By Dr. Tom Martin
Authors of traditional, pipeline, and idea incubator papers submitted to IBAM Conferences increase their chances of being accepted when they follow a general standardized format. This format, for traditional papers, usually includes sequential sectioning of the paper in which it begins with an Abstract that briefly explains the purpose of the paper, the contribution to the body of knowledge that the research makes and the importance of the research. This needs to catch the attention of the reader and cause them to want to read the manuscript. This is followed by the Introductory Section. This usually means the author has found a theory, model, or phenomenon that could be extended, modified, or explained better through additional conceptual and/or empirical research. This could also be an original approach to explaining some phenomenon of interest.
A Literature Review Section follows and should reflect the author’s familiarity with the history of the phenomenon under investigation. Usually included in this literature review section would be the Propositions/Hypotheses that clearly are related to the phenomenon introduced in the introductory section and are specifically supported by the literature review section. The propositions/hypotheses must be preceded with theory that is well developed and logically leads to the hypotheses. This should be an interesting and compelling story.
In the Methodology or Methods Section and assuming empirical research has been conducted, information about the sample participants, the measures used, the data collection and data analysis techniques are presented. Take a balanced approach here (no need to be a statistician extraordinaire) to be sure the respondents are appropriately sampled and represented, the measures have adequate psychometric properties and the data analytical techniques will generate the type of information that reflects support or non-support of your propositions/hypotheses. It is important to use valid samples and to ensure that the study has adequate power to ensure the study could be replicated with a reasonable chance of producing the same outcomes again.
The Results Section indicates how the empirical data support, partially support or do not support the author’s propositions/hypotheses. Tables, figures, or other means of demonstrating the results must be clearly identified. Report the results without editorial comment here. The discussion section is where you have a change to explain what you think happened.
The final paper section is the Discussion Section in which an overall summary of the author’s investigation is presented, explanation of findings that were not what you expected, along with limitations of the research, suggested future research, and implications for management (since this is an applied management conference).
A traditional empirical paper (refer to excellent samples in the Academy of Management Journal or Journal of Applied Psychology) would normally include all the previously-mentioned sections and subheadings, whereas, a traditional conceptual paper (refer to the Academy of Management Review) would normally include very detailed introduction, old and new literature reviews, and propositional/hypotheses sections, followed by a discussion of how the proposed new research might/should advance the research discipline. A pipeline paper is supposed to have the research completed and is aiming for future publication and therefore, should be held to the high standards of traditional papers. An idea incubator paper is supposed to be presenting a fresh idea or research that is not yet completed and should at least contain specific introduction, literature review and propositions/hypotheses sections and if the research is underway, then some relevant methodology information.
Being succinct and specific in following the formatting of a paper submitted to IBAM tends to minimize the distractions reviewers will have in reviewing the paper and will help them provide legitimate, helpful, and constructive feedback to the authors. Any of the previously- mentioned paper formats should include sections relating to an Introduction, Literature Review, and Propositions/Hypotheses as bare minimum requirements.
Dr. Tom Martin is Professor of Management at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is Chair of IBAM Division II: Organizational Behavior, Theory, and Development. Dr. Martin wishes to thank Dr. Frank Jeffries, Professor, College of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage, for editorial contributions to this blog.
The IBAM 2014 Conference will be held October 9-11, 2014, in Orlando, Florida. Please plan your submissions now around the theme: The Pursuit of New Knowledge. The Call for Papers will be issued in February 2014.