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Organization Theory

Organization Theory

Published in Association with European Group for Organizational Studies

eISSN: 26317877 | ISSN: 26317877 | Current volume: 3 | Current issue: 10-12

Organization Theory (OT), published in collaboration with the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), is a global, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes the best theory and review work in the domain of organization and management studies.

Watch the Organization Theory launch video here.

Broad in Scope

OT publishes theory papers on different subjects within organization and management studies, including work within subject areas such as strategy, organizational behavior, work and employment relations, human resource management, international business, general management, public administration, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, ethics, and gender and diversity.

The journal offers a platform for theory development and theory-related discussions that significantly deepen our understanding of different subject areas; critiquing or deepening received views, and identifying significantly new ways of researching and understanding a particular subject.

OT is European at heart, but global in coverage and reach. The journal aims to cover and disclose to a broad audience the intellectual breadth of theoretical work on organizations and organizing that is carried out around the world.

Look to OT for the best theoretical work in each of these subject areas as well as for work that transcends the boundaries of particular subjects to speak to a broader audience.

A Range of Perspectives and Styles

OT is a multi-disciplinary journal, rooted in the social sciences, inspired by diversity and paradigmatic plurality, and open to commentary and debate.

Given this pluralistic ethos, papers can adopt different theory building styles and can be written up as research articles or perspective-taking essays, in both longer and shorter formats.

Besides regular articles, OT publishes review papers and a series of commissioned essays that speak to the bigger theoretical topics and debates in the field (see our Submission Guidelines for more details on these journal related features).

OT is an open access journal. Publication in the journal is free for authors as the article processing charge (APC) for accepted articles is waived by Sage and/or financed by EGOS.

Organization Theory aims to promote the understanding of organizations, organizing, and the organized in and between societies, through the publication of double-blind peer-reviewed, top quality theoretical papers.

Organization Theory publishes work in all areas of organization theory, including papers that develop new substantive theories or offer theoretical extensions, papers on the history and philosophy of management and organizational theory, meta-theoretical inquiries into the core underpinnings of existing theories, critiques of theories and theoretical developments, and theory-driven reviews of important areas of research.

As a theory journal, OT does not publish papers that draw on empirical data to make data-driven theoretical claims. Such empirical papers are published in Organization Studies – another journal under the auspices of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) – and authors are encouraged to submit their empirical manuscript to this journal.

Editors in Chief
Joep Cornelissen Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Markus Höllerer UNSW Sydney, Australia & WU Vienna, Austria
Associate Editors
Emma Bell The Open University, UK
Eva Boxenbaum CBS, Denmark
Samer Faraj McGill University, Canada
Joel Gehman University of Alberta, Canada
Madeline Toubiana University of Ottawa, Canada
Managing Editor
Sophia Tzagaraki Managing Editor, Greece
Editorial Board
Ruth Aguilera Northeastern University, USA
Susan Ainsworth University of Melbourne, Australia
Rafael Alcadipani Sao Paolo School of Business Administration, Brazil
John Amis University of Edinburgh, UK
Stefan Arora-Jonsson Uppsala University, Sweden
Jean Bartunek Boston College, USA
Yvonne Benshop Nijmegen School of Management, Netherlands
Stephanie Bertels Simon Fraser University, Canada
Marya Besharov Cornell University, USA
Laure Cabantous Bayes Business School, UK
Robert Chia University of Glasgow, UK
Jean Clarke EM-Lyon, France
Jana Costas European University Viadrina, Germany
David Courpasson EM-Lyon, France
Andrew Crane University of Bath, UK
Leanne Cutcher The University of Sydney Business School, Australia
Barbara Czarniawska University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Tina Dacin Queen’s University, Canada
Elena Dalpiaz Imperial College London, UK
Rich de Jordy California State University, USA
Rick Delbridge Cardiff University, UK
Frank den Hond Hanken School of Economics, Netherlands
Paul du Gay Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Rodolphe Durand HEC Paris, France
Micki Eisenmann The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Martha Feldman Stanford University, USA
Pablo Fernandez IAE Business School, Argentina
Peer Fiss University of Southern California, USA
Peter Fleming University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Mikkel Flyverbom Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Marianna Fotaki University of Warwick, UK
Santi Furnari Bayes Business School, UK
David Gault, Arellano Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, Mexico
Jean Pascal Gond Cass Business School, UK
Elizabeth Goodrick Florida Atlantic University, USA
Nina Granqvist Aalto University, Finland
Barbara Gray Penn State Smeal College of Business, USA
Royston Greenwood University of Alberta, Canada
Tor Hernes Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Robin Holt Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Jennifer Howard-Grenville University of Cambridge, UK
Gazi Islam Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Dennis Jancsary WU Vienna, Austria
Maddy Janssens KU Leuven, Belgium
Candace Jones University of Edinburgh, UK
Martin Kornberger EM-Lyon, France
Ann Langley HEC Montréal, Canada
Mike Lounsbury University of Alberta, Canada
Johanna Mair Hertie School of Governance, Germany
Sally Maitlis University of Oxford, UK
Renate Meyer WU Vienna, Austria
Evelyn Micelotta University of New Mexico, USA
Mette Morsing Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Christine Moser Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alistair Mutch Nottingham Business School, UK
Daniel Nyberg University of Newcastle, Australia
Nelson Phillips Imperial College London, UK
Rebecca Piekkari Aalto University, Finland
Davide Ravasi Cass Business School, UK
Trish Reay University of Alberta, Canada
Carl Rhodes University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Linda Rouleau HEC Montréal, Canada
Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic Sciences Po, France
Majken Schultz Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Tal Simons RSM, The Netherlands
Roy Suddaby University of Victoria, Canada
Kathleen Sutcliffe Johns Hopkins University, USA
Silviya Svejenova Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Jacky Swan University of Warwick, UK
Paul Tracey Judge Business School, UK
Christine Trank Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, USA
Hari Tsoukas University of Cyprus, Cyprus
Eero Vaara University of Oxford, UK
Andrea Whittle Newcastle University, UK
Patrizia Zanoni Hasselt University, Belgium
Tammar Zilber Jerusalem School of Business, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Organization Theory

