A paper in one of the quality journals of Management Studies is much more important as a unit of measurement than as a contribution to knowledge. It measures academic performance and determines much academic funding. There is consequently some pressure to publish in quality journals. But quality journals are defined in terms that are themselves defined in terms of quality journals – a circularity that explains both the paper's title and the frustration of those who do not mix in these circles. We examine the gamesmanship of publishing in quality journals. Findings from a survey of heads of Management Studies departments in UK universities suggest that such gamesmanship is common. Cunning and calculation now support scholarship in Management Studies. Gamesmanship will remain common until the rewards for publishing attach to the content of papers, to what is published rather than where it is published. We propose a ‘Tinkerbell Solution’: without belief in the value of a paper in a quality journal, the game is no longer worth playing.
Change in the organization is usually analysed in the context of the organization in which the change is taking place. This is quite understandable and yields recognition of those internal factors most instrumental in the change process. From this organizational perspective, external factors seem to play a marginal role in change, at most a catalytic role. Change is always relative, but not simply to what the organization has done before. Organizational change should also be relative to what is going on outside the organization. What appears to be major progress from an organizational perspective may look like stagnation in a wider context. This paper suggests that notions of the “learning organization” have often emphasied internal aspects of the change process and neglected the external. In particular, they seem to have paid little attention to the essential contribution of external information to internal change. Information is so fundamental to the learning required for deliberate change that it is not unreasonable to see change as an information process. This view affords an information perspective of change in the organization, and a revealing contrast to the usual organizational perspective. Change in the organization is seen as a process in which the finding and acquisition of external information are critical. So, too, is mixing these external bits of information with those already in use within the organization. The result is not just another model of what is already understood about change in the organization. It has profound implications for those who seek to understand and manage the process of change. The information perspective indicates that organizational change is largely dependent on the information activities of individual employees acting on their own account as much as that of the organization. These activities may be—and sometimes must be—beyond the control of the organization. Thus, those who would manage change face the challenge of managing without control. The information perspective suggests that the concentration on structure and control inherent in notions of the learning organization may be mimical to the real learning required for organizational change.
Publication in the top journals of management studies is highly skewed. Very few authors publish in these top journals. They are said to be the best few, on the assumption that skew indicates quality. Yet, skew is natural in any distribution and would occur in the absence of all quality. Peer review is supposed to ensure that this cannot happen, but pressure to publish in top journals puts demands on the peer review system it was never intended to bear. One result is that the skewed few tend to be the same few. We look at how this is arranged. We investigate the citation of the skewed few. We find much self citation, mutual citation and group citation. This behaviour is encouraged by the paramount importance of the journal impact factor. The article looks at how this indicator has been contrived for commercial rather than academic reasons, and considers some of the consequences.
Science parks—high technology property developments associated with universities—have suddenly proliferated in Britain. Local authorities, universities and public sector development agencies are now eager to exploit what seems an obvious way of stimulating high technology industry. Though much of their enthusiasm is a product of self interest, it is justified by arguments that science parks provide conditions conducive to high technology industry's prosperity. These arguments are hard to accept, but then so too is the reasoning that perceives easy and instant benefits from high technology. Such euphoria is in stark contrast to the reality that will probably face many British science parks. Keywords: science parks, high technology, universities, Britain, information flow.
Publication in quality journals has become a major indicator of research performance in UK universities. This paper investigates the notion of 'quality journal' and finds dizzying circularity in its definitions. Actually, what a quality journal is does not really matter: agreement that there are such things matters very much indeed. As so often happens with indicators of performance, the indicator has become the target. So, the challenge is to publish in quality journals, and the challenge rewards gamesmanship. Vested interests have become particularly skilful at the game, and at exercising the winners' prerogative of changing the rules. All but forgotten in the desperation to win the game is publication as a means of communicating research findings for the public benefit. The paper examines the situation in Management Studies, but the problem is much more widespread. It concludes that laughter is both the appropriate reaction to such farce, and also, perhaps, the stimulus to reform.
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