Ten career-best publications

Choice of ten career-best articles in 2011

In Nov 2011 I had to choose my ten career-best publications for a grant application.This list is now seriously out-of-date as I have published dozens of books and articles since, but I have kept this page for historical curiosity.

The selection from my output over the years wasn't as straightforward as I had expected; some of the more significant (to me, at least) publications aren't the most highly cited or most "academic", but were selected because of their innovative approach or other, even less tangible aspects. Anyway, this is what I came up with, starting with the most recent ones (in 2011). 

The Publish or Perish Book: Your guide to effective and responsible citation analysis

Harzing, A.W.K. (2010): published by Tarma Software Research, Melbourne. Publication details...

A research-based guide to citation analysis that builds a bridge between bibliometric researchers and every-day academic users of citation analysis. The book was reviewed in Nature within two months of publication; two reviews appeared in information science journals in 2011, with three more forthcoming in management journals.

Harzing’s book is a useful, thoughtfully written, and highly informative source on a particular implementation of citation analysis. (Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology)

Harzing has certainly created a tool which can be used to blast paths through the evaluative defenses surrounding the entrenched positions of academia. (Scientometrics)

The PoP Book is a really welcomed contribution to developing better, even more ethical, practices in how we measure and assess the performance of academics. (Amazon)

I would recommend this as a must read for anyone wanting to make an impact in a world that is gradually coming to terms with the importance of both quality and quantity, as well as rigour and relevance, of publications. (Amazon)

This book and the software that goes with it is a bold initiative by Harzing and recommended reading for anyone who is pressed to publish. (Amazon)

It is a tremendously accessible introduction to bibliometrics and citation analysis, which many academics and graduate students find a pretty arcane and impenetrable topic. (Amazon)

Harzing's PoP book constitutes a landmark in the art of academic publishing and citation analysis. (Amazon)

When Knowledge Wins: Transcending the sense and nonsense of academic rankings

Adler, N.; Harzing, A.W.K. (2009): Exemplary contribution in: Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8(1): 92-95. Publication details...

Using the field of international business as an example, this article highlights the problematic nature of academic ranking systems and questions if such assessments are drawing scholarship away from its fundamental purpose. We ask questions such as "Has university scholarship gone astray?" "Do our academic assessment systems reward scholarship that addresses the questions that matter most to society?"

The article has generated very widespread attention and support. It was winner of the 2009 AMLE Outstanding article of the year award and so far gathered more than 130 ISI and more than 280 Google Scholar citations. It is the 10th most cited article published in Economics & Business in 2009, in an already elite group of the top-200 papers belonging to the top 1% most cited papers for 2009. As the first 9 articles are all in Economics/Finance, it is in fact the most cited article in Management world-wide in 2009.

Google Scholar as a new source for citation analysis?

Harzing, A.W.K.; van der Wal, R. (2008): Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, 8(1): 61-73. Publication details...

An invited contribution to a special issue on "The use and misuse of bibliometric indices in evaluating scholarly performance". This article compares the traditional source for citation analysis – the ISI Web of Science – with Google Scholar (GS) and demonstrates the clear advantage of GS for automated citation analysis, especially for the Social Sciences.

Although published in a minor journal, the article has already attracted more than 120 ISI and over 260 GS citations. If the journal had been ISI listed, the paper would be on the Essential Science Indicators list as one of the top 1% most cited papers for 2008 for the Social Sciences category. It would have been ranked 16th in an already elite group of 490 papers that belonged to the top 1% most cited papers in the Social Sciences for that year.

Country-of-Origin, Localization or Dominance Effect? An empirical investigation of HRM Practices in Foreign Subsidiaries

Pudelko, M.; Harzing, A.W.K. (2007): Human Resource Management, 46(4): 535-559. Publication details...

This article contributes to two recurring and very central debates in the international management literature: the convergence vs. divergence debate and the standardization vs. localization debate. Our results lead to the rather surprising conclusion for what might be considered to be the most localized of functions—HRM—that convergence to a worldwide best practices model is clearly present.

The article was awarded the Ulrich-Lake prize for the best paper published in Human Resource Management. The laudation said:

The study contributes to both theory and practice by helping to clarify the debate regarding the convergence or standardization (versus localization) of HRM practices within multinational corporations. The article achieves a firm grounding in theory and scientific methods, while offering clear practical implications for managing HRM in a global landscape. In particular, the editors agree that Pudelko and Harzing’s work addresses a significant question with broad relevance in the international management literature and does so in a very thorough fashion. Words such as "ambitious" and "impressive" were used to describe the article. As a bridge journal, HRM places a great emphasis on publishing research that provides immediate relevance for management practice while maintaining deep scholarly rigor. We believe Pudelko and Harzing’s article will have a significant impact on future research within the domain of HRM.

Response styles in cross-national mail survey research: A 26-country study

Harzing, A.W.K. (2006): International Journal of Crosscultural Management, 6(2): 243-266. Publication details...

Response styles refer to a respondent’s tendency to respond systematically to questionnaire items regardless of their content. Systematic country differences in response styles can completely invalidate cross-cultural comparisons. This article provides the most comprehensive review of response style differences between countries to date and shows how these are related to cultural characteristics. It also shows how the language of the questionnaire impacts on response styles.