Organization Theory publishes work in all areas of organization theory, including papers that develop new substantive theories or offer theoretical extensions, papers on the history of organization and management theory, meta-theoretical inquiries into the core underpinnings of existing theories, critiques of theories and theoretical developments, and theory-driven reviews of important areas of research.

Given the pluralistic ethos of the journal, papers that are written on a subject can take a variety of forms and lengths. Whatever the format and style in which papers are written, the general hallmark of papers published in OT is that (a) a theoretical argument is coherently developed and laid out; and in a way that (b) significantly contributes to our understanding of organizations and management. Meaningful new implications or insights for theory must be present in all work published in the journal, regardless of whether such implications or insights are derived from the development of novel ideas into new theory, from a critique of received theory, or from a conceptual synthesis of recent advances. Submissions should therefore also clearly signal and communicate the nature of their theoretical contribution in relation to the existing literature.

OT is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this journal.

Please read the guidelines below, and then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned. Remember you can log in to the submission site at any time to check on the progress of your paper throughout the peer review and editorial process.

If you have any questions about publishing with SAGE, please visit the SAGE Journal Solutions PortalFor any questions related to OT, please reach out to the journal’s editorial team at

  1. Article types
    1.1 Theory Article
    1.2 Review Article
    1.3 Controversies and Conversations
  2. Peer review policy
  3. Submitting a Manuscript
    3.1 Authorship
    3.2 Acknowledgements
    3.3 Funding
    3.4 Declaration of Conflicting Interests
  4. Publishing Policies
    4.1 Publication Ethics
    4.2 Contributor’s publishing agreement
  5. Manuscript Preparation Guidelines


1. Article types

Submissions to OT fall in three categories: regular full-length submissions (‘theory article’); review papers (‘review article’), and shorter, essay-style contributions to a debate or conversation regarding a theoretical problem or issue (‘controversies and conversations’).

Before submitting your manuscript to OT, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope section

1.1 Theory Article

OT publishes theory articles on different subjects within the broad domains of organizations (in their environment), processes of organizing, and the organized, including work within subject areas such as strategy, organizational behavior, work and employment relations, human resource management, international business, general management, public administration, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, ethics, and gender and diversity.

Submissions to OT may feature different approaches to theory development, including approaches centred on proposition development, process theorizing, or on a theoretical critique and synthesis of the existing literature.

Each submission should therefore explicitly signal its theoretical aims and position and maintain congruity with this approach throughout the paper. The openness of OT to different styles and approaches, at the same time, encourages authors to make their articles accessible to the journal’s wide-ranging readership. Whilst submissions may be focused on a particular specialized area or set of ideas, they should be written in such a way that our general readers are able to access and understand the ideas and arguments presented.

1.2 Review Article

OT routinely publishes papers that provide a comprehensive and theory-driven review of a particular research field. These review articles provide a theoretically-informed review and integration of an important area of research, and offer significant implications for subsequent theory development and research.

In other words, reviews published in OT have to be strongly theory-led, either in the design of the review (e.g., comparing and synthesizing different streams of theorizing and research on a topic), or in the implications for theory derived from the study.

Because of this specific expectation, authors are asked to clearly elaborate the theoretical contributions of their review and the strong implications they see for further research in an area.

The submission and review processes for these reviews are identical to those for regular submissions.

