Editor’s letter

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 1 December 2005


Randall, R.M. (2005), "Editor’s letter", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 33 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/sl.2005.26133faa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Editor’s letter

Strategy & Leadership selects and edits articles with the goal of publishing issues that are useful and interesting to busy managers. To achieve this goal, the articles submitted go through a sometimes lengthy process off stage, one that we don’t routinely describe in detail. However, we operate in an era when internal practices rate full disclosure, as evidenced by the recent New York Times article explaining its policies for editing submissions to its Op-Ed page, the section that accepts readers’ contributions. Reading it reminded me that Strategy & Leadership’s readers and potential authors likely have similar questions, and so I’m taking this opportunity to describe and explain our editing procedures.

Before an article is accepted for publication in S&L it goes through one or more cycles of peer review. Next comes several steps – editing, approval by the author, and proofreading. Here’s how we handle the process.

Only a small percentage of articles submitted are selected for peer review. The reviews are usually completed within two weeks or less. So that we can provide authors with such speedy responses, we focus attention on articles that will likely be accepted or have potential.

For these target articles, reviewers make comments and suggestions, ask questions, and propose cuts or additions. The editor moderates the discussion among reviewers that takes place via e-mail and conveys their opinions about the need for fixes to the author.

If the consensus of the reviewers is to accept or try to improve an article, the editor may draft a rewrite of it that incorporates the suggestions of the reviewers.

After peer review, here are some things the editor will do:

  • Edit an article so that it will be easily readable by a corporate manager who is pressed for time. This means making the key points as compelling as possible and removing jargon and other extraneous verbiage. If a sentence doesn’t make clear what an author is trying to say, I will either ask for clarification, or I’ll make a guess and suggest more precise language.

  • Fix grammar and punctuation. Make stylistic changes. Tip: S&L uses American punctuation and spelling. Information on style – endnotes, references, pictures, length, etc. – is available on our web site at www.StrategyandLeadership.com

  • Though it is the author’s responsibility to ensure that an article is fair and accurate, we check as many facts as we can – names, dates, book titles, for example. Before we publish a phone number we call it.

The reviewers and the editor together assess the logic and practicality of the article and the reasonableness of all assertions. We consider articles from the viewpoint of a practicing manager. Our key task is to insure that each article contains all the elements of S&L’s editorial model, which is: insightfully define a strategic management problem, dilemma, or opportunity from the perspective of senior management; propose a creative solution to the problem or a way to take advantage of the opportunity; describe the model, tool, technique or concept that enables the solution; show evidence or examples that the proposed solution has worked or will work; provide a mini-case of the process in action; show results; list the how-to steps; note the pitfalls; and lay out next steps.

Finally I send the edited version of the article to the author for review. Every editing change is only a suggestion. If a solution offered by an editor doesn’t suit the writer, we work together to find an answer to the problem. At S&L, editing is a cooperative venture, a process designed to facilitate the conversation between the author and reader.

Good editing benefits authors and readers. However, a bonus is that it allows S&L to publish articles by people who have important experience practicing strategic management but who are not professional writers. We want these pages to continue to offer them the opportunity to share their insights.

Robert M. RandallEditor

Saul J. Berman appointed to the Strategy & Leadership Editorial Advisory Board

I am pleased to announce that Saul J. Berman, a partner at IBM Business Consulting Services, has accepted my invitation to join the Editorial Advisory Board of Strategy & Leadership. His many contributions to the publication over the years, and his distinguished consulting experience, make him an outstanding addition to the S&L team.

Dr Berman is the strategy and change leader for IBM’s Global Media & Entertainment industry. He has over 20 years consulting experience advising senior management of large corporate organizations, as well as start-up companies, on a broad range of strategy, organizational transformation and operations issues. His clients have included entertainment and telecommunication companies, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers in the United States, Japan, Europe and Australia.

Voted one of Consulting Magazine’s “Top 25 Most Influential Consulting Leaders of 2005,” Dr Berman has authored numerous articles and publications and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and strategic planning seminars.

Prior to joining IBM, Dr Berman was the global lead partner for the Strategic Change practice at Pricewaterhouse Coopers where he also created the “Future Series” of thought leadership publications.

Since 1990 he has published seven articles in Strategy & Leadership and its predecessor, Planning Review, including one in this issue: “How successful companies challenge conventional wisdom about the limits to growth,” co-authored with Vivek Kapur, Jeffere Ferris and John Juliano.