John Antonakis, Samuel Bendahan and Rafael Lalive, who are all professors at HEC Lausanne (UNIL) and Philippe Jacquart (EM Lyon Business School and a former student at HEC Lausanne), have received an award recognising the impact of one of their articles over the last 10 years. The prize was awarded by The Leadership Quarterly, one of the leading journals in the field of leadership, management and applied psychology.
The Leadership Quarterly, a renowned international journal in political, social and behavioural science, awards an annual prize to the article from 10 years earlier that has had the greatest impact. This is measured by the number of citations the article has had over the last 10 years. The editorial team shortlists the five most-cited articles and then votes independently to decide on the winner. (Although John Antonakis has been the deputy editor-in-chief since 2016, the article was accepted in 2010, prior to his appointment, excluding him from the voting process).
The article by John Antonakis, Samuel Bendahan, Philippe Jacquart and Rafael Lalive "On Making Causal Claims: a review and recommendations" (2010) thus won the award in 2019. It was chosen for having fundamentally changed the way in which the fields of management and applied psychology view the design of research. It is fair to say that the findings of articles published in the majority of journals in these fields previously could not be interpreted causally. As a result, their usefulness in policy terms could be thrown into doubt because of endogeneity bias – for example, where there are confounding variables that are not correctly controlled. The article therefore explains the conditions required for making causal inferences and examines a random set of articles in the field, showing that the inferences made were not backed by data or the conditions under which they were designed. Since the article’s publication, numerous journals have adopted the standards suggested by the four researchers.
It previously won the “best article” prize awarded by The Leadership Quarterly when it was published in 2010. It has also been recognised as a “highly cited” article in Clarivate’s Web of Science, and is often assigned as compulsory reading in PhD programmes on statistics or methodologies.
“I am very proud to have co-written this article with my authors and even prouder that we have moved the field forward. Moreover, the article was a team effort, and rather notable that Samuel Bendahan and Philippe Jacquart were PhD students when they co-authored it with Rafael Lalive and me. Both of them are now accomplished researchers in their own regard,” comments John Antonakis.
“I am extremely happy and touched that our work has been recognised in this way. In a world of alternative facts and fake news, it sends a strong signal on building trust in high-quality academic research. We all need better tools for understanding causality, and taking the best possible decisions with the information available,” adds Samuel Bendahan.
“I am glad that today, this joint and interdisciplinary research has influenced thinking on causal inference,” concludes Rafael Lalive.
The whole school congratulates the three professors on the award.