#16 ‘The Grabber’

Yesterday I got yet another paper published, this time with Markus Hällgren as a co-author. The paper is called ‘the grabber’ and it is written  an “honorary piece” to our mentor Tim.  One might ask, why call a paper ‘the grabber’? The answer is fairly simple. If you have ever co-authored a paper, or in any way collaborated, with Tim, you have gotten the question: “So, what is the grabber?” We try to provide an answer to his question.

The empirical part is based on the extensive list of journals that Tim have published in throughout the years. Believe it or not, it is 48 journals in total (January 2013). Out of the 48 journals, we selected 12 papers to illustrate the variety and nature of good grabbers. In the paper, each grabber was analyzed separately, based on its nature and style. The overall purpose of the papper is to contribute to the understanding of what a good grabber is and how to construct one!

The full paper can be downloaded here.

To cite: Jacobsson, Mattias and Hällgren, Markus (2014), “The grabber: making a first impression the Wilsonian way”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 739-751.


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of what a good grabber is and how to construct one. This is done by drawing on the insights provided by Professor Timothy L. Wilson, for whom this paper is written as an “honorary piece.”

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a small sample of papers from the 48 journals that have received contributions from Professor Wilson throughout the years. A total of 12 papers have been selected, using a mix of convenience and haphazard sampling. The grabber of each paper has then been analyzed based on its nature and style.

Findings – Based on the review and analysis, five different types of grabbers were identified; the quote, the anecdote, the provocative question, the surprise, and the metaphor, each type representing a unique way (and strategy) of creating initial interest.

Research limitations/implications – As this paper was intentionally based on a convenience sample, further investigation is needed to establish whether the presented categories have clear validity and/or whether there are additional categories/strategies for how to create good grabbers.

Originality/value – Creation of interest is an increasingly important part of everyday academic practice. As the grabber is a rarely addressed phenomenon in academic literature, the presented categories should be of both interest and practical use to academics in most fields.

Keywords – Academic writing, Timothy L. Wilson, Creating interest, Introductions, The grabber, The hock