Academy of Management Journal

Research Forums
Information for Contributors
Style Guide for Authors
Electronic Submission
Reviewer Guidelines
Editorial Team
Previous Editorial Team
Author Resources
Best Article Awards
Ordering Information
Article Index
Copyright Permission
AOM Home

Guidelines for Reviewers (2007-2010)


If you are a reviewer for The Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), please take a moment to update your contact information in the Manuscript Central system. The Manuscript Central system is not linked to the Academy’s database. Changes made to your “MY AOM” account are not automatically transferred to Manuscript Central. Therefore, in order for the editorial team to effectively communicate with you, we need your correct email address. We ask that you do not create duplicate accounts in the system.

Access your AMJ/Manuscript Central account here.

After logging in to the system, please click on the “Edit Account” feature located on the upper-right corner of the home page. Please scroll through the pages, updating your contact information and/or keywords as necessary. Please be sure to click on the “Finish” button to save your updates. You may contact the AMJ Managing Editor, Michael Malgrande, with any questions.

The Academy of Management Journal (AMJ) publishes empirical studies relevant to all areas of management. Our primary requirement for publication is that the paper makes a significant contribution to empirical knowledge and theory in management.

In order to provide high-quality feedback to authors, it is important that all reviewers are aware of AMJ's Mission Statement:

The mission of the Academy of Management Journal is to publish empirical research that tests, extends, or builds management theory and contributes to management practice. All empirical methods-including, but not limited to, qualitative, quantitative, field, laboratory, and combination methods-are welcome. To be published in AMJ, a manuscript must make strong empirical and theoretical contributions and highlight the significance of those contributions to the management field. Thus, preference is given to submissions that test, extend, or build strong theoretical frameworks while empirically examining issues with high importance for management theory and practice. AMJ is not tied to any particular discipline, level of analysis, or national context.

Importance of the Review Process

AMJ's reputation and contribution to the field depend upon our publishing the best work available. Thus, we must attract the best research. AMJ competes for the best available manuscripts by having the largest and widest readership among all management journals. However, we also have another competitive advantage: AMJ's excellent reputation for short manuscript turnaround time and very high quality reviews. The timeliness and quality of our review process reflect well on all who participate in it.


We take deadlines for returning reviews seriously at AMJ because we know that timely feedback is important to our authors.

  • Quick Feedback: We all know how anxiety-provoking the wait for a decision letter can be. The sooner you return your review, the sooner the authors can hear from us about the fate of their submission, and the more the authors will appreciate AMJ.
  • Late Reviews: If one reviewer out of three is late, it can ruin the on-time work of the other reviewers. Thus, we hope you will be able to review the paper as requested and return the review within the expected time frame. If, however, you cannot make a review deadline, please let the AMJ office know. We would prefer that you retain manuscripts for which your review will be only slightly delayed (i.e., two weeks or less) because it takes time to find alternative reviewers. If occasionally you feel that you will be seriously late with a review (more than 2 weeks after the due date), please notify the AMJ office immediately so that a substitute reviewer can be found.

Developmental Reviews

It is important that authors learn from the reviews and feel that they have benefited from the AMJ review process. Therefore, it is never enough just to say that you do or don't like a paper.

  • Be Specific: It is crucial that you tell the author what the problems are and how these problems can be addressed (where possible). This advice should be in the form of specific comments, reactions, and suggestions. The more specific you can be, the more helpful your review. It is also helpful to the author (and action editor) if you number your points or paragraphs to facilitate communication in the Action Editor's letter.
  • Be Constructive: Even if a paper appears beyond salvation, it is still important that your review be constructive. If the problems cannot be fixed in the current study, try to suggest how the authors could improve their chances in their next research venture.
  • Identify Strengths: While it is important to identify critical weaknesses, it is equally important to identify major strengths. One of the most important tasks for a reviewer is to distinguish between limitations that can be fixed in a revision and those that definitely cannot. You are doing a great service to the field any time you can help an author shape a mediocre manuscript into an insightful contribution.
  • Consider Contribution: Technical correctness and theoretical coherence are obvious criteria for a successful submission, but don't forget to consider the overall contribution that the manuscript offers. There is no point in our publishing a technically correct and theoretically coherent article if the contribution it offers is not meaningful, interesting, or important.
  • Non-English Native Authors: Occasionally you will be asked to review submissions from authors whose native language is not English; in those cases, it will also be important for you to distinguish between the quality of the writing and the quality of the ideas that the writing conveys. These may be good even if they are not expressed well.
  • Uncertain Issues: If there are issues about which you are not sure in your review, you might temper your criticisms with an expression of your uncertainty. Better still, take a few minutes to check your facts, if at all possible. Incorrect statements in reviews reflect badly on all of us.