1.3 Controversies and Conversations

Essays in this section of OT feature commentary and debate on important theoretical topics in the field. Sets of authors may engage in a conversation about topic in a complementary manner, for example by highlighting alternative but compatible viewpoints or ways of researching a subject. In other instances, the communication between the two sides may take the form of a debate around competing viewpoints (controversies), but similarly with the constructive aim of fostering new ways of thinking about and researching organizations.

The initiative for the development of a controversies and conversations contribution may come from the editors, the journal’s editorial board, or through an informal proposal from authors to a member of the editorial team. On receiving such a proposal, the editorial team will evaluate the proposal and, if it is approved, will ask for a more formal proposal which describes the relevance, scope and contribution of the essays, including the different positions of the respective authors on the issue or topic and the proposed outcome of the conversation or debate.

Proposals for this section are received on a rolling basis, and can be formally submitted via the manuscript central system. When preparing a proposal, we advise authors to read previous examples of debates featured in the journal to get a good understanding of what is required.

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2. Peer review policy

OT adheres to a rigorous double-blind reviewing policy in which the identity of both the reviewer and author are always concealed from both parties. To ensure anonymity in the double-blind refereeing process, the author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

SAGE does not permit the use of author-suggested (recommended) reviewers at any stage of the submission process, be that through the web-based submission system or other communication.

Reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Our policy is that reviewers should not be assigned to a paper if:

  • The reviewer is based at the same institution as any of the co-authors.
  • The reviewer is based at the funding body of the paper.
  • The author has recommended the reviewer.
  • The reviewer has provided a personal (e.g., gmail/yahoo/hotmail) email account, and an institutional email account cannot be found after performing a basic search (name, department, and institution).

All manuscripts are reviewed initially by the editors, and only those papers that meet the scientific and editorial standards of the journal, and fit within the aims and scope of the journal, will be sent for outside review. As part of the review process, reviewers provide comments and feedback to the author as well as recommendations to one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief or any of the Associate Editors, who will make the final decision.

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3. Submitting a Manuscript

Authors need to submit their manuscripts (in Word format) to the online ScholarOne submission system at On the site, you will be asked to upload a title page, with contact information for all authors. Please also make sure that you answer all the manuscript- and author-related questions in the system, and that all authors’ names are entered into the manuscript submission form. In addition, please bear the following points in mind:

  • When authors submit a manuscript for consideration, they must certify that the manuscript is not at the same time under review for publication in another outlet (e.g., book chapter, journal) nor that it, or a closely related version of the manuscript, has previously been published in another outlet.
  • Authors should not re-submit a manuscript that OT has rejected at an earlier time, unless they are doing so at the express invitation of one of the editors.
  • Authors should prepare their manuscripts in such a way that they cannot be identified. Authors should avoid specific references to themselves or to their own work in the manuscript and should anonymize the author designation encoded in Word files and ensure that all ‘Track Changes’ are removed from the manuscript.
  • Please indicate in your cover letter people who have already viewed the paper, members of thesis committees, and colleagues who would have a conflict of interest in reviewing the paper, and any other circumstances that might affect the integrity of the anonymize review process.

3.1 Authorship

All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.

3.2 Acknowledgements

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, a remunerated research assistant, or a department chair who provided only general support.

Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.

3.2.1. Third party submissions

Third party submissions – that is, instances in which an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s) – are not considered for publication in OT.

3.3 Funding

OT requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

3.4 Declaration of Conflicting Interests

OT encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

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4. Publishing Policies

4.1 Publication Ethics

SAGE is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the SAGE Author Gateway.

4.1.1. Plagiarism

OT and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism, or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarized other work, or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

4.1.2 Prior publication

If material has been previously published, it is not generally acceptable for publication in a SAGE journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the SAGE Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the editors.

4.2 Contributor’s publishing agreement

Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information, please visit the SAGE Author Gateway.

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5. Manuscript Preparation Guidelines

OT is hosted on SAGE Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

  • Submissions should generally not exceed 11,000 words (including references), although in some cases longer versions may be accepted.
  • Manuscripts should be accompanied by an abstract of 300 words (maximum), by 3-10 keywords from the OT ScholarOne keyword list.
  • Within the manuscript, text should be formatted as double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman type. Tables may be single spaced and in smaller fonts, if necessary, for formatting. Use footnotes sparingly.
  • Organize the manuscript by using primary, secondary, and tertiary headings (see a recent OT issue for examples), rather than numbered headings.
  • Add each table or figure on separate pages at the end of the manuscript after the references, rather than inserting these directly in the text. Include a reference in the manuscript (i.e., Insert table 1 about here) in the appropriate place.
  • References in the manuscript should follow the APA guidelines; see here for more details on the APA referencing style.
  • Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the SAGE Author Gateway.

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