Interview by Renate Kratochvil
Global Strategy Journal (GSJ) is the youngest of the three journals of the Strategic Management Society (SMS). It is an internationally renowned journal that publishes research on the interaction between the global context of organizations and their Strategies and Strategic Management. Interested readers can find articles in GSJ by globally prominent scholars, such as Ruth Aguilera, Juan Alcacér, Africa Ariño, Linda Argote, Jay Barney, Julian Birkinshaw, Peter Buckley, Yves Doz, Vijay Govindarajan, Tatiana Kostova, Anita Mcgahan, Will Mitchell, Margaret Peteraf, Ravi Ramamurti, Alain Verbeke, Eleonor Westney, Margaret Wiersema, and Maurizio Zollo.
For this blog-post, I want to get some more insights on what the GSJ aims for and what it takes to get published in the journal. I talked to professor Gabriel R.G. Benito from BI Norwegian Business School, who is co-editor of the journal. Gabriel is an established scholar in the fields of International Business and Strategy and he was recently selected to become a Co-Editor of the Global Strategy Journal, alongside Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra and Ram Mudambi. Gabriel reflects on his role as Co-Editor, the GSJ mission, and provides some useful tips and background information for publishing in this outlet.
What is the background and mission of GSJ?
The GSJ is a relatively young journal. It is now ten years old [as of 2020] and it is the youngest of the three journals of the SMS. Even though it is only one decade old, it is fair to say that it started out as a leading journal in its specific domain of Global Strategy, much owing to the thorough preparations and ambitions of its founding editors Stephen Tallman and Torben Pedersen. It aspires to become a top-tier journal in the broader field of Management, and as its editors we try to do the things we think are necessary for GSJ to achieve this goal; this is our explicit ambition.
What does Global Strategy mean?
GSJ is not a general management journal; it is about Strategy and Strategic Management in the global context. It is about research on the boundaries and moderating influences of place, such as countries, regions or nations, on Strategy and Strategic Management. Those influences are, for example, the institutions, the cultures, the economies, the resource endowments, the infrastructures, and the laws of those places. By Strategy, we mean the analysis of decisions and actions that enable organizations, typically firms but not exclusively firms, to achieve their objectives and improve their success; it is about the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations. For the journal, we are not only interested in for-profit organizations and multinational corporations, but also in small-and-medium sized companies, NPOs/NGOs, supra-national entities, and other kinds of organizations.
How does the GSJ understand global context?
With global context, we are not just referring to activities that take place in several countries or that cross national boundaries, but also activities in single countries. We have a broad view of what is the global context. For instance, we are interested in what differentiates multinational and local organizations within a single country; for example, examining how a multinational company enters a particular country and competes with incumbent firms. The journal is also interested in research that develops and tests concepts that apply to Global Strategy and Global Strategic Management more generally, that compares concepts across countries, or that compares organizations from different countries of origin. Taking a broad view of global context, we are not just focusing on business activities that cross national boundaries.
The global aspect needs to be central to the study; preferably, it should be part of the theory section, research question, and discussion and contribution of the study. Equally important, GSJ does not publish research that lacks a focus on Strategy or Strategic Management. Fit with the domains of GSJ is key. Lack of fit with GSJ’s domain is a principal reason why papers get desk-rejected.
In terms of theoretical and methodological perspectives, GSJ has always been an open journal, and we want to keep it that way. We are not committed to particular views, neither regarding theory nor methods. What we expect is high-quality research in theoretical discussions and use of methodology. But, research also has to be interesting and relevant. It is the combination of doing interesting things well – that is, rigorously – that ensure relevance, and ultimately what others will find interesting to read, learn from, be inspired by, and build upon.
How is GSJ placed within the portfolio of SMS journal?
In principle, any article in GSJ would also fit Strategic Management Journal (SMJ). However, many articles in SMJ would not fit GSJ, as they do not include a global dimension. GSJ also has an important, but perhaps smaller overlap with Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ). This overlap is in (strategic) entrepreneurship and innovation in the global domain. Of course, beyond the SMS sphere, it can also be mentioned that GSJ has a considerable overlap with International Business journals, but it is not an International Business journal as such.
How many issues does GSJ publish?
The GSJ publishes four issues each year. Its quarterly format and limited number of articles every year result in a fairly exclusive journal.
What happens once a paper has been submitted to GSJ?
The submission process via Scholar One is quite swift. Then, the paper goes to one of the Co-Editors; Alvaro, Ram, and I. We make the first assessment and we look for fit. We also check if the study is at a stage where it has a reasonable probability of going through a review process. If it passes this first assessment, we select an action editor among our excellent team of associate editors, who will handle the paper from then on. They have full editorial powers and make the important decisions. They are very talented, hard-working and knowledgeable. As editors of GSJ, if we see potential in a study we commit to work with the authors and really try our best to ensure that their ideas get developed and are presented in the best possible manner.
This also means that once we commit to an article with an R&R, we want to see real progress in the development of a manuscript, and we work with the authors to make it as good as possible. We try to keep the number of review rounds down. This is a way of working that differs somewhat from many other journals where there are often many rounds of reviews.
Why is GSJ an attractive outlet?
We mainly publish traditional research articles, but there is more to it. You will also see other types of articles in GSJ, which we call research platform papers, such as articles that point more to the future, that uncover new research areas and provide some ideas about how to go about with them. We also have the occasional discussion pieces, sometimes in a point-counter-point fashion. Over the years, we had several of these articles. They are fun to read and often highly cited.
Also, we want to be an attractive outlet for young scholars. We really strive to keep turnaround times down. And besides being reasonably quick, we make an effort at providing constructive reviews, and to be developmental in our communication and interaction with the authors. We are very interested in young talent and new ideas.
Which tip would you give to somebody who is about to submit a study to GSJ?
While there are many important things to consider when conducting a research study, I want to highlight one recommendation when writing a manuscript. It is important to have a well-structured, well-thought off and well-written front end. That goes for all studies, regardless of topic or method. Tell effectively what the article is about and what and how it contributes to what we already know. Do in a crisp, engaging, believable and effective manner.
Are there any “hot” topics for GSJ?
Watch out for our Special Issue Calls for Papers. About once a year, we feature a special issue in GSJ. A Special Issue on “Global Value Chains, Governance, and Globalization Strategy” is just about to appear, and previous Special Issues include one in 2019 on “Microfoundations of Global Strategy: Role of Leadership and Manager Characteristics.
This year we have a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Complexity and Multinationals” (submissions due December 1, 2020).
What is key to GSJ is that we want to be a journal for our authors, we want to publish the best current research in Global Strategy and help develop research in this ever more important field. If we achieve that, we also have an interested and growing readership.
Note: In the notes above, the interviewer/author paraphrases her discussion with professor Benito.