Invitation to Contributors

The ASQ logo reads, "Dedicated to advancing the understanding of administration through empirical investigation and theoretical analysis." The editors interpret that statement to entail three criteria that affect editorial decisions. About any manuscript they ask: does this research (1) advance our understanding of organizing in contexts such as teams, enterprises, or markets; (2) develop a new theoretical account or empirical findings about organizing that challenges previous understandings; (3) address a significant and challenging problem of management? Theory is how we move to further research and improved practice, but new empirical findings that disconfirm theory are also valuable. If manuscripts contain no theoretical foundation, their value is suspect.

ASQ asks, "What's interesting here?" But we take pains not to confuse interesting work with work that contains mere novelties, clever turns of phrase, or other substitutes for insight. Instead, we try to identify counterintuitive work that disconfirms prevailing assumptions. Building a coherent, cumulative body of knowledge typically involves research that offers new syntheses or themes, identifies new patterns or causal sequences, or generates new propositions. Interesting work accelerates the development of new theory or new practices.

People submitting manuscripts should clearly articulate what we learn from such endeavors that we did not know before. Some topics in organizational studies have become stagnant, repetitious, and closed. Research in mature fields that does not identify and attempt to correct a serious problem in previously published research is unlikely to advance understanding.

We attach no priorities to subjects for study, nor do we attach greater significance to one methodological style than another. We are receptive to multiple forms of grounding but not to a complete avoidance of theoretical grounding. Consequently, we are open to work based on qualitative or quantitative data collected from archives, the laboratory, or the field, as well as simulations and formal models.

For these reasons, we view all our papers as high-quality contributions to the literature and present them as equals to our readers. The first paper in each issue is not viewed by the editors as the best of those appearing in the issue. Our readers will decide for themselves which of the papers are exceptionally valuable.

We refrain from listing topics in which we are interested. ASQ should seek to publish articles on new topics that have not previously appeared in the journal. Authors should look at what ASQ has published over the last 10 years, and, if there is even a glimmer of precedent, submit the work to ASQ. Manuscripts that are inappropriate will be returned promptly.

We are interested in compact presentations of theory and research, suspecting that very long manuscripts contain an unclear line of argument, multiple arguments, or no argument at all. Each manuscript should contain one key point, which the author should be able to state in one sentence. Digressions from one key point commonly occur when authors cite more literature than is necessary to frame and justify an argument.

We are interested in good writing and see poor writing as a reason to reject manuscripts. We're looking for manuscripts that are well argued and well written. By well argued we mean that the argument is clear and logical; by well written we mean that the argument is accessible and well phrased. Clear writing is not an adornment but a reflection of clear thinking.

A problem common to rejected manuscripts is that authors are unable to evaluate their own work critically and seem to have made insufficient use of colleagues before the work is submitted. Obtaining and responding to comments from trusted colleagues before submitting a manuscript helps authors anticipate reviewers' reactions and will increase the probability of a favorable review.

Preparation of Manuscripts

Submit manuscripts electronically at Use the following guidelines to prepare manuscripts:
  • Include an informative abstract of 200 words or fewer that describes the material presented in the paper, including the question or focus, the type of study reported (e.g., empirical, laboratory, qualitative, field study, etc.), the context (e.g., work groups, Fortune 500 firms, hospitals, cooperatives, etc.), and the major findings. For examples, see abstracts of published work on the ASQ web page (
  • Provide three or four keywords for the paper.
  • Type all copy, except tables, double-spaced in 12-point type. Use footnotes sparingly. Essential material should be incorporated in the text; material with weak relevance should be deleted. Organize the manuscript by using primary, secondary, and tertiary headings (see a recent issue of ASQ for format), rather than numbered headings.
  • To preserve anonymity in the blind-review process, authors should avoid revealing their identity in text through obvious self-references to previous work or in footnotes. If authors cite their own published work or work in progress, however, these references must be included in the references with full bibliographic information. Authors should reference their own work as they would the work of any other scholar. Reviewers will ask what the contribution of a manuscript is above what has already been published and must have this information.
  • Omit italics unless absolutely necessary. Use only abbreviations known to the general public and avoid unnecessary acronyms; spell out an abbreviated term when first used. Avoid parentheses in textual material. Use quotation marks only for direct quotations. Spell out numbers from one to nine and those that begin a sentence. Write out "percent" in text; use percentage sign in tables.
  • Type tables or figures each on separate pages and place them at the end of the manuscript after the references, rather than inserting them in the text. Include a note (i.e., Insert table 1 about here) at the point in text where they are referenced. Present graphic material so that the meaning is immediately clear by including a title on every figure and table and labeling axes and diagrams.
  • Use the active voice whenever possible, but use "we" only for multiple authors. Use the past tense for discussing earlier studies or presenting methods, samples, data, findings, results, and conclusions. Use the present tense for discussing tables or figures as they are presented in text.
  • Define a term accurately when it is first used and use it consistently with that meaning throughout. Find the best way to express an idea once, rather than repeating the same idea in different words. Do not use a clause where a phrase will do or a phrase where a word will do. Avoid jargon; do not mistake it for technical terminology.


