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Workshop on Theory Development and Writing Empirical Papers for Top-Tier Journals

Projects Topo

The workshop will be held on:

  • Online lectures: June 6th, 20th and 21st at 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Lisbon time);
  • F2F lectures: June 26th and 28th between 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m (Lisbon time).

The objective of this workshop is to help participants acquire a greater appreciation for theory development, to understand challenges in developing theory, and to discuss approaches to developing good theory. These particular skills will be contextualized within a framework of developing and sustaining a viable research program in the social and behavioral sciences.

This workshop will be lectured by Viswanath Venkatesh, who completed his PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1997, is an Eminent Scholar and Verizon Chair of Business Information Technology at the Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in Spring 2021, he was on the faculty at the University of Maryland and University of Arkansas.

It will be taught in English.

About the Workshop


  • Theory development and the associated theoretical contribution are at the heart of most papers published in leading journals in the social and behavioral sciences. Recognizing that this involves both art and science, this workshop will delve into both aspects. The emphasis on theory will be situated within the elements of an empirical journal article—including identifying a scientific gap and writing a good article. Time permitting and subject to participant interest, there will be a broader discussion to situate theory within a research program and paradigms of research.


  • Two primary types of readings are assigned: (1) articles (from journals or book chapters) that explain fundamental ideas related to the concepts and (2) illustrations.


  1. To learn how to develop the motivation for research and by association, a paper;
  2. To build theory development skills and recognize the challenges in developing good theory;
  3. To learn to write front-end (especially theory sections) of empirical papers in the social and behavioral sciences;
  4. To situate the knowledge gained about theory and writing within the context of developing an effective research program.


  • The workshop will be structured to be intensive and a combination of lecture and discussion. To get maximal value, participants are encouraged to read the assigned articles prior to the workshop or after each session. Additionally, there will be exercises aimed to help participants develop a specific paper. Through this process, it is the hope that the participants will leave with a significant understanding of how to write better papers, especially from the perspective of crafting a better story and developing better theory.


  • Participants should work on a paper that they seek to improve through their participation in this workshop. Each participant will have an opportunity to share a current paper, reflect on their paper, and present ideas related to how they feel they can move the paper forward. A presentation and paper are required for credit.

General Information

Period of attendance:

  • Online lectures: June 6th, 20th and 21st at 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Lisbon time);
  • F2F lectures: June 26th and 28th between 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m (Lisbon time).

The online lectures will be held via ZOOM. Closer to the date, the participants will receive an email with the link for the sessions.


Through the form until May 15th, 2023.


Until May 22nd, 2023.


The successful completion of the workshop, which requires a presentation and the delivery of a paper, grants the attribution of 5 ECTS.


The tuition fee is 450€. PhD students of NOVA IMS, and teachers and researchers of NOVA IMS will be exempt from paying the tuition fee.

For more information, please contact us following form.


Note: Professor Venkatesh may change this schedule and specific topics depending on how the sessions go and participants’ interests. You may contact the professor if any particular paper is not available to you through your library.

Session Readings
1 Introduction & basic of theory development
2 Context and theory
3 & 4 Formulating research problems, gaps, literature review, synthesis
5 & 6 Participant presentation [required for credit]
7 (if possible) Research Programs


