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When an A Is NOT an A in Academic Research

  • 1.  When an A Is NOT an A in Academic Research

    Posted 04-02-2023 23:43

    Agafonow, A., & Perez, M. (Forthcoming). "When an A Is NOT an A in Academic Research, or How A-Journal List Metrics Inhibit Exploratory Behaviour in Academia." Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics.


    On account of the leverage that the Academy of Management (AOM) has, via its positioning in the highest tiers of the A-journal lists currently used to adjudicate promotions and tenure evaluations, it is urgent to assess the premises and assumptions upon which the so-called pluralist model of scholarly impact, advocated by academics with executive responsibilities in the AOM, is built. Our findings are that the pluralist model is liable to three crucial problems: ecological bias, specific knowledge and pre-emptive costs. Consistent with extant performance evaluation scholarship, promotions and tenure evaluations must build instead on: (a) a qualitative evaluation of scholarly contributions unencumbered by ordinality assumptions; (b) the narrowing of the span of control of academics, moving supervisory authority away from the line structure and back into the hands of true peers; and (c) muting the incentives that prevent academics from focusing on riskier and long-term horizon outputs, which are pillars in agreement with known accounts of how exploratory behaviour has been successfully managed at IBM, Google, the SAS Institute and Nokia, to name but a few cases.

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    Alejandro Agafonow
    Full Professor
    ESSCA School of Management
    Melbourne VIC