Discoveries-through-Prose empower authors to craft their manuscripts in nontraditional ways that make for tighter, more engaging narratives.
In recent years, management scholars have noted—and lamented—the absence of engaging writing in our field (e.g., Alvesson & Gabriel, 2013; Caulley, 2008; Dane, 2011; Dane & Rockmann, 2021; Pollack, 2021; Tourish, 2020). Among other problems, this lack of engaging writing limits our ability to effectively engage a variety of audiences, thus inhibiting the reach of our work. AMD has launched Discoveries-through-Prose to address this area for improvement in management scholarship.
The goal of Discoveries-through-Prose is to empower authors to craft their manuscripts in non-traditional ways that make for tighter, more engaging narratives. Narratives in peer-review papers are often fragmented or underdeveloped. Consider the following observation by a science writer, concerning the typical experience of engaging with academic work:
One lesson I’ve learned is that it can take work to piece together the story underlying a paper. If I call scientists and simply ask them to tell me about what they’ve done, they can offer me a riveting narrative of intellectual exploration. But on the page, we readers have to assemble the story for ourselves. (Zimmer, 2020)
In writing for Discoveries-through-Prose, you can—and should—provide a riveting narrative. Your story should speak for itself, so that “no assembly is required” by the reader.
What are the core elements of a Discoveries-through-Prose article?
As with all AMD articles, Discoveries-through-Prose articles must connect directly to management and organizational research. Because AMD is a “big tent” journal representing the entire academy—encompassing micro, meso, and macro perspectives on behavior—a wide range of research topics are suitable for publication in Discoveries-through-Prose, provided the authors make the connections to the field evident.
Also, as with all AMD articles, Discoveries-through-Prose articles can be based on any empirically grounded methodology. Thus, findings based on experiments, surveys, archival records, interviews, and ethnographic observations (among other possible sources of data) are all viable candidates for consideration. By design, these articles do not require direct evidence of underlying mechanisms. Nevertheless, authors should be able to provide preliminary evidence or compelling speculation concerning what might account for the results or phenomena of note.
Why would I submit to Discoveries-through-Prose?
There may be many motivations for doing so, including:
- You are interested in writing a galvanizing piece akin to a newspaper or magazine feature article reporting on your empirical exploration.
- You are bored with the traditional structure of journal articles and would like to try something different.
- You wish to work on your creative writing skills to make your academic writing more engaging or develop your capacity to write for a broader range of audiences.
What are the page and reference limits for a Discoveries-through-Prose article?
- Under 20 pages of standard double-spaced text, not including references, tables, figures, appendices, title page, and abstract
- Fewer than 20 references
How should a Discoveries-through-Prose article be structured?
We are all familiar with the traditional boilerplate structure for publishing in academic journals—introduction, literature review, methodology, analysis, results, and discussion. Discoveries-through-Prose articles should not conform to this structure. In fact, because these submissions must be less than 20 pages of standard text, authors should privilege parsimony and consider how to distill their contribution into a concise yet coherent framework. Think of a Discoveries-through-Prose article as a feature-length article that might appear in a newspaper or magazine (e.g., Bloom, 2014; Gawande, 2011; Weingarten, 2007). You have the freedom in this format to simply tell the story (Pollock & Bono, 2013; Ragins, 2012), and thus engage your readers from start to finish. Some options for you to think about with regard to structure:
- Place your methodology and perhaps even some of your findings in tables/appendices.
- Incorporate data throughout the entire piece in a clear and transparent manner.
- Use succinct titles and headings, tight paragraphs, and smooth transitions to make your work accessible for as wide of an audience as possible (including students and practitioners of management, and people who value high-quality feature writing).
- Do not use traditional academic headings (e.g., theory, methods, findings, discussion). Instead, use headings unique to your paper’s narrative that will captivate the reader.
It is easier to publish an AMD Discoveries-through-Prose than a traditional AMD paper?
No. The distinction between Discoveries-through-Prose articles and traditional AMD papers is not simply a matter of page length. One of the benefits—and challenges—of publishing such an article is liberation from the structures to which we are typically tethered. Executed effectively, the entire article should be quite readable for a broad range of audiences. A Discoveries-through-Prose article should be comprehensible and compelling in the hands of colleagues, students, managers, journalists, relatives, and friends. This type of article houses a clear, well-specified insight. It should be easy for anyone reading the article to appreciate and summarize its focus.
How much creativity is welcome?
Discoveries-through-Prose provides authors with a rare opportunity: license to innovate. This license is not limited to the manuscript’s structure alone. Engaging writing is valued, as well. Discoveries-through-Prose encourages personal voice, creative expression, and emotional content—provided clarity is not sacrificed for the sake of style. Done skillfully, writing can be both clear and creative. Discoveries-through-Prose articles can serve to illustrate this point.
Are commentaries or “thought pieces” welcome for Discoveries-through-Prose?
No. As with all AMD manuscripts, Discoveries-through-Prose submissions should focus on empirical exploration, studies with compelling phenomena without prior theory, or theoretical frameworks.
For representative examples of Discoveries-through-Prose articles, please check AMD In-Press articles. Any Discoveries-through-Prose articles are marked as such.
To submit a manuscript: go to Manuscript Central and follow the directions.
Caulley, D. N. 2008. Making qualitative research reports less boring: The techniques of writing creative nonfiction. Qualitative Inquiry, 14: 424-449.
Dane, E. 2011. Changing the tune of academic writing: Muting cognitive entrenchment. Journal of Management Inquiry, 20: 332-336.
Pollock, T. G., & Bono, J. E. 2013. Being Scheherazade: The importance of storytelling in academic writing. Academy of Management Journal, 56: 629-634