottom left).

Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research and session chair opened the discussion by sharing the objective of the Meet the Editor series: to motivate and support our community of excellent scholars to thrive in research, during this difficult time.

While we are all missing face to face contact with colleagues across Birkbeck and beyond, it has to be said that lockdown has presented opportunities to be more creative and geographically ambitious with events in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, as Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean reminded the audience during the welcome speech. Around fifty researchers in the field of Management tuned in to this online talk by Professor Vijay Pereira of NEOMA Business School, France, designed to provide greater insight into the types of research that top management journals are looking to publish.

As Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management, as well as a member of the editorial board for a number of other journals (e.g. Journal of Management Studies), Professor Pereira has extensive knowledge of prestigious publications, commenting on the ‘outside the box’ thinking that he brings to academia and the journals on which he works.

In this session, Professor Pereira provided a detailed introduction to the ethos and outlook of the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Knowledge Management, along with his advice for those looking to publish in these journals.

Journal of Business Research

The Journal of Business Research (JoBR) is a UK ABS 3* and ABDC ‘A’ journal. Firstly, Professor Pereira highlights the importance of understanding the scope of the journal in which you wish to publish. In the case of JoBR, in addition to the theoretical rigour, the journal aids the application of empirical research to practical situations and theoretical findings to the reality of the business world. This practical underpinning is reflected by JoBR’s broad target audience, which includes executives alongside scholars and researchers.

JoBR has a somewhat unique organisational structure, with two Editors-in-Chief, three to four Deputy Editors-in-Chief, five Special Issue Editors and 65 Associate Editors covering sixteen discipline areas – this number is large but unsurprising considering that JoBR receives 4,500 -5,000 submissions a year! While publication is competitive, the journal’s 6% acceptance rate represents a significant number of papers, so Professor Pereira warns not to be discouraged from applying.

There are three key points to consider when submitting to JoBR:

  1. The quality of the theory
  2. Robust data or concepts
  3. Real-world implications for business or management situations

There are also three key points to consider in terms of the journal’s positioning:

  1. JoBR is international in scope, looking for work from new contexts and new scholars and continuing to grow globally
  2. The journal has moved from being marketing focused to being interdisciplinary covering a wider range of management disciplines, such as international business and innovation
  3. JoBR has a key focus on impact – it is the number one cited marketing journal according to Google Scholar’s H Index

Keeping the three I’s of international, interdisciplinary and impactful in scope is key for researchers submitting to this journal.

Journal of Knowledge Management

In the second part of this presentation, Professor Pereira discussed the Journal of Knowledge Management, a leading journal in this field with an ABS 2* and ABDC ‘A’ rating.

To Professor Pereira’s knowledge, the Journal of Knowledge Management is the first journal to have a Global Real Impact Editor and has also recently appointed Regional Real Impact Editors.

Putting impact at the front and centre of the work it looks to publish, the Journal of Knowledge Management invites pieces by scholars, academics and individuals from industry. It is similarly international in scope, with articles from China, India, Brazil, France and the UK in the pipeline. The journal looks to maximise the diversity of its output without compromising on quality, and a focus on impact from the beginning of the process enables it to do this.

A focus on the practical impact and applicability of research is therefore key when submitting to this journal.

We would like to thank Professor Pereira for his time and for an insightful and informative start to our Meet the Editor Series. All are welcome to join us for our upcoming Meet the Editor events:

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“Doing this degree has completely changed my expectations of what I can do in the future”

Isabella Ghawi faced challenges during studying, including a brain tumour diagnosis, epilepsy and dyslexia. With the help of Birkbeck’s Disability Department and her steely determination, Isabella founded the Birkbeck Biological society and graduated in November with a BSc Biomedicine degree. Here is her #BBKgrad story.

Isabella Ghawi

What made you decide to study at Birkbeck?

I did a lot of research because I left school quite suddenly without A levels as I started to have epileptic seizures.  After a long time, I decided I wanted to go back to university and study to be a neurophysiologist after my experience of working in a hospital.

I was searching for a good access to university course and chose Birkbeck as it had the best one. Unlike all the other places I looked at, it taught actual science. I knew that I wouldn’t just come out with a piece of paper, but I’d actually come out with real knowledge. After undertaking the Higher Education Introductory Course I decided to continue at Birkbeck to study a BSc in Biomedicine.

Did you face any challenges during your time studying? How did you overcome them?

I had a huge challenge in my first year. I already had epilepsy from the age of 18 and I had dyslexia. On top of that in my first year of biomedicine, I was diagnosed with a most likely cancerous brain tumour which meant I had to have a serious operation.

I overcame it, with the help of my family, my church and the people around me, but also with the support of Birkbeck – I’m especially grateful for the help and support I received from Dick Rayne, Mark Pimm and Jackie Saunder and many others. It was a learning curve for all of us, as we implemented new changes that were best for me at the time. So, with the help of all those people, I was able to continue and not just able to continue, but to really excel and exceed my expectations despite many difficulties.

Did you receive any additional College support whilst at Birkbeck and if so, how did this help you?

