SMJ Special Issues Policy and Procedures

Past Special Issues

Question-Driven and Phenomenon-Based Empirical Strategy Research

This special issue of the Strategic Management Journal seeks alternate approaches to the way that we approach empirical research. In particular, we seek innovations that focus on identifying and analyzing key questions about strategy and strategically relevant phenomena, as alternatives to developing specific hypotheses. Important and interesting strategy questions remain to be addressed that do not fit neatly with existing theories or prior understandings from traditional empirical research. It often makes sense to pursue these questions through systematic and thorough analysis of relevant data, and to provide plausible interpretations of the empirical findings so as to inform our knowledge of strategy issues.

Submission deadline: January 31, 2018

Guest Editors:

Melissa Graebner          Anne Marie Knott           Marvin Lieberman           Will Mitchell
University of Texas       Washington University    University of California,   University of Toronto
at Austin                      in St. Louis                    Los Angeles

SMJ Advising Editor:

Constance Helfat
Dartmouth College

History and Strategy Research Opening Up the Black Box

This Special Issue will push forward research at the intersection between history and strategy, to further integrate these two disciplines. We welcome empirical papers that apply established and innovative research methodologies to strategy questions by using historical data and records. In particular, we encourage research that uses novel datasets that support tracing over time how organizations, groups and individuals—by acting in a particular historically embedded context, and by mutually interacting—built, implemented and modified strategies. We also call for theoretical modeling that builds on history and provides new insights into the historical implica­tions of strategy.   

Submission deadline: September 30, 2017

Guest Editors:

SMJ Advising Editors:

Sendil Ethiraj            Constance Helfat
London Buisness      Dartmouth College


The proposed special issue for SMJ aims to add to the current knowledge of strategic management of public and non-profit organizations. We are particularly interested in enhancing our understanding of value creation and appropriation when public, non-profit, and private organizations work together to pursue social goals. The improved understanding that results from this special issue will benefit both scholars of and practitioners in businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations. We welcome empirically-driven papers that offer insights on how theories of strategic management can illuminate the challenges of value creation and appropriation within public and non-profit organizations and help build bridges across disciplinary perspectives in an innovative fashion. We also seek theoretical papers that shed light on value creation and appropriation in the public and non-profit interest.  While papers may compare organizational types, we are particularly focused on demonstrating the applicability and limits of theory from the field of strategic management for public and non-profit organizations that may work collaboratively with private organizations.

Submission deadline: February 28, 2017

Guest Editors:      

Sandro Cabral, Insper Institute of Education and Research
Joseph Mahoney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Anita McGahan, University of Toronto
Matthew Potoski, University of California-Santa Barbara                       

SMJ Advising Editors:

Alfonso Gambardella
Will Mitchell

Research in strategy has traditionally focused on the study of competition. More recently, cooperative interorganizational relations have drawn attention, with scholars studying the motivation for forming them and their implications. While competition and cooperation were considered separate modes of interaction between firms, scholars have begun to acknowledge that firms simultaneously engage in these activities. For instance, studies have investigated partners’ competitive behaviors within cooperative relations and explored how firms engage in "coopetition". Nevertheless, cooperative strategy has not been integrated with literature on competitive strategy, and the interplay of competition and cooperation has remained under-researched. This special issue calls for research on the interplay of competition and cooperation that connects these separate streams of research, highlight value creation and appropriation in coopetitive interactions, and sheds light on the coevolution of competition and cooperation, while analyzing their consequences or identifying antecedents and mechanisms that drive their interplay and the trade-offs between them.

The submission deadline was November 2, 2015.

Guest Editors:

Werner Hoffmann, WU-Vienna
Dovev Lavie, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Jeffrey Reuer, University of Colorado Boulder
Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD

A Workshop for authors of invited revisions was held in Rome on June 8-9, 2016, following the SMS Special Conference Rome. The Workshop was sponsored by LUISS Business School and WU Vienna University.

Since Mintzberg and Burgelman started to question the seemingly innocent division between strategy formulation and implementation, many scholars have sought to understand strategy processes and practices in organizations. The Winter and Summer Special Issues on Strategy Processes in Strategic Management Journal in 1992 represented a major milestone in this regard. Since then major progress has taken place on several fronts. The theories of practice and activities have opened new perspectives on strategy processes and practices. Similarly, the so-called linguistic turn in social studies has affected the ways in which strategy scholars usually conceptualize strategy processes. The objective of this Special Issue is to bring together the state of the art of strategy process and practice research and to call for exemplary contributions to extend and bridge the existing streams of research on strategy as it happens in organizations. We see major potential, for example, in the recent research on organizational cognition, evolutionary perspectives, historical analysis, as well as narrative and discursive approaches in contributing to an improved understanding of strategy processes and practices. We are open to a wide range of paradigms within strategic management. In particular, we invite innovative research that enhances theorizing on strategic management through cross-fertilization of ideas across different perspectives.

The submission deadline was August 31, 2015.

