In June 2016, an Editorial was published in the Journal of Global Mobility (JGM) entitled: “Play it again, Sam - the case for replication studies.” (Selmer, 2016). Behind this quote from the classic 1942 movie “Casablanca”, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is a dedicated call for (more) studies ‘doing it again’ – or replicating published studies. The reason this plea did not result in an avalanche of submitted replication studies is probably simple. Like in most social sciences, there is little demand for replication studies in our area, with even some academic journals being overtly unsupportive or dismissive of such studies, thereby discouraging scholars from conducting replications (Easley, Madden, and Gray, 2013; Martin and Clarke, 2017; Tipu and Ryan, 2022). However, replication studies ensure that our knowledge is not derived from a large number of single studies and failure to conduct such studies will eventually lead to a replication crisis (Loken and Gelman, 2017; Schooler, 2014; Walker et al., 2019). Attempting to develop a research field by stacking single studies on top of each other will eventually result in a ‘house of cards’. Nevertheless, the bias towards novel, path-breaking, positive results among editors and reviewers still seems strong. Even researchers themselves may be more motivated to make a unique contribution rather than to repeat the work of others. Hence, building an academic career that includes publications of replication studies may not be attractive (Dau, Santangelo, and van Witteloostuijn, 2021; Köhler and Cortina, 2021; van Witteloostuijn, 2016).
However, this situation may be about to change as recent compelling arguments have been presented for the necessity to undertake replication studies in our own area of international business and management (Dau et al., 2021; Köhler and Cortina, 2021; Tipu and Ryan, 2022). Consequently, as part of the First Decade Celebrations of the Journal of Global Mobility (JGM), our editorial team would like to contribute to this positive trend by announcing a Call for Papers for a Special Issue (SI) entitled: “ONLY REPLICATIONS”. For submissions to this SI, some basic issues are relevant and these are discussed below.
There must be a match between the submitted replication and what JGM publishes, i.e. research on global employees, including corporate and self-initiated expatriates and other migrants crossing borders for work purposes. For more details on the remit of JGM, please visit: https://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/jgm?id=jgm. The submission may be a replication of an article published in JGM or a replication of a study with an appropriate topic for JGM but published in another journal.
Although there are many types of possible replication studies (cf. Dau et al., 2021; Köhler and Cortina, 2021; Tipu and Ryan, 2022), those that provide additional contributions to the literature are preferable. Replications that retain all of the virtues of the previous study but include at least one methodological improvement have been identified as constructive replications, hence offering a specific reference to the quality of evidence of replications (Köhler and Cortina, 2021). Consequently, three different types of constructive replication studies are of interest for this JGM SI (Dau et al., 2021).
Replication Desirability, Viability and Validity?
It is both desirable and ethically responsible to target the replication of impactful research findings that may also be in need of theory improvement (Tsui, 2021). Another critical issue is whether replication is viable, in terms of sufficient insight in the original design and data access. Last, but not least, the internal validity of the original study needs to be scrutinized (i.e., its procedures, measures, and analyses) to determine whether a replication can improve the level of internal validity (Dau et al., 2021; Walker et al., 2019).
Replication of What?
As indicated above, the need to replicate research has predominately been stated in terms of quantitative research, where replicability evidence of scientific claims is considered a seal of good science (Freese and Peterson, 2017). The replicability of qualitative research, however, continues to be a potentially contentious issue. While transparency has been argued to be necessary for replicating qualitative studies (Aguinis and Solarino, 2019), others have claimed that it is harmful to import quantitative research logics of verification of results to field-based and theory-generating qualitative studies (Pratt, Kaplan, and Whittington, 2020). Nevertheless, attempts have been made to identify circumstances compatible with replication studies of qualitative research and strategies for conducting them have been identified (Tuval-Mashiach, 2021). Furthermore, the incidence of mixed methods/multi-methods studies, combining quantitative and qualitative methods, has increased in recent years (Anguera et al., 2018). Replicating such studies may be especially demanding, but not impossible (Molina-Azorin, Bergh, Corley, and Ketchen, 2017). Therefore, we encourage the submission of replications of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods/multi-methods to this SI.
