Reducing Uncertainty in Scholarly Publishing: Concepts in the Field of Organization Studies, 1960–2008

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the dynamics in the field of organization studies. We focus on the market for scholarly publishing and trace how many and which kinds of concepts have been developed and diffused in publications over the last 48 years. We argue that scholars in the publishing market must deal with two kinds of uncertainty: uncertainty on the delicate balance of maintaining research that is both novel and attentive to existing schools of thought, and uncertainty related to the heterogeneity of institutional logics that guide research in the field. We propose that concepts are a means of uncertainty reduction for two reasons. First, working with concepts allows considering both novelty and continuity. Second, working with concepts in a way that follows the dominant field logic helps to reduce uncertainty about what is valued as publishable in the field. We find that the number of concept articles in organization studies has increased, particularly concept articles that align with the dominant logic of positivism.

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Correspondence to Suleika Bort.

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We are grateful to Axel Haunschild, Dodo zu Knyphausen-Aufseß, and Arnold Picot for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. We also thank the participants at the Workshop of the Wissenschaftliche Kommission Organisation in 2010 for their suggestions.

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Bort, S., Schiller-Merkens, S. Reducing Uncertainty in Scholarly Publishing: Concepts in the Field of Organization Studies, 1960–2008. Schmalenbach Bus Rev 63, 337–360 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03396823

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JEL-Classification

  • N01
  • Y8
  • Z0

Key words

  • Concept
  • Institutional Logic
  • Organization Studies
  • Positivism
  • Publish or Perish
  • Uncertainty