The article was reprinted in the Routledge series Critical Perspectives on Business & Management (2008) and was discussed in Fundamental Questions in Cross-Cultural Psychology (2011) as the largest study of response styles. In commenting on both this article and my articles dealing with the impact of language on questionnaire response, Michael Bond, Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and one of the most prominent researchers in Cross Cultural Psychology, called me "the conscience of cross-cultural psychology that keeps us all honest". It was the most cited paper published in the journal since 2004 and is amongst the top 5% most cited papers in Economics & Business for 2006.

The relative impact of country-of-origin and universal contingencies on internationalization strategies and corporate control in multinational enterprises: World-wide and European perspectives

Harzing, A.W.K., Sorge, A.M. (2003): Organization Studies, 24 (2): 187-214. Publication details...

This paper examines the importance of country-of-origin effects and of universal contingencies such as industrial recipes in organizational practices at the international level of multinational enterprises. It is based on a study comparing European (Finnish, French, German, Dutch, Swiss, Swedish, British), American and Japanese multinational enterprises. Although multinationals are highly internationalized by definition, our study shows their organizational control practices at the international level to be more than anything else explained by their country of origin.

It was the winner of the Roland-Calori-Prize for the best article in Organization Studies 2003-2004. Jean-Claude Thoenig said in his laudation:

This is an OS style scientific paper at its best. It fits perfectly the three criteria listed above (rooted in Social Sciences, display methodological quality and theoretical innovativeness, highlight our understanding of differences and relatedness) and the EGOS values. It also addresses an issue that common sense had oversimplified in the past. In a way Harzing and Sorge findings about MMEs could be a lesson for science and for what EGOS aims at in its field of knowledge; to give the floor to a diversity of expressions so that they can dialogue and cross-fertilize. To avoid normal science syndromes, let us be multinational while keeping our research fertilized by our respective 'countries of origin' perspectives and traditions.

The role of culture in entry mode studies: from negligence to myopia?

Harzing, A.W. (2003): Advances in International Management, 15 (75-127). Publication details...

In the area of entry mode studies, the Kogut and Singh (1988) index of cultural distance has reached an almost mythical status. This very detailed (52 pages) and critical review of research in this area shows that there is little or no evidence for their proposed relationship between cultural distance and entry mode choice.

Reviewers and readers have given very positive feedback about this paper.

I would like to compliment you on a very well done paper addressing a very important issue. You have provided sound, logical and well-established arguments as to why the field should abandon the use of a construct that has become very popular and is also used without question. (AIM reviewer).

Her work examining the cultural distance index of Kogut & Singh [mentioning other work] all challenge accepted wisdom and prod us as researchers to have more intellectual integrity in what we do. (Srilata Zaheer).

Acquisitions versus greenfield investments: International strategy and management of entry modes

Harzing, A.W.K. (2002): Strategic Management Journal, 23(3): 211-227. Publication details...

This article broke new ground in drawing attention to the importance international strategy in the choice of entry mode and to the management (as opposed to the widely studied initial choice) of different market entry modes. As an article with primary data, in a field dominated by secondary research with distant proxy variables, my study introduced strategy as a crucial new explanatory variable in entry mode choice. It also showed how multinational corporations manage different entry modes so as to counteract the effects of a non-preferred mode of entry.

The article was published in Strategic Management journal, which is the top journal in the field of Strategy. Publishing a single-authored article in this journal from outside the USA is already very rare, but is all the more remarkable as I do not have a background in Strategy and I published on a topic that many high-profile academics in the field of International Business have spent their entire career on. The paper is in the top 5% most cited papers in Economics & Business in 2002 and the second most cited paper on the topic in the last decade.

Are our referencing errors undermining our scholarship and credibility? The case of expatriate failure rates

Harzing, A.W.K. (2002): Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(1): 127-148. Publication details...

This article demonstrates how commonplace is the violation of the principle for good academic referencing. Inappropriate referencing does not only distorts a body of knowledge by creating self-perpetuating myths and Chinese whispers, but also undermines its academic credibility and practical applicability.

In this article, I ask "If scholars and the public at large cannot trust what academics publish to be accurate, whom can they trust?" Nancy Adler wrote about this paper:

Of all papers I reviewed over the years (and I have served on >25 editorial boards), this was one of the most important and intellectually courageous papers I have ever read. The author, at that time fairly junior in her career, had documented such serious flaws in the accepted scholarship in the field, that she was daring to challenge not only the accepted approach to research, but also the results of over a quarter of century of research and "accepted wisdom" on the performance of expatriates. For the only time in my own reviewing career, I personally contacted the journal editor and told her that the paper was too important not to publish. Both my own and the editor’s predictions were correct: the paper went on to change the very nature of scholarship in international human resource management.

Managing the multinationals: an international study of control mechanisms

Harzing, A.W.K. (1999): published by Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Publication details...

A research monograph containing the results of my PhD study. The PhD proposal won the best dissertation proposal award at the European International Business Academy in 1996. It was subsequently nominated for the two major dissertation awards in the field. Peter Buckley, one of the founding fathers of the International Business discipline recommended it for publication in Edward Elgar’s Horizons in International Business Series, where it was published virtually without changes (beyond removing the statistical appendices). I have lost count of the number of PhD students who have contacted me to say that they benefitted greatly from reading the detailed account of my research. Although the book deals with a rather specialised topic, it has so far received more than 100 ISI and more than 330 GS citations.