‪Viswanath Venkatesh

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Viswanath Venkatesh, who completed his PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1997, is an Eminent Scholar and Verizon Chair of Business Information Technology at the Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech. Since Fall 2021, he is also the Director of Pamplin’s Executive PhD program. He is also an affiliate faculty member at Virginia Tech India. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential scholars in business and economics, both in terms of premier journal publications and citations. His research focuses on understanding the diffusion of technologies in organizations and society. He has worked with several companies and government agencies. His most impactful project focuses on rural India and improving the quality of life of the poorest of the poor—which he has presented in various forums including at the United Nations. The sponsorship of his research has been about US$10M. His work has appeared in leading journals in human-computer interaction, information systems, organizational behavior, psychology, marketing, medical informatics, and operations management. Over various 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year periods (since 2001), he has been the most productive in terms of publications in the premier journals in information systems (i.e., Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly) and best paper awards (e.g., Academy of Management Journal). His works have been cited over 161,000 times and over 55,000 times per Google Scholar and Web of Science, respectively, with an h-index of 87 and i-10 index of 143, with 19 papers being cited over 1,000 times per Google Scholar. He has been recognized to be among the most influential scientists (e.g., Clarivate, Thomson Reuters’, Emerald Citations, SSRN, PLoS Biology). For instance, in a recent article in PloS Biology and annual updates (Iaonnidis et al. 2021), based on citation data from 1996 to 2021, he had career ranking for citation impact of 485th out of ~9 million scientists across all scientific fields and 1st in information systems—and he has been in the top-1000 out of ~9 million scientists across all scientific fields since the rankings were introduced in 2017. His annual citation impact rankings have been on or about the top-100 out of ~9 million scientists across all scientific fields since 2017. He has taught a wide variety of undergraduate, MBA, exec MBA, PhD, and executive education courses. Student evaluations have rated him to be among the best instructors at the various institutions, and he has received teaching awards at the school and university levels. In addition to his leadership role in Virginia Tech’s Executive PhD program, he has performed extensive administration and service including a long stint at Arkansas as the director of the information systems PhD program. He also plays a key role in Virginia Tech’s growing international programs (e.g., with Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies). In 2009, he launched an IS research rankings web site, affiliated with the Association for Information Systems (AIS), that has received many accolades from the academic community including AIS’ Technology Legacy Award. He has served in editorial roles in various journals including Management Science, MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Operations Management, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Production and Operations Management, and Decision Sciences Journal. He is a Fellow of the AIS and the Information Systems Society, INFORMS.

Recommended Bibliography

  • Session 1


    • Van de Ven, A. H. (2007). Engaged scholarship in a professional school. In Van de Ven, A. H., Engaged scholarship: A guide for organizational and social research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    • Whetten, D. A. (1989). What constitutes a theoretical contribution? Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 490-495.
    • Dubin, R. (1983). Theory building in applied areas. In Locke, E. A., & Dunnette, M. D., Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (pp. 17-39). New York, NY.
    • Sutton, R. I., & Staw, B. M. (1995). What theory is not. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40(3), 371-384.
    • Weick, K. E. (1995). What theory is not, theorizing is. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40(3), 385-390.
    • Gregor, S. (2006). The nature of theory in information systems. MIS Quarterly, 30(3), 611-642.
    • Rynes, S. (2002). Some reflections on contribution. Academy of Management Journal, 45(2), 311-313.

    Also Required—Exemplar:

    • Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425-478.


    • Bacharach, S. B. (1989). Organizational theories: Some criteria for evaluation. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 496-515.
    • DiMaggio, P. J. (1995). Comments on “What theory is not”. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40(3), 391-397.
    • Elsbach, K. D., Sutton, R. I., & Whetten, D. A. (1999). Perspectives on developing management theory, circa 1999: Moving from shrill monologues to (relatively) tame dialogues. Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 627-633.
    • Feldman, D. C. (2004). What are we talking about when we talk about theory? Journal of Management, 30(5) 565–567.
  • Session 2


    • Johns, G. (2006). The essential impact of context on organizational behavior. Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 386-408.
    • Johns, G. (2017). Reflections on the 2016 decade award: Incorporating context in organizational research. Academy of Management Review, 42(4), 577-595.
    • Alvesson, M., & Kärreman, D. (2007). Constructing mystery: Empirical matters in theory development. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1265-1281.
    • Lee, A. S., & Baskerville, R. L. (2003). Generalizing generalizability in information systems research. Information Systems Research, 14(3), 221-243.
    • Whetten, D. A. (2009). An examination of the interface between context and theory applied to the study of Chinese organizations. Management and Organization Review, 5(1), 29-56.
    • Hong, W., Chan, F. K., Thong, J. Y., Chasalow, L. C., & Dhillon, G. (2013). A framework and guidelines for context-specific theorizing in information systems research. Information Systems Research, 25(1), 111-136.

    Also Required—Exemplars:

    • Venkatesh, V., Bala, H., & Sambamurthy, V. (2016). Implementation of an information and communication technology in a developing country: A multimethod longitudinal study in a bank in India. Information Systems Research, 27(3), 558-579.
    • Venkatesh, V., Maruping, L.M., and Brown, S.A. “Role of Time in Self-prediction of Behavior,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (100:2), 2006, 160-176. 


