Dr Emilio Marti, assistant professor in the Business-Society Management department at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), has won the best paper award of the German Academic Association for Business Research (Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft). Dr Marti received the award from Prof. Peter Walgenbach at the annual meeting of the association that took place in Magdeburg, Germany from 23-25 May 2018.

Dr Marti won the award for his paper When do theories become self-fulfilling? Exploring the boundary conditions of performativity. The paper is co-authored with Prof. Jean-Pascal Gond from Cass Business School, City, University of London, and will be published in the July issue of the journal Academy of Management Review.

Each division of the German Academic Association for Business Research could nominate one paper for the Best Paper Award. The paper by Dr Marti and Prof. Gond was nominated by the ‘organisation theory’ division, and ultimately won out of the eight finalists in total. The jury consisted of Prof Alexander Bassen (Universität Hamburg), Prof. Stefan Dierkes (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), and Prof. Martin Fassnacht (WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management Vallendar).

Shaping social reality

In their paper, Dr Marti and Prof. Gond argue that some theories do not just describe social reality but shape social reality. New theories can shape social reality because actors may change their behaviour by starting to use new theories. Existing research, however, has only analysed ‘success cases’, these are cases where theories have shaped social reality.

As a remedy to this success bias, the researchers developed a theoretical model to explain under which conditions theories will become ‘performative’ or even self-fulfilling. To illustrate their argument, Dr Marti and Prof. Gond explored the conditions under which theories that postulate a positive link between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance may become self-fulfilling.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

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