Topics in Management Research

Have you ever wondered what institutional theory scholars have published around gender and diversity in the 21st century? Or who writes about contingency theory today? Or how the conversation around sustainability and corporate social responsibility has evolved over the last two decades? You should talk to someone with expert and tacit knowledge of the field (your supervisor or a knowledgeable coworker, for example). You could also prepare for that conversation by exploring the literature yourself using my Topics in Management Research tool.

What is it?

The tool is an interactive machine-categorized corpus of ~21,000 management research abstracts. You can use this tool to sensemake about modern management research, find authors/research of interest, and generate reading lists based on particular combinations of topics. This is a microsoft excel-based tool which takes the form of a .xlsx file.

It is based on an LDA topic model implemented in R, but all of that is behind the scenes. You do not have to be technically proficient in quant. methods to use this tool. This tool is part of my broader efforts in learning about and exploring machine-assisted qualitative research methods, and machine-learning based cognitive augments for qualitative researchers. Machine classification can even be used to create information-dense representations of corpora of texts (Table 1). These representations are themselves a way to engage with a large body of discourse. Be aware, however, that your understanding and conception of categories in a corpus of texts depends on your agential cut of the literature. When you let a machine do that for you, you're giving up some of that agency. Consistency shouldn't be mistaken for objectivity. Machine classification should never be your sole investigative strategy.

Which journals are included?

This tool includes the abstracts of all research articles (no editorials, book reviews, etc.) published in 20 prominent management journals between 2000 and 2019. If you're like me, you're curious about how these journals compare (Table 2).

Academy of Management Journal | Academic of Management Review | Administrative Science Quarterly | Strategic Management Journal | Organization Science | Organization Studies | Organization | Journal of Management Studies | Journal of Management | Journal of Managment Inquiry | Journal of Organizational Behavior | Strategic Organization | Journal of International Business Studies | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes | Information Systems Research | Management Information Systems Quarterly | Managment Science | Operations Research | Harvard Business Review | MIT Sloan Management Review

I should emphasize, this tool contains within it some pretty neat datasets for analysis, the sort you can take through a PhD methods class. Here are some visualizations that I hope provoke interesting ideas.

Note: If you're not on a mobile device, please use the little magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the PDF below to resize the tables to fit your screen.


This looks like a scan of gel electrophoresis plates to me. Which is fitting, I suppose, given the similarities between genetic and semantic structures, and their respective inheritance across "generations".

I recommend you download the topics in management research.xlsx file to your machine. Read the file named "READ FIRST" first.

Note the limited set of journals. This is mostly what one would call "A" journals (though I hate, hate that term) in Strategy, Organizational Theory, Organizational Behavior, Operations Management and Information Systems. I have tried to incorporate some variation by including journals like Journal of Management Inquiry and Strategic Organization where top scholars go to publish some of their more far-out (and often innovative) work.

I will continue to update the tool periodically. Feel free to reach out to me on twitter @anandwashere with suggestions, journals to add, etc.