Discuss only literature that pertains directly to the thesis or research of the paper and make it clear how it relates. Cite a representative set of references when there is a large literature. References to articles, books, and other source works should be cited in the text by noting—in parentheses—the last name of the author, the year of publication, and page numbers for direct quotations or to refer to a point in a book. Do not use "ibid.," "op. cit.," or "loc. cit."; specify subsequent citations of the same source in the same way as the first citation. In the reference section, list every reference cited in the manuscript; do not list a reference that isn't cited in the text. Provide authors' last names and initials, year, title, volume and pages of journals, editors' names and inclusive pages for chapters in edited volumes, and place of publication and publisher for books. Use the following guidelines in citing references:
  • If the author's name is in the text, follow it with the year in parentheses [e.g., "Glaser (1992) recommended . . ."]. If the author's name is not in the text, insert it in parentheses, followed by a comma and the year. Multiple references are listed chronologically in parentheses, separated by semicolons.
  • For two or three authors, give all the authors' last names in text each time the work is cited (e.g., Haidt, Koller, and Dias, 1993); if there are four or more authors, give only the first author's name followed by "et al." and the date for each citation (e.g., Sasovova et al., 2010).
  • Page numbers, to indicate a passage in a book or to give the source of a quotation, follow the year and are preceded by a colon.
  • If there is more than one reference to the same author in the same year, postscript the date with a, b, c, etc. (e.g., Chan, 2009a, 2009b).
  • For a source that is forthcoming or in press, give an estimated year of publication and use that date for citations in text. Add "in press" or "forthcoming" in parentheses at the end of the bibliographic information in the references.
List all references as an appendix to the manuscript. Alphabetize by author and, for each author, list in chronological sequence. List the authors' last names and initials. Use no italics or abbreviations. Use one tab between the date and the title. See examples:


Burt, R. S.
2000 "The network structure of social capital." In B. M. Staw and R. I. Sutton (eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, 22: 345–423. New York: Elsevier/JAI.

Chan, C. S.-c.
2009a "Creating a market in the presence of cultural resistance: The case of life insurance in China." Theory and Society, 38: 271–305.

Chan, C. S.-c.
2009b "Invigorating the content in social embeddedness: An ethnography of life insurance transactions in China." American Journal of Sociology, 115: 712–754.

Davis, G. F.
1993 "Who gets ahead in the market for corporate directors?' Paper presented at the Academy of Management Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Glaser, B.
1992 Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press.

Haidt, J., S. Koller, and M. Dias
1993 "Affect, culture, and morality, or is it wrong to eat your dog?" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65: 613–628.

Hambrick, D. C.
2005 "Upper echelons theory: Origins, twists, and turns, and lessons learned." In M. A. Hitt and K. G. Smith (eds.), Great Minds in Management: 109–128. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kenny, D. A.
1998 "Multiple factor models."

Sasovova, Z., A. Mehra, S. P. Borgatti, and M. C. Schippers
2010 "Network churn: The effects of self-monitoring personality on brokerage dynamics." Administrative Science Quarterly, 55: 639–670.