Reflections on AOM: Mariya Eranova’s Three Key Take-Aways of the PDW “Publishing SAP Research in Top Journals”

A few weeks have passed since the sessions and workshops at AOM in Atlanta inspired thousands of management scholars all over the world. Yet, naturally, it is impossible for all management scholars to attend the conference, nor is it possible for attendees to remember all key learnings of the numerous sessions and workshops. Therefore, we asked participants of SAP-sponsored PDWs to share their three key take-aways.

Mariya Eranova participated in the PDW “Publishing Strategy-as-Practice Research in Top Journals”, a workshop organized by Shenghui Ma and Paul Spee that attracted a tremendous number of participants and evoked stimulating discussions among editors and authors (see photos below). Mariya is Lecturer in Strategic Management at the University of Greenwich. Given her research interest in Strategy as Practice, her participation in the PDW was greatly appreciated. In the following, Mariya summarizes her experiences as participant of this workshop and shares her three key take-aways.



Mariya_EranovaFew would disagree that publishing in top journals is challenging. According to what I heard from my senior colleagues, this is all about producing a good piece of paper, seeking feedback and preparing for hard work. These are more or less conventional success factors for publishing. But what do they actually mean and what actions do they require from us as researchers? The answers to these questions were not clear to me before I attended the PDW “Publishing strategy-as-practice research in top journals”. The workshop helped me to refresh my previous knowledge about publishing and understand my main mistakes. Here are my three take-aways of the PDW:

Producing a good piece of paper involves an ability to change, improve and see your manuscript in its future development; desperate attempts to defend its existing version and turn changes back will not help. These exercises can be painful, as they require constant resisting the fear of cutting words and deleting precious pieces of text from the paper. I have also realised that another very important element in producing high-quality research is preparing a good response letter. Sometimes it should be as long as the paper itself, especially if a reviewer is an expert in another field and is not familiar with the concepts and frameworks that the paper uses. It is crucial to demonstrate editors and reviewers what has been changed, but also show explicitly how it was changed and why.

Seeking feedback is a waste of time if you go to your colleagues or friends. Obviously, they are very nice and will never tell you what they really think about the paper. So don’t trust them! Instead, go and “test” the paper at the conference or ask an expert in the field for comments. Eventually most important feedback, no matter how harsh it is, is reviewers’ comments.  Perhaps the most difficult part here is to accept the fact that a reviewer is never wrong. Instead, it is an author’s bad communication that creates confusion and misunderstanding.

Preparing for hard work is the point that was emphasised in the very beginning of the workshop. “Perseverance is key” – this statement reflected the main idea of the PDW. I would keep thinking that this suggestion only applies to early-career researchers, like me, if I did not hear speakers’ honest stories about their publishing experience and vivid examples of the comments they received throughout the reviewing process… Some statistics about the number of words, days and emails spent on the way to publishing impressed me a lot. These examples illustrated well what hard work is and how it could be measured.

I tried to summarise the key points I learned from the PDW. But in fact, there were much more things I carried out from this event. They are less tangible and therefore difficult to translate – a warm and friendly atmosphere, a unique combination of serious talks and humour, and powerful waves of encouragement and inspiration coming from each story. The workshop allowed me to realise that successful scholars face with exactly the same issues as beginners and they work extremely hard. The only difference is many years of experience that senior researchers were happy to share with the audience at the PDW. I would like to thank Shenghui Ma and Paul Spee for organising the workshop, all speakers and especially Richard Whittington, Rebecca Bednarek and Sotirios Paroutis for sharing their inspiring stories and providing valuable suggestions!


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