EPFL Professor named Editor-in-Chief of Academy of Management Journal

Marc Gruber © 2022 EPFL

Marc Gruber © 2022 EPFL

In early 2022, the prestigious Academy of Management Journal announced that EPFL Professor Marc Gruber would become its Editor-in-Chief, the 23rd in its over 60-year history. This is the first time a scholar with a European-based PhD has been appointed to this position, and only the second time that the editorship for the journal is based at a European institution.

Marc Gruber will take over as Editor-in-Chief for the Academy of Management Journal (AMJ) in July 2022, working with a hand-picked team of 22 Associate and Deputy Editors to ensure the journal continues to be the premier outlet for empirical management research, and that it attracts the most interesting and impactful studies across all sub-fields in management at a time when organizations face unprecedented new challenges and opportunities. Previously, he held the positions of Associate Editor and Deputy Editor at AMJ from 2013-2019.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be serving AMJ and the Academy of Management in this position,” Gruber says. The Academy of Management currently has over 17,000 members from 112 countries, giving AMJ powerful reach and impact across the globe. The studies published in the journal shape scholarly conversations, inspire new research trajectories, and advance managerial practice.

Gruber, a Full Professor at EPFL’s College of Management of Technology, says we are in a uniquely interesting time in the field of management and organizational research. This is due in part to the rise of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, along with key social and sustainability challenges that need to be addressed by organizations.

“Management is facing major changes to an extent we have never seen before. New technology changes how businesses can be run, and how they create and capture value within and beyond their industry boundaries. Employees are striving for a stronger sense of purpose in their work. And organizations are seeking greater levels of diversity, equity and inclusion, with stakeholders and society requiring businesses to address the Grand Challenges of our times,” Gruber explains. “While these changes present challenges, they also enable exciting new opportunities. Academic research has a key role to play in shaping our understanding of this transformational era and to offer guidance in what many perceive as particularly turbulent times.”

To reflect this changing landscape, Gruber is looking for articles that approach the challenges and opportunities in management in a fresh and novel way. “In particular, the whole editorial team will be looking for the ‘new new thing’ in the manuscripts we receive – fresh, creative and inspiring research, solidly executed and well-crafted, that push the boundaries of what we know about management and organizations.”

New ideas, new voices

Finding these new new articles will require Gruber and his team to not only determine which submissions are up to the journal’s impeccable academic standards, but also to seek out new voices from important discussions that so far happen almost exclusively in dedicated niche journals and from regions of the world that may be underrepresented in academic publications.

Having someone from Europe at the helm will help shape the perception that there’s representation of different groups of scholars, and that the journal is a highly inclusive place for the most interesting research.

Marc Gruber

As part of this mission to bring on a wider range of authors, Gruber plans to use various digital communication channels and inspiring formats as a way of to engage a diverse set of scholars, run dedicated paper development workshops, and reach underserved regions of the world.

“The significant changes to management and organizations also affect the role of an editor in the 21st century. It is about publishing the best research, but it is also about engaging with a diverse set of scholars and the wider audience in ways that enable an even more fruitful exchange of ideas and insights for a stronger impact on research and practice,” Gruber says. “The Academy of Management with its global membership offers a wonderful platform to accomplish just that!”

An entrepreneurial education

Gruber is looking forward to bringing the journal to Europe and to EPFL in particular. Having the prestigious management journal at EPFL will be an opportunity for the school to receive visibility as a renowned institution working at the forefront of management scholarship.

“It proves that EPFL can be home to important intellectual discussions in dimensions beyond its core engineering and natural science disciplines, while at the same time inspiring these discussions by the very fact that its researchers work at the frontier of technology and, thus, offer an intriguing glimpse into future technological possibilities that will shape organizations and society in the years to come” Gruber says.

Gruber joined EPFL in 2005 as an Assistant Professor teaching courses in entrepreneurship. Before that, he spent five years at the University of Munich, where he completed his habilitation and established the university’s entrepreneurship center. He earned his master’s degree and PhD from the University of St. Gallen and spent over a year as a visiting scholar at the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania (United States).

He has taught a number of entrepreneurship courses at EPFL and appreciates the opportunity to introduce students to a different field and to perspectives that they might not get in their other courses. “I love teaching entrepreneurship and innovation,” Gruber explains. “You develop new business ideas with your students. They discover and sharpen their own entrepreneurial mindsets, learn how important detailed customer insights are, what it takes to finance a new venture, how you analyze the competition, and more. By offering courses at the intersection of management and technology, one’s teaching can have a lot of impact on how students think about technology, the purpose of technology in society, and what one can accomplish with technology.”

In his teaching, Gruber also draws on his influential business framework the “Market Opportunity Navigator” developed in the book Where to Play – 3 Steps for Discovering your Most Valuable Market Opportunities, which he co-authored with Sharon Tal. “Publishing this book and supporting the worldwide adoption of the “Market Opportunity Navigator” has taught me valuable lessons on reaching out to managers, innovators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, and I certainly will benefit from these insights in my work as editor of AMJ.”

Technology for good

From 2017 – 2021, Gruber also held the four-year appointment of EPFL Vice President for Innovation. During his tenure, he had many accomplishments, including launching initiatives such as Tech4Impact, which fosters the development of sustainable technological solutions with positive environmental and societal impacts through collaborations with NGOs and companies.

He also expanded the EPFL Innovation Park, which now hosts over 200 companies, helped small- and medium-sized companies in Switzerland embrace different technologies, supported EPFL students in achieving their entrepreneurial ambitions and start their own businesses, and prioritized the development of social and sustainability ventures.

“This was an exciting role, working with a fantastic innovation team and shaping EPFL’s capacity in bringing new technology to market,” Gruber says. “With the development of technology often comes interesting opportunities, along with a lot of responsibility.”