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Constructive Confrontations at AMP

  • 1.  Constructive Confrontations at AMP

    Posted 14 days ago
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    Academic debates can be fun. But frequently they are inconsequential and inconclusive. Opposing authors tend to talk past each other, agreeing to disagree, and leaving core issues unresolved. Readers may be left without a conclusion and perhaps with more confusion.        

    Academy of Management Perspectives (AMP) offers a new format – Constructive Confrontations – designed to abate ongoing debates about important managerial issues by bringing scholars with conflicting perspectives together as co-authors. Constructive Confrontations improve on the former "Exchanges" format in AMP by having those with differing perspectives cooperate on a mutually agreed study rather than talking past each other through independent, contrasting essays.

    To help ensure these articles are consequential, co-authors of Constructive Confrontations must be credited authors on previously published articles that are germane to the debated managerial issue. Potential co-authors are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal before writing a Constructive Confrontations article. Proposals should be around 1,000 words and must specify the debated managerial issue, briefly explain conflicting perspectives on this issue, list published work of all co-authors that underpins their perspectives on this issue, specify key point(s) of contention that the study will focus on, overview the planned study, clarify how the results of this study are expected to abate the debate, and estimate the date of submission of the full article. Proposals must be emailed directly to Mike Barnett (AMP editor) at Please write "Constructive Confrontations Proposal" in the subject line and attach the proposal as a Word document. 

    After reviewing the proposal, the editor will either encourage or discourage submission of a full article, based upon the practical relevance and importance of the topic, the relevance of prior publications of the co-authors, and the rigor and relevance of the proposed study. Constructive Confrontations are the same length as standard AMP articles (20 double-spaced pages) and, likewise, engage in rigorous original conceptual or empirical analysis. They must be submitted through AMP's online manuscript management system and will be double-blind peer reviewed. Accordingly, they must be written in a way that does not identify the co-authors. Therefore, do not frame the debate as the work of one set of authors versus that of another. Instead, embed the work of each set of authors within a review and synthesis of a broader set of studies that support contrasting perspectives. Note that editorial encouragement of a proposal has no bearing on the peer review process, but it does greatly reduce the likelihood of desk rejection.

    There is no required format for Constructive Confrontations, but the following structure or something similar is recommended.

    Abstract and title. AMP papers must have an engaging but accurate title and a concise abstract of no more than 200 words that provides potential readers with enough, but only just enough, information to quickly and accurately determine if the article is relevant to them. The abstract should succinctly state (a) the important managerial issue that is the subject of debate, (b) conflicting perspectives on this issue, (c) how this paper analyzes the debate, (d) the results of the analysis, and (e) how these results abate the debate.

    Introduction. The content of an introduction overlaps with that of an abstract, but the introduction adds detail. Nevertheless, as with all aspects of an AMP paper, it should be concise. View it as a sort of executive summary. Open with a paragraph or two that draws the reader in, then briefly overview the paper's structure. Limit the introduction to no more than two double-spaced pages.

    Issue description. AMP is not interested in purely academic debate. Disagreements on theoretical mechanisms and broad philosophies are not germane to AMP. Instead, AMP seeks insights on issues that matter to managerial practice and policy. Thus, it is critical to clearly articulate the focal managerial issue and make a convincing case for its importance. In addition to scholarly literature, authors may refer to practitioner and government reports, as well as credible media accounts, to validate the importance of the issue. This section should fill two to four double-spaced pages.

    Conflicting perspectives. Review and synthesize relevant literature to accurately describe the current state of the differing perspectives on this issue. Do not frame debate as a conflict between authors (e.g., Friedman vs. Freeman). Rather, broaden the review to include a range of studies on each side, not just those of a single author or paper.    

    Points of debate. What are the specific points of contention? Narrow down and specify the ways in which these perspectives differ. It is essential to get beyond broad philosophical disagreements, to clarify the mechanisms, measures, or other specific factors that underpin the conflict. Clarifying charts and figures are encouraged to illustrate key points.

    Clarifying analysis. What specific study can resolve a key aspect of this debate? This is the core work of the paper. Justify, describe, and conduct an original and rigorous empirical or conceptual study that provides a clear resolution to one or more points of debate previously outlined. Use plain language and summary charts, figures, and graphs. The usual artifacts of a robust scholarly study are required, but at AMP they are placed in a supplement.

    Results and implications. What have you resolved with this study? Reveal the results of the analysis and clearly explain how they abate the debate and inform managerial practice and policy regarding the focal issue.

    Future research. What else can be done to fully abate this debate? Overview the points of debate around this issue that remain unsettled and describe a specific set of studies that can address these points.

    Conclusion. In one or two paragraphs, restate what the essay has done and remind readers why it matters. Do not simply restate the abstract. Conclude on a high note, perhaps with a call to action.

    Michael Barnett
    Rutgers University
    Newark NJ
    (973) 353-3697