Replication by Who(m)?
The norm for self-correcting science is independent replications, i.e., others conduct the replication study (Vazire, 2018). This norm targets researcher competence concerns and the effect of incentives to produce favourable results (Köhler and Cortina, 2021). Although this norm exists within our area (cf. Haslberger, 2010; Salamin and Davoine, 2015), in reality, it may not be attractive to follow it. For example, some scholars could feel hesitant to confront other researchers, or they could be reluctant to potentially damage the reputation of original authors, as well as fear being perceived as lacking trust in colleagues (Vachon et al., 2021). Consequently, self-replications are an alternative (cf. Selmer, 2006, 2007; Selmer and Lauring, 2009), including the instant variety where the findings of the original study are replicated in the same article (cf. Zhang, Sun, Shaffer, and Lin, 2021). It is also possible to use a mixed team of researchers, where some of the scholars that conducted the original study join the replication team (Köhler and Cortina, 2021). Needless to say, we welcome submissions to this SI from those who are independent replicators, those who replicate their own work, and research teams that include both independent and self replicators.
In principle, two different outcomes are possible: replication occurs or replication does not occur. But what do these outcomes really mean? Given a focus on constructive replications of extensions and generalizations, both of which imply that changes in samples and/or populations are made, either outcome could incite controversy. Successful replications could be challenged on the grounds that differences created are too great for comparison and failed replications may be questioned because critical differences were introduced (Freese and Peterson, 2017). Furthermore, studies may not produce a complete replication but only a partial one. But the fundamental principle is the same for any outcome of a replication study. Single studies, whether they target novelty or examine existing beliefs, cannot conclusively confirm or disconfirm theories. Replications test theoretical predictions and the outcome may play a part in refining, changing or expanding theory to make new predictions (Nosek and Errington, 2020). We recognize that when original findings are not replicated, the reasons may be difficult to ascertain (Lindsay & Ehrenberg, 1993). Such contradictory results are perplexing and provocative, and they set the stage for further investigations. Therefore, regardless of whether the replication outcome is successful, either fully or partially, or is a failure, we encourage submission of such studies to this SI.
Submission Process and Timeline
To be considered for the Special Issue, manuscripts must be submitted no later than October 1, 2022, 5:00pm Central European Time. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process and will be evaluated by at least two reviewers and a special issue editor – in this case, one of JGM’s editorial team members. The final acceptance is dependent on the review team’s judgments of the paper’s contribution to the special issue topic.
Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review according to the Journal of Global Mobility author guidelines, available at www.emeraldinsight.com/jgm.htm. Please remove any information that may potentially reveal the identity of the authors to the reviewers. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jgmob. For enquiries regarding the special issue, please contact Professor Jan Selmer at [log in to unmask] or Professor Margaret Shaffer at [log in to unmask].
Paper submission deadline: October 1, 2022
Acceptance notification: June 2023
Publication: September 2023
Aguinis, H., and Solarino, A. M. (2019), “Transparency and replicability in qualitative research: The case of interviews with elite informants”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 40, pp. 1291–1315.
Anguera, M.T., Blanco-Villaseñor, A., Losada, J.L., Sánchez-Algarra, P., and Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2018), “Revisiting the difference between mixed methods and multimethods: Is it all in the name?”, Quality & Quantity, Vol. 52 No. 6, pp. 2757–2770.
Dau, L. A., Santangelo, G. D. and van Witteloostuijn, A. (2021), “Replication studies in international business”, Journal of International Business Studies. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-021-00471-w
Easley, R.W., Madden, C.S. and Gray, V. (2013), “A tale of two cultures: revisiting journal editors’ views of replication research”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 66 No. 9, pp. 1457-1459.
