The ‘WEIRDEST’ Organizations in the World? Assessing the Lack of Sample Diversity in Organizational Research
The study of organizations and managers is a social science. Sampling data from organizations and humans associated with those organizations is therefore an essential part of research in the discipline. Much of what we know today about organizations and their stakeholders is based on such empirical work. However, there is reason to believe that the field’s empirical foundation is compromised. Most samples in the social sciences have been collected in a small, relatively homogeneous subset of contexts. Past discussions about sample diversity in organizational research have already focused on potential issues with human subject pools (e.g., online, student, or convenience samples). However organizational research utilizes a broad set of sampling methodologies beyond sampling human participants. Here we propose to assess the lack of sample diversity in organizational research by systematically reviewing the origin of data in empirical publications throughout the discipline. We conduct a systematic review of articles published between 2018-2022 in six top-tier, empirically-focused management journals (k = 2000). In our review, we observe a significant lack of sample diversity across several dimensions, most notably an overrepresentation of samples from the US and Europe, beyond what would be expected based on the relative economic importance of the respective contexts. Our review discusses how this sample bias limits the generalizability, practical applicability, and innovation potential of organizational research.