Guest Editors:

Robert Burgelman, Stanford University
Steven Floyd, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tomi Laamanen, University of St. Gallen
Saku Mantere, McGill University
Eero Vaara, Aalto University School of Business
Richard Whittington, University of Oxford

Since the founding of the Strategic Management Journal in 1980, strategic management research has grown both in scope and depth. The papers published in the early issues of SMJ focused mainly upon strategic planning practices and techniques and empirical relationships between strategy and firm performance. In the past three and a half decades the subject matter of SMJ has expanded enormously in terms of the phenomena addressed and the theories deployed to explain them. This widening domain of strategic management research is a tribute to the dynamism of the field, yet it also carries with it the risk of fragmentation and the loss of the integrated approach that is an inherent characteristic of strategy.

For these reasons, the Editors of SMJ believe that a Special Issue of SMJ comprising reviews of strategic management research has the potential to make an important contribution to the literature both in appraising the current state of strategic management research and in providing a platform for the future development of the field.

The submission deadline for proposals was April 30, 2014, and the submission deadline for papers was January 15, 2015.


Rodolphe Durand, HEC Paris
Robert Grant, Bocconi University
Tammy Madsen, Santa Clara University

As Strategic Management has continued to evolve and grow as a field, its research base has become predominantly empirical. Quantitative and qualitative empirical studies, which typically include deductive or inductive hypotheses, have grown in absolute and relative terms when compared with purely theoretical contributions. Often these hypotheses are derived from theories that were developed some time ago. While we continue to make progress in refining our understanding of these theories, one wonders if there aren't important questions in the field that are not well covered by existing theories.

The submission deadline was November 1, 2014.


Jary Barney, University of Utah
Richard Burton, Duke University
Donald Hambrick, Penn State University
Richard Makadok, Purdue University
Edward Zajac, Northwestern University

Reproducibility of results lies at the core of modern science. It is vital to building a cumulative body of thought that is reliable. Yet journals relevant to strategic management do not publish replication studies. Recently, the need for replication has become much more apparent as published replications have overturned key results in drug therapy and clinical practice within medical science. Even double blind experimental studies, the gold standard for establishing causal relationships have been questioned. In fact, the need for replication is deeply embedded in the probabilistic logic of estimating statistical significance. Within strategic management, there is potential for data snooping, which can result in exaggerated significance levels. This is exacerbated by the common practice in management research of publishing only supporting results (i.e., significant coefficients). Furthermore, without replication, phenomenon-based empirical regularities, or stylized facts as they are often called, cannot be developed and studied. Such empirical regularities have been and are important in the development of strategic management theory (e.g., learning curves, diversification patterns/performance, conditions favoring joint ventures).

The submission deadline was October 1, 2014.


Richard Bettis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Constance Helfat, Dartmouth College
J. Myles Shaver, University of Minnesota

This special issue of Strategic Management Journal seeks innovations in research methods that will expand the range of questions for which strategic management scholarship can provide reliable answers. Strong research has three attributes: audience, questions, and answers. Influential work asks questions that a particular audience believes are important and provides answers that the audience believes arise from reliable research design. This special issue will help expand the audiences, questions, and answers in the discipline of strategic management scholarship by publishing papers that provide advances in research methods.

The submission deadline was August 31, 2013.


Ashish Arora, Duke University
Michelle Gittelman, Rutgers University
Henrich R. Greve, INSEAD
Sarah Kaplan, University of Toronto
John Lynch, University of Colorado Boulder
Will Mitchell, University of Toronto
Nicolaj Siggelkow, University of Pennsylvania

Design choices about an organization’s architecture represent some of the most powerful strategic levers available to the top management of the modern corporation. However, we know surprisingly little about the antecedents and consequences of those choices. We accept that optimal design choice is contingent on environmental and internal fit considerations, but we suggest that the precise connections need revisiting. Most of the theoretical knowledge base in this area is decades old, but this situation has begun to change due to conceptual and methodological innovations in the study of organizations in recent years. This special issue offers an opportunity to build on these developments and offer significant, new advances.

The submission deadline was January 15, 2010.

Special Issue Co-Editors:

Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School
Phanish Puranam, London Business School
Michael Tushman, Harvard Business School

SMJ Advising Editor:
Edward Zajac, Northwestern University

Advising Editor:
Richard Bettis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The SMJ invited submissions for a special issue focusing on new theoretical and empirical research on the psychological origins of Strategic Management. This special issue seeks to merge traditional and modern perspectives in Strategic Management by exploring the psychological foundations of executive behavior, goal formation, resource formation and deployment, firm performance, strategy implementation and market efficiency. A more explicit recognition of the psychological foundations of strategy offers exciting new directions for research on strategic behavior and firm performance.

The deadline for submissions was January 20, 2009.

Guest Co-Editors:

Craig Fox, UCLA
Dan Lovallo, University of Western Australia
Thomas C. Powell, Oxford University
David Teece, University of California at Berkeley

The SMJ invited submissions for a special issue aiming to develop theory and empirical evidence about whether and why competitive advantages may be becoming less sustainable and how organizations can successfully compete using a series of temporary or dynamic competitive advantages. This issue seeks to develop an enhanced ability to address the following question: What are the implications for the field of strategy if the sustainability of competitive advantage was very rare or nonexistent?  

The deadline for submissions was October 8, 2008.

Guest Co-Editors:

Richard A. D'Aveni, Dartmouth College
Giovanni Battista Dagnino, University of Catania
Ken G. Smith, University of Maryland