Birkbeck staff were a huge driving force because they were very understanding and supportive. The lecturers and the administration staff really helped me to develop resilience within myself and I kept going because they were so supportive. I also received a lot of help from the disability team. I received extra training on my computer with programmes that helped me with my dyslexia. There were a lot of assistive technologies that I was given, as well as a support tutor who was great and again, a real emotional rock. I also received a note taker and had extra time in exams which was helpful. Unfortunately, in a couple of my exams I had seizures, which were quite distressing. As a result, towards the end of my studies my exams were split, and I did them in smaller chunks which was extremely helpful. By the time it got to the last year, we had figured out what worked best.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Doing this degree has completely changed my expectations of what I can do in the future. Before doing this degree, I didn’t think I would be able to do much, but it’s made me really open to new opportunities. I really hope to continue to work in research, which is something I’d never dreamed of. I had never really done any lab work before this degree, but by the end of three years I was leaving the lab sessions thinking that if I could go back to the lab every day for the rest of my life, I’d be a very happy person. So, I would really love to work in a scientific laboratory.

This degree has also made me think that maybe there could be other things out there that I would be good at that I haven’t experienced yet. Now I’m looking for a job, hopefully in research, to gain more experience and then perhaps go back and do a PhD when I have more experience in the field, because I feel I really need more hands-on experience.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of studying at Birkbeck?

I would say go for it and give it a try, you will surprise yourself with what you can achieve. If you have any doubts or problems, there is so much help and support out there. I would also strongly suggest being open about your difficulties from the beginning with the staff.  If you do have a busy life and lot to cope with, for example if you have children, work commitments, health problems or caring commitments, the opportunity of doing part-time is well worth taking.

Studying at Birkbeck is a truly great experience, I would strongly recommend others go for it and give it a try. I don’t think you’d regret it, I certainly haven’t.

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BEI Breakfast Seminar: work life balance and career penalties in the performing arts

Professor Almuth McDowall led a lively and thought-provoking discussion at the first School of Business, Economics and Informatics Breakfast Seminar of the academic year.

On a crisp, autumnal Monday morning, academics from Birkbeck’s Department of Organizational Psychology, were joined by students, colleagues and professionals working in or with an interest in the performing arts for the first BEI Breakfast Seminar of the academic year. Rebecca Whiting hosted the seminar as this links to the department’s wider interest of working with culture, arts and the creative industries.

Professor Almuth McDowall, who was leading the discussion, began by explaining why the performing arts had become a special interest for her department. The performing arts are the largest employer in the arts and culture industry, yet there are many elements of the sector that need to be better understood. Curiously, the sector is notably absent from UK wide employment surveys and statistics such as the Work Employment Relations Survey, especially when it comes to improving work life balance. Work in the performing arts is often cyclical in nature, unpredictable and subsidised by another job to make ends meet. This is a sector where job sharing makes headline news.

Career penalties in the performing arts

Professor McDowall shared the key findings of Balancing Act, a survey carried out by academics from the Department of Organizational Psychology in collaboration with Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts (PiPA). While performing arts professionals are highly engaged at work, there is a toxic mix of high levels of job insecurity with low levels of employability. Of those who were surveyed, 54% didn’t have full time contracts, in contrast to 15% of the general population, and those with caring responsibilities were much less likely to be in full-time, secure roles.

Women were found to be disproportionately affected by precarious working practices than men due to the ‘second shift’: cooking dinner, making sure birthday cards are bought and continuing to ‘work’ in many ways once their paid working day has finished.

Women also suffer a pay penalty in an already low-paid industry; the median part-time earnings of women surveyed were £5,000 less than men, suggesting that they have to rely on social and financial capital outside of work in order to pursue a career in the performing arts.

When it comes to caring responsibilities, 44% of women and 36% of men have had to change their work roles for this reason, for example, by not touring, or choosing not to work in the West End in order to spend more time with the family.

Furthermore, respondents who had left the performing arts industry did so almost unanimously to become a parent, with those able to continue their career relying on their social capital (partners, friends or family) for support.

In an environment that is practically hostile to working parents, 12% of respondents reported facing discrimination and bullying at work, with one survey respondent warning that “[t]he industry will not care for you”.

The case for change

So, Professor McDowall asked the room, is the ‘deal’ in the arts to accept job insecurity? As a woman, should you try to marry rich, since that’s strategically your best career move? Since performing arts workers are ‘lucky’ to be doing a job they love, should they just keep quiet about the downsides?

As an alternative to accepting the status quo, PiPA has developed a best practice charter for the performing arts industry, starting with recruitment. Professor McDowall stressed that practical solutions do not have to be expensive or call for extra resource, they can be as simple as giving performers and backstage workers more notice of future scheduling.

She also called for more research in order to understand the role that social capital plays in the workforce, and how to equip people working in the arts to craft their careers and negotiate a better deal.

The talk was followed by a passionate discussion from industry professionals both seeking support and sharing best practice. In response to a question about the biggest barrier to change, Professor McDowall suggested that organizational culture remains a barrier, and that more work needed to be done to “research into the active ingredients that will promote culture change in the performing arts, as it’s not an industry where there is a lot of time to reflect and take stock.” The demands of the arts simply require that often getting the next production on stage will take priority over more people focused activities.

Far from just accepting the status quo then, the morning ended with positivity that change can be made in the performing arts industry, since, as Professor McDowall put it, “surely there is an onus on the performing arts to better reflect society?”

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