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Meet the editor of... Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management

 

An interview with: Professor Rita Campos e Cunha
Interview by: Margaret Adolphus

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Photo: Rita Campos e Cunha.

Rita Campos e Cunha is associate professor of human resource management and organizational behaviour at the Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. An undergraduate (Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada – ISPA) and master's (New York University) degree in psychology was followed by a doctorate in management at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

Her research interests include the impact of human resource management on company performance, time in organizations, particularly procrastination, and change management and occupational stress. She is the author of several books, articles in international journals, and book chapters, and has won a number of prizes for her research.

About the journal

Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management (MRJIAM) is an international journal dedicated to research on management with an Iberoamerican focus, and to the advancement of management scholarship among scholars and on issues in the region.

Iberoamerica is defined broadly to include the whole of Latin America, Spain and Portugal, and the Latino populations in North America.

MRJIAM is the official journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management (IAM), which is a special interest group of the Academy of Management (AOM). It has been published by Emerald since 2010.


History and mission

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the journal – how it came to be founded, what its objectives are, and the partnership with Emerald?

The decision to have an official journal was taken by the officers of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management soon after it was founded, and the first issue came out in winter 2003.

The idea was to provide new, and possibly unique, opportunities for Iberoamerican scholars to present their work.

While some Iberoamerican researchers, in particular a few young PhDs, are having good publishing careers and being accepted by highly rated journals, a large number are facing difficulties, for a variety of reasons such as language or research focus.

So, when MRJIAM was founded, its objectives coincided with those of the IAM: to foster the development of knowledge and research among Iberoamerican scholars, and indeed, anyone interested in publishing on Iberoamerican issues.

The journal was originally published by M.E. Sharpe, and was acquired by Emerald in November 2009. The partnership with Emerald has been working really well: we now have an electronic version in addition to the paper one, the journal can be accessed through Emerald's database and it is being promoted in a way it never was before.

Late in 2008, I accepted an invitation to become its third editor. I am very grateful though to the two previous editors, Isabel Gutierrez and Elizabeth Cabrera because they worked hard not only to create a steady audience for the journal, but also to establish quality criteria.

What is the relationship between the IAM and the AOM, and between IAM and the journal?

The AOM has several regional affiliates, of which the IAM is one. The relationship between the two organizations is very close.

For example, at the annual AOM conference, there is a full day of professional development workshops specially organized by and for the IAM, and some sessions have been co-sponsored by different divisions of the AOM.

Both organizations are well represented in the journal's editorial advisory board, while I report to the IAM on statistics, development, and major strategic issues.

The fact that MRJIAM is the official journal of the IAM gives it a natural advantage over the competition.

You said earlier that Iberoamerican scholars had difficulty publishing in top journals. What are some of the barriers?

The barriers derive from factors that also create the need for the journal. We are talking about a very large and vibrant region, with interesting challenges and both emerging and developed economies.

However, this emphasis means that topics are a bit idiosyncratic, and perhaps less orthodox, than the mainstream. The world is viewed through a different lens. Such a culturally rich area poses different problems and challenges; research on which does not commonly appear in other journals. For example, we have papers with data from the Brazilian Amazon, from Columbian companies, as well as companies in Catalonia and Portugal.

Then many Iberoamerican scholars have difficulty accessing large databases, so may favour research on topics to which they have easier access. But that doesn't mean that their work has less potential impact or readers. The journal provides an outlet for their research, and will hopefully open up possibilities for collaboration between researchers at an international level.

However, we don't want to publish exclusively about Iberoamerica. We have a small number of articles that will have a global reach, and are not necessarily from Iberoamerican scholars. These contributions reflect different points of view and improve understanding of management across different contexts, cultures, and countries.

We receive submissions from many parts of the world, and our top downloads by country are from Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Thailand, Spain, and Brazil, followed by Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.

Editorial content

What sorts of disciplines do you cover under the general heading of management?

MRJIAM is a generalist management journal, so we cover topics as wide as strategy, organizational behaviour, human resources, entrepreneurship, managerial economics, and corporate government.

We have papers with a theoretical anchor in other disciplines such as psychology, economics and sociology; we definitely consider multidisciplinary approaches. We would look at a paper on marketing or finance if it had implications for management.

You welcome both research and conceptual papers. What are the qualities you are looking for in each of these paper genres?

In general, we look for relevance, contribution to theory and practice, a good idea, a good story with a rigorous approach.

In the more conceptual, theoretical papers we look for new theoretical insights that will contribute to a better understanding of management and organizations. In empirical papers we look for well articulated and sound testing of theoretical propositions, with an appropriate methodology, and with clear implications for theory and for practice. We accept all types of empirical methods, qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both.

