The reviewers don’t like my sample! What can I do?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Let me start with the caveat that most of what I write is macro empirical research. While my examples will draw from strategy articles, the concepts are applicable to other management specialties, and other disciplines, as well. I have served on a wide variety of editorial boards, including those with both a generalist (for example, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management and Journal of Management Studies) and specialist (for example, Organizational Research Methods and Strategic Management Journal) focus, as well as those with interdisciplinary (for example, Corporate Governance: An International Review) and international (Management & Organization Review) emphases. Also, given my background, the vast majority of papers that I review are empirical. Regardless of the focus, one question consistently surfaces when I read a new manuscript: ‘If I were to design a study to test these research questions, is this the ideal sample?' As the answer is most often ‘No’, the second question is whether the sample is adequate. In some cases, the answer is still ‘No’, and at other times it is the grudging acceptance of an imperfect, yet workable sample. In the majority of cases, though, the answer is ‘Hard to tell’, as authors may not provide sufficient information about the sampling process or characteristics of the data. Depending on the severity of reviewer concerns, sampling issues can be a fatal flaw that triggers a rejection, or can be enough of a problem to render an entire results and discussion section moot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHow to Get Published in the Best Management Journals
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781789902822
ISBN (Print)9781789902815
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


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