Freese, J., & Peterson, D. (2017), “Replication in social science”, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 147–165.
Haslberger, A. (2010), “Gender differences in expatriate adjustment”, European Journal of International Management, Vol. 4 Nos. 1-2, pp. 163-183.
Köhler, T. and Cortina, J.M. (2021), “Play it again, Sam! An analysis of constructive replication in the organizational sciences”, Journal of Management, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 488-518.
Lindsay, R. M., & Ehrenberg, A. S. (1993), “The design of replicated studies”, The American Statistician, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 217–228.
Loken, E., and Gelman, A. (2017), “Measurement error and the replication crisis”. Science, Vol. 355 No. 6325, pp. 584–585.
Martin, G.N. and Clarke, R.M. (2017), “Are psychology journals anti-replication? A snapshot of editorial practices”, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 8, p. 523. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00523
Molina-Azorin, J. F., Bergh, D. D., Corley, K. G., & Ketchen, D. J. (2017), “Mixed methods in the organizational sciences: Taking stock and moving forward”, Organizational Research Methods, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 179–192.
Nosek, B. A., and Errington, T. M. (2020), “What is replication?”, PLoS Biology, Vol. 18 No. 3. e3000691. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000691
Pratt, M. G., Kaplan, S., & Whittington, R. (2020), “Editorial essay: The tumult over transparency: Decoupling transparency from replication in establishing trustworthy qualitative research”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 65 No. 1, pp. 1-19.
Salamin, X. and Davoine, E. (2015), “International adjustment of female vs. male business expatriates. A replication study in Switzerland”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp.183–212.
Schooler, J. W. (2014), “Metascience could rescue the ‘replication crisis’”. Nature, Vol. 515 No. 7525, pp. 9. https://doi.org/10.1038/515009a
Selmer, J. (2006), "Cultural novelty and adjustment: Western business expatriates in China", International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 17 No. 7, pp. 1209-1222.
Selmer, J. (2007), "Which is easier? Adjusting to a similar or to a dissimilar culture: American business expatriates in Canada and Germany”, International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 185-201.
Selmer, J. (2016), “Play it again, Sam” - the case for replication studies”, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 1-8.
Selmer, J & Lauring, J. (2009), “Cultural similarity and adjustment of expatriate academics”, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 429-436.
Tipu, S.A.A. and Ryan, J.C. (2022), "Are business and management journals anti-replication? An analysis of editorial policies", Management Research Review, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 101-117.
Tsui, A. S. (2021), “From traditional research to responsible research: The necessity of scientific freedom and scientific responsibility for better societies”, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, vol 9., pp. 1-32.
Tuval-Mashiach, R. (2021), “Is replication relevant for qualitative research?”, Qualitative Psychology, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 365-377.
Vachon, B., Curran, J.A., Karunananthan, S., Brehaut, J., Graham, I. D., Moher, D., Sales, A. E., Straus, S. E., Fiander, M., Paprica, P. A., Grimshaw. J.M. (2021), “Changing research culture toward more use of replication research: a narrative review of barriers and strategies”, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Vol. 129, pp. 21-30.
van Witteloostuijn, A. (2016), “What happened to Popperian falsification? Publishing neutral and negative findings”, Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 481–508.
Walker, R. M., Brewer, G. A., Lee, M. J., Petrovsky, N., and van Witteloostuijn, A. (2019), “Best practice recommendations for replicating experiments in public administration”, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 609–626.
Zhang, Y., Shaffer, M. A., Sun, J., Lin, V. (2021), “High commitment work systems and employee well-being: The roles of workplace friendship and task interdependence”, Human Resource Management. Published online November 12, 2021. DOI: 10.1002/hrm.22093
Journal of Global Mobility (JGM)
Department of Management, Aarhus University
Latest Book: McNulty, Y. & Selmer J. (Eds.) (2017), Research Handbook of Expatriates. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Electronic version