Finally, please do NOT specify your recommendation (accept, reject, or revise) in the comments to the authors. Your recommendation should be made only in private to the Action Editor, who is charged with making the final decision on the manuscript.

Friendly Reviews

It is important that you try to be "author-friendly" in the tone of your reviews. This may be your toughest task as a reviewer. As we all know, someone has put a lot of time and effort into every submission we get, so it is important to treat authors and their work with respect, even if you disagree or find fault with what they have written.

  • Personalized Writing Style: When you write your review, imagine what you would say if you were actually giving the authors feedback in person. We ask that you try to personalize your writing style, for instance by using "you" rather than "the author," and "your paper" rather than "the author's paper," in writing your review.
  • Don¹t Comment on Authors: Your comments should always be about the paper, not about the authors. Be tough on the issues, not on the authors.
  • Support: Always try to find something supportive to say; authors are more likely to appreciate what you think they did wrong if they think you appreciate what they did right. You might think of the good-news/bad-news/good-news style of feedback: begin with something positive and end with something positive. Sandwiching the negative criticism between complimentary comments makes it easier for the author to accept the criticism.
  • Don't be Two-Faced: Although we want supportive and friendly reviews, we do not want reviews that are overly kind in the "Comments to Authors," but very negative in the private "Comments to the Editor." Such reviews place the Action Editor in the very awkward position of having to reject articles despite seemingly positive reviews that are not, in reality, positive. It is good to have empathy for authors, but not to be dishonest with them about the extent of your concerns.

Double-blind Reviews

AMJ's policy of "double-blind" review means that the reviewer and the author do not know the identity of the other. This means that you should not know or guess who wrote the paper. Such knowledge is likely to introduce potential bias in the evaluation.

  • Objectivity: Should you have any doubt of your ability to be objective, please request not to review it.
  • Confidentiality: Reviewers should not discuss any manuscript with anyone other than the Action Editor at any time.

Pointers on the Substance of the Review

Below are a few pointers on what to look for in a manuscript.

  • Theory: Does the paper test, create, or extend management theory in a meaningful way? Does the study inform or improve our understanding of prior theory? Are major concepts clearly defined?
  • Literature Review: Does the paper cite appropriate literature and provide proper credit to existing work on the topic? If not, can you offer important references that the author has missed? Does the paper contain an appropriate number of references (i.e., neither over-referencing nor under-referencing)?
  • Method: Do the sample, measures, methods, observations, procedures, and statistical analyses ensure internal and external validity? Are the statistical procedures used correctly and appropriately? Are the major assumptions of the statistical techniques reasonably well met (i.e., no major violations)?
  • Integration: Does the study provide a good test of the theory and hypotheses, or sufficient empirical grounds for building new theory? Is the method chosen -- either qualitative or quantitative -- appropriate for the research question and theory?
  • Contribution: Does the paper make a new and meaningful contribution to the management literature in terms of theory, empirical knowledge, and management practice? Is the topic important and interesting? Is the length of the paper commensurate with its contribution?
  • Citations: Have you given proper reference or citation to the original source of the comments that you write in the review if they are taken from others' work (or even your own)?

These are intended as general guidelines for reviewing for AMJ; if you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the editors. No journal can ever be better than the quality and dedication of its reviewers. We appreciate your willingness to take time away from your own research and teaching to review and assist the work of others. Reviewing is a crucial contribution you make to the progress of our field.

As a small token of our appreciation, we list the names of all ad hoc reviewers from a given year in the following year's February issue of AMJ.

The AMJ Team

R. Duane Ireland, Editor

Peter Bamberger, Jason Colquitt, Micki Kacmar, Dave Ketchen, Elizabeth Morrison, Mike Pratt, W. Gerry Sanders, and Wenpin Tsai, Associate Editors

Michael Malgrande, Managing Editor