The Academy of Management Review (AMR) is interested in papers that make important contributions to management theory using a variety of theory development tools, including formal models and/or simulation techniques. The criteria for evaluating the publication of formal model/simulation papers is exactly the same as the criteria for evaluating all papers submitted to AMR: Do these papers make an important contribution to management theory (either by significantly extending current theory or developing new theory) and are they accessible to a broad scholarly management audience? No other attributes of a paper can substitute for making a theoretical contribution that is widely accessible to management scholars.
The application of these two criteria (contribution to management theory and broad accessibility) have a variety of implications for those looking to publish formal model and/or simulation papers in AMR. For example, with regard to contribution to management theory:
- Papers that simply formalize existing theories will generally not make a sufficient contribution to management theory to warrant publication. In this sense, while the transparency and precision that are created by more analytical approaches to theory building are important virtues, they will typically not be sufficient—by themselves—to justify publication in AMR.
- Papers whose primary purpose is to make a contribution to formal modelling or simulation techniques, per se, will typically not be publishable in AMR. Such papers are certainly worthy of consideration elsewhere, but are unlikely to make significant contributions to management theory.
- Papers that briefly explore many theoretical implications of a particular model or simulation are less likely to make a contribution to management theory than papers that deeply explore a few central implications of that model or simulation. These papers need to focus on how insights derived from a model or simulation change current thinking in management theory, not on the number of propositions that can be derived from these models.
With respect to accessibility to a broad scholarly management audience, the goal in writing these papers is that those who read them will need only a passing familiarity with the modeling techniques they apply and will still be able to understand what the models are doing, and their implications for management theory. This suggests:
- Propositions derived from a model or simulations in a paper need to be stated using normal language, not mathematical language.
- Implications of any propositions derived from formal models and/or simulations for current conversations in management theory need to be clearly discussed. That a proposition can be derived from a model or simulations is, in and of itself, not proof that this proposition is insightful or potentially influential.
- Complex calculations and theorem proofs will typically be included as an appendix in these papers, rather than in their body.