MRJIAM is especially interested in new data sources, and methods of testing data. Can you give some examples of interesting use of new sources and methods? What are the difficulties in obtaining data from Iberoamerican countries?

I would put it the other way around, I think it's not easy for a lot of Iberoamerican scholars to get access to large international databases, because they may be working in a less well-endowed research environment.

So we get a large number of articles that collect data collected in Iberoamerican countries as in the examples I quoted earlier, and the use of these data may be the basis of rejection in other international journals, because they do not arise from an "American" problem.

However, we believe that to draw from different and new data sets provides a fresh and innovative approach, because the data are not likely to appear in better known but more "conservative" journals, and that strengthens management research.

In 2010, you launched three interesting new sections for each of your three issues a year. Can you say a bit about these, and how you believe they will enhance the journal's appeal to its readers?

I think a journal, and especially one that is the official journal of the IAM, has a social role, which is to increase the opportunities for research and publication for scholars that are working in less endowed research centres.

This is the case with many scholars in the region, and I am particularly concerned with young PhDs starting their academic careers. They are in any case the future of the journal.

So I decided to introduce three new sections, one for each of our three yearly issues. For the first section, "Young Iberoamerican scholars", our goal is to have testimonials from young academics creating a successful research track record, in which they discuss the challenges they face, and the strategies they follow. These strategies can be totally different, if you compare the contributions of Pascuale Berrone (2010) with that of João Vieira da Cunha (2011).

The second section is called "A life in research", and here we want to talk to an established scholar about what they have achieved and the impact of their research, especially in an Iberoamerican context. It's a motivational piece, just like the first one.

The third section, "To, from and beyond the margins", covers emerging research from under-represented communities, or new questions in a more established field. The idea is to stretch the scope of the journal and open new avenues for researchers.

What are your plans for the journal over the next few years, for example, special issues, increasing the journal's impact etc.?

Inclusion in Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) Web of Knowledge is bound to raise its impact if submission is successful. Additionally, special issues are very important to stimulate interest, and we have one on the way, "The role of noneconomic utilities in family firms", which will look at the relevance of non-economic utilities such as social legitimacy, firm control, location, etc.

I am going to invite researchers to submit more proposals for special issues at the international conference of the IAM in December.

We shall be keeping the three special sections for one more year, at which point we shall reconsider their inclusion.

Use of foreign languages

You allow people to submit drafts of papers in Spanish or Portuguese, although publication is in English. How does the English version get created?

About half the submissions are in English; those written in Spanish generally come from Latin America, while the Portuguese submissions are usually from Brazil.

If these papers are accepted for review, the review process is in the same language, and people can also re-submit in Spanish or Portuguese. However if the paper is accepted for publication it is the responsibility of the authors to provide a good English translation.

But we publish the abstracts in three languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese. This definitely helps us achieve wider coverage because the abstracts can be accessed through electronic search engines. On the other hand, publication of the full text in English, which is the universal research language, helps us achieve a far wider coverage than if we were to publish in one of the other languages.

Academic life

What are some of the challenges faced by academics in your native Portugal?

At the moment Portugal is in the midst of a severe economic crisis. In the private sector, unemployment is going up and currently stands at around 13 per cent.

While public sector jobs tend to be more protected, things are not easy for those in the public services, which includes public universities. And last week a new budget was proposed with huge cuts in public services.

So this means that schools are going to find it more difficult to recruit new faculty, while professors have had salary cuts of 25 per cent. Hopefully this will only be a temporary constraint, and we will be recovering by 2014. According to our constitution, cuts in salary can only be temporary.

However, there are also other issues. I think that the article by the young scholar João Vieira da Cunha (2011) reflects a lot of the problems that Portuguese academics face in their careers.

These have to do with lack of infrastructure for research, and the opportunity to develop one's skills. Portugal is a small country, with a lot of fairly small universities with fairly small departments or research groups. Getting feedback is hard, people have large teaching loads, and access to large databases or research resources is limited. But these challenges are not insurmountable, as many have shown: many Portuguese researchers are very successful internationally.

Besides, in the last two or three years, there has been significant investment in good research centres, the quality of which has been assessed by international standards.

References

Berrone, P. (2010), "Being a scholar in Iberoamerica: a long and winding road", Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 64-74.

da Cunha, J.V. (2011), "Challenges for young management scholars in Iberia and Latin America", Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 79-87.

Publisher's note

Rita Campos e Cunha was interviewed by Margaret Adolphus in October 2011. She may be contacted at [email protected].

Visit the information page for: Management Research