- Announcement:Transportation Journal Special Themed Issue
Linking Practice and Theory: Advancing Middle-range Theory in Transportation and Logistics
The evolution of transportation and logistics research has advanced the state of inquiry from descriptive to one that emphasizes theory building and testing. Consequently, much of the research has drawn on behavioral and organizational theories and frameworks in order to explain decision-making and practices and to predict the behavior of groups and firms. As a result, much of theory in transportation and logistics helps to describe, explain, and predict phenomena at a very high level. Middle-range theory focuses on discovery and problem solving that complements extant methodologies, advances the discipline as a science, and enhances the practical relevance of the work. A well-known example is the conjecturing and systematic development of activity-based costing and the balanced scorecard. Middle-range theory is context-specific knowledge of which discovery may need little theoretical foundation. Holmstrom, Ketokivi, and Hameri assert that the goal of middle-range theory is to study a problem with the ultimate goal of having some useful application that helps to solve that problem.1 That is, it bridges practice to theory rather than theory to practice.
We are pleased to announce that the Summer 2016 issue will focus on the theme of middle-range theory in transportation and logistics. Manuscripts should be submitted no later than August 31, 2015, for consideration. Please refer to http://www.editorialmanager.com/TransJour for author and submission guidelines.
Manuscripts for this themed issue are anticipated to address a variety of topics related to the identification, development, and/or application of middle-range theories. Manuscripts should demonstrate an understanding of the following characteristics of middle-range theory:
• It is fundamentally multidisciplinary or, at a minimum, it applies the expertise and insight from one knowledge domain to another.
• It makes use of abductive reasoning, which is fundamentally different from induction and deduction. [End Page 157]
• It involves means-ends analysis where the solution has been tested in contexts other than the one where it was originally developed.
• The theoretical relevance of the solution design is established. It provides the basis for developing theory aimed at broader generalization.
The Transportation Journal has been the leading journal of logistics and supply chain-related transportation research for over 50 years. The publication of a special themed issue on middle-range theory in transportation and logistics contributes to the journal’s mission to advance new knowledge relating to all sectors of the supply chain/logistics/transportation field.
We very much look forward to your contributions to this special themed issue of the Transportation Journal.
1. Holmstrom, J., M. Ketokivi, and A. Hameri. 2009. “Bridging Practice and Theory: A Design Science Approach.” Decision Sciences 40 (1): 65-86. [End Page 158]