Who, me? An inductive study of novice experts in the context of how editors come to understand theoretical contribution

Kevin Corley, Beth S. Schinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The social sciences, including management, are at a crossroads. Globally, scholars are increasingly pressured to publish in top journals, compelling editorial boards to recruit more individuals - including those with less experience - to meet the demand. Furthermore, the validity of the social sciences is under scrutiny in light of ethical violations, article retractions, and calls for more relevant research. At the epicenter of this conundrum lie journal editors, those who adjudicate the quality and potential of submitted research. With these issues as backdrop, we report an inductive study of how journal editors come to understand the notion of theoretical contribution. Working with a data set of editorial decision letters and interviews with editors at two top management journals, we provide critical insight into how new editors, despite not yet having the requisite experience or knowledge to make expert judgments, experience being labeled experts by their scholarly community - a phenomenon we label "novice experts." We find that the process of making sense of theoretical contribution differs for novice experts than for those with more experience. Given the rise in less experienced editors, our data suggest that now is the time to rethink the hows and whys of knowledge dissemination at the heart of our profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-27
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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