CPA Innovation Centre – P-hacking: Scholarly dishonesty in response to publication pressures

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Date: Monday, May 29th, 2017
Time: 10:30am -12:00pm Presentation & QA; 12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch
Location: Room 2300 (2nd floor)
Segal Graduate School
500 Granville Street, Vancouver
Link: Click here to register

Management scholars face a highly nonlinear reward system based on top-tier publication. Many research-oriented schools of business and management have norms regarding a target number of publications in specific journals required for tenure, assessing scholarly performance primarily by counting a researcher’s published articles and weighing them by the impact factor of the journals in which they appear, and secondarily by certifying the substance of their contribution.

Many argue that these rewards tempt researchers to disregard negative and nonsignificant findings in favor of selectively collecting and analyzing data in a search for significant findings in support of accumulating publications in prestigious journals, which disproportionately publish statistically significant results (e.g., Bettis 2012). Evidence suggests that such behavior is widespread.

We examine adoption of a research practice that promotes statistically significant positive findings, p-hacking, which entails selectively omitting or including variables, observations, and/or statistical analyses until nonsignificant results become significant at standard levels (Simmons et al. 2011). We examine p-hacking in one and two-author articles published between 2000 and 2016 in two highly selective, top-tier management publications, the Academy of Management Journal, and Administrative Science Quarterly.

Dr Joel Baum, Ph.D is a Professor at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management and the George E. Connell Chair in Organizations and Society. He sits on the editorial board of Strategic Management Journal and is founding Co-editor of Strategic Organization. Recent awards include Most Impactful Article, Journal of Business Venturing (2010) and Organization and Management Theory Distinguished Scholar, Academy of Management (2011). Joel teaches courses on Competitive Strategy and Strategic Organization. He studies the influence of interfirm competition and cooperation on firm behavior and performance in industries including investment banking, biotechnology, and private military services.