CYGNA: Publishing in Management, Psychology and International Business

Since moving to the UK, I have been involved in running CYGNA. The network was established in June 2014  as a combined initiative of Argyro Avgoustaki, Ling Eleanor Zhang, and Anne-Wil Harzing, later joined by Shasha Zhao. The name CYGNA derives from the female version of the Latin word for SWAN (Supporting Women in Academia Network). The main objective of the group is to promote interaction among female academics based in the London area and to provide a forum for learning, support, and networking.

We typically hold four or five meetings a year with a mix of presentations and informal discussions. A quick overview of the topics covered can be found here. Yearly meeting overviews with pictures can be found here. In February 2018, I have started to write up our meetings as blogposts so from February till June 2018 you'll find reports on a mix of recent and older CYGNA meetings on my blog. A full list of the blogposts of our mid 2014 to mid 2018 meetings can be found at CYGNA: Resource collection for the summer holidays. We also maintain a readings and inspirations section for female academics and have a Twitter hashtag #cygna_london.

Publishing in different disciplines and journals

Given that CYGNA is an academic network in the Social Sciences, it is perhaps not surprising that many of our meetings - especially the early ones - dealt with publishing. In our disciplines, publications are typically the key research-based criterion for tenure and promotion, with research funding being a distant second. We thus had several meetings about publishing in specific (sub)disciplines and journals, coincidentally all taking place at ESCP Europe (see picture).


2nd meeting 16 January 2015: International Business journals

At our second meeting, we had one of my co-authors - Helene Tenzer, see her blogpost How to manage multi-lingual teams? - come over from Germany to talk about publishing in International Business. We all admired her very systematic approach to planning papers from a large-scale qualitative study (see slide).

She had great tips on how to explain the unique contribution of a paper to editors when you are publishing multiple papers from the same data-set, as well as on dealing with rejections and revise & resubmits (see presentation). Helene has applied her own tips very successfully as all of her "question mark" papers have now been published! She even found time to publish two papers on entrepreneurship and international market selection in Africa, as well as two book chapters and - together with myself and Siri Terjesen - a review of the language in international business literature: Language in International Business: A review and agenda for future research.

4th meeting 15 May 2015: Psychology vs Management Journals

At our fourth meeting one of Ling Zhang's co-authors - Chen Chen Li - joined us from China. Her background is in Psychology, so she presented about the differences between publishing in Psychology journals versus Management journals. Many of our members work in the area of Organizational Behaviour, International Management or Human Resource Management, sub-disciplines in which publishing in Psychology journals is not unusual. Hence, this was a very useful contribution for us.

8th meeting 22 January 2016: Academy of Management Journal

At meeting eight, we first had a research presentaiton by Rui Xu, one of our regular attendees and a PhD student at Warwick (see picture). The Interface of Chinese Guanxi with Formal Organisational Role System in Chinese Enterprises [presentation download]

8th meetingIn the second half of the meeting (no pictures unfortunately) Aida Hajro shared her experience of publishing an article in the Academy of Management Journal, the top journal for empirical work in the general discipline of management. It was wonderful to get an inside story and Aida generously shared all of her materials including R&R letters. Aida had a very constructive attitude to the process and treated the whole journey as a huge learning experience, using it to get training in the skills that she had perhaps not been systematically taught during her PhD in Austria.

Aida also contributed to this blogpost Nancy Adler: Daring to Care, sharing the unique case history of her migrant family that led to her paper titled Integrating highly-qualified migrants: allowing a personal narrative to set future research directions. CYGNA members are also very proud that both Helene Tenzer and Aida Hajro were asked recently to join the editorial board of the Academy of Management Review, the top journal for conceptual work in Management, a very high honour for academics so early in their career and a clear recognition of their excellent skills.

13th meeting 18 November 2016: Adding interest to academic writing

In our 13th meeting  Sara Young, a PhD student at UCL who is also an accomplished editor, gave an excellent presentation on adding interest to academic writing, showing that it doesn't have to be dry and boring to read, or tedious and painful to do. I particularly liked these two slides, inspired by Edward Johnston who created the typeface for the London Underground (I am a huge fan of books on the London Underground history)


In the second half of the meeting, we worked on worked on our own abstracts and introductory paragraphs. It was an instructive and sometimes slightly devastating experience to have our writings taken apart and be shown how our text might not make sense to the reader, certainly not a reader outside our narrow specialism. This meeting stuck with me for a long time and it was one of the inspirations for the Middlesex University writing boot-camp where we worked on titles, abstracts, introductory paragraphs and conclusions.

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