Advancing Theory with Review Articles
Caroline Gatrell and
John E. Prescott
Journal of Management Studies, 2020, vol. 57, issue 2, 351-376
Reviewing a body of work presents unique opportunities for making a theoretical contribution. Review articles can make readers think theoretically differently about a given field or phenomenon. Yet, review articles that advance theory have been historically under‐represented in Journal of Management Studies. Accordingly, the purpose of this editorial is to propose a multi‐faceted approach for fashioning theoretical contributions in review articles, which we hope will inspire more authors to develop and submit innovative, original, and high‐quality theory‐building review articles. We argue that advancing theory with review articles requires an integrative and generative approach. We propose a non‐exhaustive set of avenues for developing theory with a review article: exposing emerging perspectives, analysing assumptions, clarifying constructs, establishing boundary conditions, testing new theory, theorizing with systems theory, and theorizing with mechanisms. As a journal, Journal of Management Studies is a journal of ideas – new ideas; ideas drawn from reflections on extant theory and ideas with potential to change the way we understand and interpret theory. With this in mind, we think that advancing theory with review articles is an untapped source of new ideas.
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