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Reviewer Resources

Writing Developmental Reviews: Video Interviews with Award Winning Reviewers

Interview with Craig Crossland

Interview with Jonathan Bundy

Interview with Wendy Smith

Interview with Jan Heide

From the Editor Essays on Reviewing

July 2015 Ballinger & Johnson - Your First Review

January 2015 Ragins - Developing Our Authors

Reviewer Guidelines

In order to provide high-quality feedback to authors, it is important that all AMR reviewers are aware of our Mission Statement:

The mission of the Academy of Management Review (AMR) is to publish new theoretical insights that advance our understanding of management and organizations. AMR is receptive to a variety of perspectives, including those seeking to improve the effectiveness of, as well as those critical of, management and organizations. Submissions to AMR must extend theory in ways that permit the development of testable knowledge-based claims. To do this, researchers can develop new management and organization theory, significantly challenge or clarify existing theory, synthesize recent advances and ideas into fresh, if not entirely new theory, or initiate a search for new theory by identifying and delineating a novel theoretical problem. The contributions of AMR articles often are grounded in "normal science disciplines" of economics, psychology, sociology, or social psychology, as well as nontraditional perspectives, such as the humanities. AMR publishes novel, insightful and carefully crafted conceptual work that challenges conventional wisdom concerning all aspects of organizations and their roles in society.

Importance of the Review Process

AMR's reputation depends upon publishing the best theoretical work available. Part of our ability to attract the best work is by providing very high quality, developmental and timely reviews.

Timeliness of Reviews

It is critical that when invited to review for AMR, you not only respond quickly to our invitation but that you complete it on time. We ask that you respond to the invitation to review within 7 days of the invitation and to complete the full review within 30 days. Put yourself in the position of the authors. Waiting for feedback on your work can be a very anxious time. If even one reviewer of three is late, all the hard work of the other two reviewers is jeopardized, as is the AMR reputation. If you cannot complete your review within the deadline, please contact the AMR office. We will grant extensions to the deadline on an as needed basis. Therefore, if you only need a few more days or week to complete a review please request an extension. We encourage you to complete the review because finding additional reviewers compromises the review turnaround time and adds to author anxiety. However, if you cannot do the review meet the deadline (even with an extension), please let us know so that we may find a replacement reviewer and not hold up feedback to the author(s).

Quality of Reviews

Returning your review on time is only part of the equation. The most important element of your review is the quality of your comments to the author. Remember, you are writing to a real person about his/her work, to which s/he has devoted a good deal of time and effort. Try to take the author's perspective and put yourself in his/her shoes. Remember, your review not only helps authors realize the potential of a particular manuscript, but also builds their capacity for future work.

Tips for Developmental Reviewing*

Instead of focusing only on shortcomings, the developmental reviewer takes the role of an informed reader who encourages authors and helps them take their work to the next level. The reviewer moves from the role of critical gatekeeper to colleague.

Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with the author. Picture the author as a colleague who asked you to review her paper. You would point out the paper's shortcomings but would also take the next step in providing ideas for how she could address them as she moves forward with her work. You would try to find the hidden gems in her work, even if they are buried in the manuscript. You would listen to her and try to understand her perspective, even if you hold different views or approaches. Instead of giving advice, you may pose questions that help her develop her ideas and recognize potential boundary conditions or assumptions in her work.

What Developmental Reviewing Is (and Isn't)

Is not:

saying only positive things about a paper, ignoring flaws or lowering standards.

giving a long list of criticisms sandwiched between token positive statements at the beginning and end of the review.

ghostwriting, taking over the author's voice, or telling them what to do.


identifying shortcomings but also offering constructive suggestions on how to address them.

helping authors find the "diamonds" in their work.

listening to authors and trying to understand their perspective.

treating authors as colleagues and peers, not junior apprentices.

(*From: Ragins, 2015. Developing our Authors. Access to this essay and information on how to become a developmental reviewer can be found here:  Development Reviewing Resource.)

Other Reviewing Tips

Be specific and number your points. Only with specificity will authors be able to recognize and potentially overcome the weaknesses you see. Numbering your comments and providing some indication of how significant each comment is in relation to the others is helpful for both the action editor and the authors. It helps to list your core concerns first in your review.

Remember, you're not asked to be a copy editor. Many of the authors submitting to AMR are nonnative English speakers. From time to time you may get a manuscript that has room for improvement in writing style, grammar, etc. Try to differentiate between the quality of the ideas and the quality of the writing. Your role is to make suggestions where needed to improve the quality of writing, not to correct each and every typo. Stay focused on the big picture (the ideas).

Help point the authors in the direction of other relevant work. If you believe there is other work the authors will find helpful to substantiate the manuscript, please provide that direction in your review. You need not provide a full reference (although authors will appreciate it if you do), but please provide author names and year of publication. It is not enough to say there is work the authors need to consider, for example, without providing some examples. This is particularly important when referring authors to work outside management for consideration. Be consistent. One of the worst things a reviewer can do is pile praise upon the authors and then recommend the action editor reject the manuscript. Your message to the authors and editor need to be consistent, but… never include your editorial suggestion in the review. AMR's Associate Editors are independent decision makers and not vote counters. Recognize that while you may believe there is a clear decision about a manuscript other reviewers and the editor may disagree. It is the Action Editor's responsibility to make the editorial decision on each manuscript. If you doubt your ability to provide a review without bias, please contact us to discuss the invitation to review. Reviewers should never share or discuss a paper they are reviewing with anyone other than the action editor.

Helpful Hints for Reviewing for AMR:

  • Please use the PDF copy of the manuscript to complete your review. To access it, click on your "Reviewer Center" link and then click on the "View Details" button. Click on the PDF icon to download a copy of the manuscript.
  • Under Comments to the Author, paste or write your review into the Comments for Authors text box.
  • Does the paper create, extend or advance management theory in a significant way?
  • Is the topic important and interesting? Does the manuscript pass the "so what" test?
  • Are the central constructs defined clearly? Are the underlying causal mechanisms behind proposed relationships explained clearly?
  • Are underlying assumptions clearly recognized and discussed?
  • Does the manuscript contain a well-developed and articulated theoretical framework?
  • Do the propositions (if applicable) logically flow from the theory?
  • Is relevant literature cited accurately? If relevant literature is missing, can you point the authors toward that literature?
  • Does the paper have clear implications for future research?

Is the paper's contribution commensurate with its length?


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