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 challenge 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 and established research. 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 lack 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.

Presentation of Evidence

Our goal is to publish the best and potentially most impactful research in the field of organizations. We encourage a spirit of curiosity, engagement, and rigor in those submitting to ASQ and welcome submissions using a wide diversity of epistemological, theoretical, methodological, and empirical approaches to the study of organizations and organizing. Because strong papers written in an author’s own style and voice have the best chance of making a contribution, ASQ offers authors significant freedom in how to present evidence so that papers can be tailored to fit authors’ theories, methods, and empirical contexts. The inductive qualitative papers published in ASQ already provide good examples of how authors can use that greater freedom in deciding how to present their evidence compellingly and make novel contributions to theory. We encourage authors of quantitative work to use that same freedom to draw on examples of how evidence is presented in the best papers in neighboring disciplines, or even in the natural sciences, when doing so can help them clarify their message and produce a stronger contribution.

A variety of evidence components and additional analyses (not simply alternative statistical models) may be useful to authors, for example, graphing the distribution of the outcome authors are explaining or the distribution of the main independent variables and how they covary with the outcome; mapping outcomes that occur across space or time if the explanatory variables are also spatial or unfold or change over time; or showing distributions of key variables if they differ from the usual (normal) distributions and are substantively interesting. There are now many novel ways of displaying data graphically that convey much information in a compact space. Authors could also examine whether new insights can be gained from using alternative variables for the main constructs or analyzing subsamples to provide useful comparisons or refined hypotheses.

We respect that it is part of a researcher’s craft to draw from the full line of evidence components available. The presentation of evidence should follow the authors’ vision of how to best present the theoretical and empirical contribution, selecting the components that make the paper easiest to understand and most compelling for readers. The reviewers and editor can help authors refine presentations of evidence to showcase the contribution, and sometimes make suggestions on how papers can be improved through adding displays of evidence, while staying true to the authors’ voice and intentions. We welcome submissions from authors who think seriously about how best to present their contribution. When manuscripts that break the established patterns and present the most compelling additional evidence become more frequent among our submissions, our reviewers and editors will have one more dimension of quality to use in selecting papers for publication.

Submission Guidelines

Submit manuscripts in Word format to the online ScholarOne submission system at The site does not accept pdf files for upload. (Authors who are unable to submit anything but pdf files must contact the ASQ Editorial Office to ask a system administrator to upload those files for them. Should the article be accepted for publication, authors will have to convert pdf text files to Word for copy editing.) Upload a title page, with contact information for all authors, and be sure that all authors’ names are entered into the manuscript submission form.

  • A submitted manuscript should not be under review for publication in another outlet (e.g., book chapter, journal) while it is under review at ASQASQ does accept submissions of papers that have been accepted for publication in much shortened form in the Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings.
  • Authors should not re-submit a manuscript that ASQ has rejected at an earlier time.
  • Authors should take reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity of the blind review process and avoid potential conflicts of interest in the submission process. This includes not requesting as reviewers people who have previously seen the paper, previous or current coauthors, or colleagues at the authors’ institutions. The editors are not obliged to accept the author’s suggestions for preferred or non-preferred reviewers. Authors should also refrain from requesting handling editors who would have a conflict of interest in handling the paper. Please remove submitted manuscripts from public websites during the review process to the degree that is possible.
  • Cover letter: Please copy and paste a cover letter into the submission form that lists people who have already viewed the paper, members of thesis committees and colleagues who would have a conflict of interest in reviewing the paper, and any other circumstances that might affect the integrity of the blind review process. It is not useful to include a description or summary of the paper in the cover letter. Authors should use the cover letter to tell the editor whether any of the data in a submitted manuscript have been published elsewhere or are used in manuscripts under review in another outlet and how the submitted manuscript differs. Authors are asked to upload manuscripts using the same data and under review elsewhere as part of their ASQ submission, using the file designation “Additional Editorial File.” Files with this designation will be available to the editors but not to reviewers.

Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

  • ASQ does not have page limits, but we favor manuscripts that offer high intellectual value per page. Because of the difficulty of finding scholars who are willing to review very long manuscripts, we suggest, as a general guideline, that authors aim for manuscripts of 45 pages or fewer of text (not including references, tables, figures, or appendices). Editors reserve the option of returning very long manuscripts to authors for cutting before considering them for review.
  • Include an informative abstract of 200 words or fewer. Good abstracts describe the material presented in the paper, including the question or focus, the type of study reported (e.g., empirical, laboratory, qualitative, field, network study, etc.), the context and in what country it was done if that’s important to context (e.g., work groups, Fortune 500 firms, hospitals in Canada, cooperatives in Germany, factories in China, biotechnology firms), the main data source, and the most significant findings. The better your abstract, the higher web search results. See abstracts of published work on the ASQ web page ( for examples.
  • Provide three or four keywords for the paper from the ASQ ScholarOne keyword list.
  • Type all copy, except tables, double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman type. Tables may be single spaced and in smaller fonts, if necessary, for formatting. 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 and acronyms known to the general public and avoid acronyms invented only to save page space; 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 each table or figure on separate pages at the end of the manuscript after the references, rather than inserting it in the text. Include a note (i.e., Insert table 1 about here) at the point in text where a table or figure is 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 for presenting methods. Use the present tense for discussing tables or figures as they are presented in text (e.g., “Model 3 in table 1 supports hypothesis 2, that…).
  • 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.

References: To avoid symbolic or ceremonial references, discuss only literature that pertains directly to the thesis or research of the paper, and make it clear how it relates to your work. 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 number references or use “ibid.,” “op. cit.,” or “loc. cit.”; specify subsequent citations of a source in the same way as the first citation. In the reference section, list every reference cited in the manuscript and remove those not cited in text. 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). For four or more authors, give only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” and the date (e.g., Sasovova et al., 2010) in each citation, including the first one.
  • 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 but not yet available, 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. If the source is published online ahead of print and is available, give the name of the publication (and “forthcoming”), the online publication date, and the DOI identifier, showing where the source can be found.
  • For an online source, cite the publication date of the source if there is one, or the date that the source was accessed, and provide the URL where the source can be found.

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.

Hoberg, G., and G. Phillips

2016 “Text-based network industries and endogenous product differentiation.” Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming), published online ahead of print.

Kenny, D. A.

1998 “Multiple factor models.”

Pray, L.

2002 “Interdisciplinarity in science and engineering: Academia in transition.” Science Career Magazine. Accessed at

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.

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