    • Venkatesh, V., Bala, H., & Sykes, T. A. (2010). Impacts of information and communication technology implementations on employees’ jobs in service organizations in India: A multi method longitudinal field study. Production and Operations Management, 19(5), 591-613.
  • Session 3 & 4


    • Weber, R. (2003). The problem of the problem. MIS Quarterly, 27(1), iii-ix.
    • Rai, A. (2017). Avoiding type iii errors: Formulating IS research problems that matter. MIS Quarterly, 42(2), iii-vii.
    • Van de Ven, A. H. (2007b). Formulating the research problem. In Van de Ven, A. H., Engaged scholarship: A guide for organizational and social research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    • Barley, S. R. (2016). 60th anniversary essay: Ruminations on how we became a mystery house and how we might get out. Administrative Science Quarterly, 61(1), 1-8.
    • Alvesson, M., & Sandberg, J. (2011). Generating research questions through problematization. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 247-271.
    • Venkatesh, V. (2011). Writing a paper. In Venkatesh, V., Road to success: A guide for doctoral students and junior faculty members in the behavioral and social sciences (pp. 41-54). Dog Ear Publishing.
    • Uzzi, B., Mukherjee, S., Stringer, M., & Jones, B. (2013). Atypical combinations and scientific impact. Science, 342(6157), 468-472.
    • Colquitt, J. A., & George, G. (2011). Publishing in AMJ-Part 1: Topic choice. Academy of Management Journal, 54(3), 432-435.
    • Grant, A. M., & Pollock, T. G. (2011). Publishing in AMJ-Part 3: Setting the hook. Academy of Management Journal, 54(5), 873-879.

    Also Required—Exemplars:

    • Venkatesh, V., Davis, F.D., Cheung, C.M.K, and Lee, Z.W.Y. “Cyberslacking in the Workplace: Antecedents and Effects on Job Performance,” MIS Quarterly. (5th round of review in progress; expected resubmission: Jun 2021)
    • Morris, M.G. and Venkatesh, V. “Job Characteristics and Job Satisfaction: Understanding the Role of Enterprise Resource Planning System Implementation,” MIS Quarterly (34:1), 2010, 143-161.


    • Eden, C., Jones, S., & Sims, D. (1983). Messing about in problems: An informal structured approach to their identification and management. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.
    • Davis, M. S. (1971). That’s interesting! Towards a phenomenology of sociology and a sociology of phenomenology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 1(2), 309-344.
    • Davis, M. S. (1986). ‘That’s classic!’ The phenomenology and rhetoric of successful social theories. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 16(3), 285-301.

    Literature Review


    • Bem, D. J. (1995). Writing a review article for psychological bulletin. Psychological Bulletin, 118(2), 172-177.
    • LePine, J. A., & King, A. W. (2010). Developing novel theoretical insight from reviews of existing theory and research. Academy of Management Review, 35(4), 506-509.
    • Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002). Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review. MIS Quarterly, 26(2), xiii-xxiii.
    • Torraco, R. J. (2005). Writing integrative reviews. Human Resource Development Review, 4(3), 356-367.

    Also Required—Exemplars:

    • Goode, S., Hoehle, H., Venkatesh, V., & Brown, S. A. (2017). User compensation as a data breach recovery action: An investigation of the Sony PlayStation network breach. MIS Quarterly, 41(3), 703-727.
    • Alavi, M., & Leidner, D. E. (2001). Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues. MIS Quarterly, 25(1), 107-136.
    • Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989). Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 57-74.
  • Session 7 (if possible)


    • Venkatesh, V. (2011). Building and sustaining a research program. In Venkatesh, V., Road to success: A guide for doctoral students and junior faculty members in the behavioral and social sciences (pp. 3-23). Dog Ear Publishing.

Workshop wrap up

MagIC recently hosted a workshop led by Viswanath Venkatesh, a renowned scholar in business and technology. The workshop delved into theory development and crafting empirical papers for top-tier journals.

Key Workshop Aspects:

  • Content: The workshop covered essential topics, including motivating research, building theory, writing effective papers, and aligning with research program objectives.
  • Structure: The workshop combined lectures and discussions, offering participants a comprehensive learning experience.
  • Delivery: The workshop was conducted online in June and featured face-to-face sessions in Lisbon.
  • Academic Credits: Successful completion of the workshop earned participants 5 ECTS credits.
  • Fees: A tuition fee of €450 was applicable, though it was waived for NOVA IMS PhD students, teachers, and researchers.

Professor Viswanath Venkatesh, a prolific scholar and director of Virginia Tech's Executive PhD program, led the workshop. His impactful research, extensive teaching experience, and numerous accolades in the field have made him a prominent figure in business and economics.

The workshop empowered participants with practical skills and knowledge to enhance their research capabilities, enabling them to produce impactful papers and align with broader research goals.


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