Beyond formulaic research: in praise of greater diversity in organizational research and publications

Mats Alvesson, Yiannis Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (SciVal)


Prompted by persistent dissatisfaction with research and research publications in organization studies, we critically discuss the standardization of research and publications into formulaic patterns that constrain the imagination and creativity of scholars and restrict the social relevance of their work. Formulaic research involves extreme specialization, an incrementalist and ultra\ cautious attitude toward theoretical contributions, formulaic methodologies, and a standardized article presentation targeted at very narrow and sympathetic academic communities. Formulaic research is attributed to the isomorphism that characterizes a wide range of academic practices. In the hope of galvanizing the field into transformation, we make a number of suggestions for alternative ideals and standards aimed at encouraging more diverse and imaginative ways of practicing and communicating organizational research. This is referred to as polymorphic research. We offer a number of concrete proposals to guide the practices of authors, reviewers, and editors. Polymorphic research, we argue, would reinvigorate the field of organizational studies and enhance its social relevance and impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-263
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management, Learning and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


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