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Copenhagen Business School

CBS professor’s management paper is the most cited of the decade

Professor Jeremy Moon and his co-author Dirk Matten were surprised when their paper on corporate social responsibility landed them the prestigious ‘Paper of the Decade’ award. But what’s the secret to getting a piece cited an astounding 3,504 times? We talked to Professor Jeremy Moon to find out.

News |   08. Jan 2019

Jakob Slyngborg Trolle

“Honestly, we were quite surprised by the fact that we got the award. We always felt a bit like the outsiders looking into this world of core management research. We were rather used to being treated as somewhat peripheral to the main game of management research,” says professor Jeremy Moon.

But just like any good story, the outsiders came, they saw, and they conquered. And ten years after the release of the paper, ‘Implicit’ and ‘Explicit’ CSR: A Conceptual Framework for a Comparative Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility, Dirk Matten and Jeremy Moon were cited no more than 3,504 times in books and articles across the world, since its publication in April 2008, according to Google Scholar. Therefore earning the Academy of Management Review ‘Paper of the Decade Award’.

Jeremy Moon and Dirk Matten have tried to simplify CSR in the paper which takes its point of departure in an analysis of differences between European and US approaches to Corporate Social Responsibility

“I think we managed to both clarify and simplify the subject of national CSR. And when things are made simpler, they of course get cited a lot more,” says Jeremy Moon.

Do you think the academic world lacks the ability to make their publications more accessible?

 “I would say that many journals put a whole lot of emphasis on method. That’s of course important, but it can also make research less accessible,” says Jeremy Moon.

Identify a wave

The key to making and award-winning paper also lies in the ability to put your ear to the ground.

“I think we managed to identify a wave. The subject of CSR was gaining public attention, and was really an issue that was emerging on a different scale and company level.”

So what would be the new wave?

“I think we’ll need a lot more research on government regulations versus public regulation. That’s my guess on the next big thing.”

Do your field research

Last but not least, Jeremy Moon and Dirk Matten gained precious knowledge from observing how CSR was changing.

“We attended practitioner conferences, we noted that European business leaders were talking about their business responsibilities in new ways. We really engaged with the practice in the field. Actually, we used the practice to gain our theoretical insights when it’s usually the other way around,” says Jeremy Moon before he feels the need to highlight one last factor:

“Well, of course you can’t do without a fair share of luck.”

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