European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Special Issue Call for Contributions

Enhancing the Impact of Research in Work and Organizational Psychology

European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology

Aim of the Special Issue

We aim to achieve a special issue that gives researchers and practitioners in work and organizational psychology new and significant insights, ideas and tools that will enable research in our field to make a greater positive impact than it has so far in the world outside academic research. To this end, we define impact as “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia” (HEFCE, 2011; italics ours).

The context behind the aim

There is substantial discussion of the factors that inhibit the “real world” impact of research in work and organizational psychology and related areas (e.g., Anderson, Herriot & Hodgkinson, 2001; Bartunek & Rynes, 2014; Briner & Rousseau, 2011; Caprar, Do, Rynes & Bartunek, 2016; Ones, Kaiser, Chamorro-Premuzic, & Svensson, 2017). Some solutions have been proposed, ranging in scope from the “macro” such as evidence-based management (e.g. Rynes & Bartunek, 2017), to the mid-range such as integration of consultancy and scientist-practitioner models (Bartlett & Francis-Smythe, 2016), to the micro, including specific proposals for better processes for collaboration between researchers and practitioners (e.g. Anderson, 2007; Gelade, 2006; Hodgkinson, 2011; Walker, 2008).  Importantly, there is also the recent initiative headed by Gudela Grote and Jose Cortina under the auspices of the Alliance for Organizational Psychology, which has produced a manifesto for better research in work and organizational psychology. Much of this concerns the impact and integrity of what we do (Grote, 2017).

We therefore think the problems of achieving impact, and their possible causes, are now well documented. We also think that suggestions for what needs to happen are relatively plentiful, though not all are universally accepted as good ideas (Hodgkinson, 2006).  What is mainly lacking, with a few exceptions (e.g. Rynes, McNatt & Bretz, 1999), is a systematic understanding of the practices and context of research (and researchers) in our field that affect its social value—defined as defined as “that which yields fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature” (Nuremberg Code, 1947)—and practical impact.

We are also mindful of issues around ethics and integrity. It is relatively rare for published research in work and organizational psychology to explicitly consider who the research will benefit and whether this might be at the cost of other stakeholders (Lefkowitz, 2008). Related to this is the question of whether a specific piece of research has produced sufficiently robust findings to warrant implementation. 

The types of submission we wish to encourage

Below we describe the foci of the papers we hope to publish. For the most part these follow directly from the contextual analysis above, though we also suggest some other possibilities. We are especially keen to encourage contributions where the author(s) span different academic and practitioner roles – a phenomenon which has been found to be increasingly rare in journal articles in our field (Anderson et al., 2001).

We anticipate writing an introductory editorial setting the scene. This will include a brief orientation to the existing literature on the practical relevance (or lack of it) of research in work and organizational psychology. Therefore authors need not feel they have to cover the same ground at length in their submissions. We also anticipate writing a reflective piece at the end of the special issue summarising and synthesizing insights from the published papers.

The types of papers we wish to encourage are enumerated below. It is likely that some submissions will have features of more than one of these categories. Where a submission examines the impact of research already published elsewhere, we will not expect as full a description of the method and findings as would normally be expected in an academic paper. However, in those cases we expect cross-referencing to the sources where this information can be found.  

Please note that when we refer to impact, we mean effects of work and organizational psychology research in the world outside academia. We do not refer to academic impact indicators such as citation indices.

The types of submissions we anticipate are:

  1. Case studies of already-completed research that has had or is having one or more of the following features: (i) intended impact; (ii) unintended impact; (iii) no impact even though it was intended to. We expect these papers to explain how they know impact occurred (or did not) and examine (using existing literature wherever relevant), what it was about the research, the people involved, the context, the processes or anything else that led to the observed impact outcomes. Of particular interest will be submissions reporting innovative ways of trying to achieve impact. Analyses of failed attempts at impact are as welcome as successful ones.

  2. As an extension of (1) above, cumulative experiences and lessons learned about impact of an individual or group of researchers/practitioners over a number of projects. This would need to be grounded in specific examples and data.

  3. Conceptual models or theoretical analyses of the kinds of impact that research in work and organizational psychology can have, and/or the processes that lead to those kinds of impact. Rather than being polemical, we expect such submissions to be grounded in relevant literatures and/or the systematic analysis of accumulated data or experience.

  4. Case studies or other types of empirical studies of organizational contexts and processes that demonstrably encourage or discourage the production of impact and/or its dissemination and implementation. This could include the practices of universities (cf. Arnold, 2017), research funding bodies, organizations where research might have impact, publishers and other information disseminators. Ideally these submissions should include recommendations for change.

  5. Submissions of any of the above kinds which focus specifically on the ethics and integrity of the research and/or the processes by which impact is sought. Again, these should be grounded in case studies or other empirical data.

  6. Trials and evaluations of interventions (process as well as content, cf. Nielsen & Randall, 2013) designed to increase the probability of research in work and organizational psychology having impact. These might include for example the introduction of new opportunities for communication between academics and practitioners (though of course, these are not always neatly divided groups), or the formation of new units to facilitate the implementation of research findings.

Finally, we are open to dissenting voices. This special issue is predicated on the in-principle value of research in work and organizational having impact outside academia. Nevertheless, there may be potential contributors who think that this is a misguided and/or unachievable (or conversely already achieved) mission. Submissions which make an empirically or conceptually based argument for this point of view are encouraged.

Submission process and timelines

Submission process and timelines

With two exceptions, papers should be prepared in accordance with the normal EJWOP guidelines, available at:

The exceptions are:

  1. Because of the varied nature of papers that might be submitted, the structure can deviate from that specified in the guidelines.

  2. We prefer that submissions do not exceed 7000 words (including references but excluding title page, abstract, tables, figures, and appendices). Economy of exposition will be evaluated as a criterion in the review process.


Submission should be made via the usual gateway at, and authors need to include a statement in their cover letter that the submission is for the special issue on “Enhancing the Impact of Research in Work and Organizational Psychology”

The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2019.

All submissions will initially be assessed by the guest editors. Those considered potentially publishable will then be sent to two reviewers. Authors of papers which are not sent to reviewers will receive feedback from the editors about their paper and the reasons for the decision.

We aim to complete this round of reviewing by 31 May 2019, including feedback and initial decisions to authors. In order to avoid unnecessary work and delay, we will aim to have only three types of decision at this point: Accept with minor changes; Revise and resubmit with a good chance of success (but not guaranteed); and Reject. The deadline for revised papers is expected to be around 15 September 2019. We anticipate that the editors will undertake any further reviewing needed. We anticipate that papers provisionally accepted at this stage will need to be finalised by 30 November 2019.   

The projected date of publication of the special issue is the first half of 2020.


Informal enquiries are very welcome from potential authors who wish to discuss ideas, clarify any concerns etc. These should be directed in the first instance to John Arnold at +44 (0)1509 228007.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: John Arnold, Loughborough University (
  • Guest Editor: Nicky Dries, University of Leuven
  • Guest Editor: Yiannis Gabriel, University of Bath

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