At a special meeting, the Board of Governors decided how to proceed with next year’s annual event. The Call for Submissions will be released in late November.
As planning for our Annual Meeting would typically be underway, the Board of Governors convened a special meeting on 25 October to decide how to proceed with next year’s meeting. While we considered our organizational values and driving goals, the health and safety of our members was paramount to our decision-making. Our members are spread around the world, and every continent has been marked by COVID-19 resurgences. Currently, the World Health Organization warns that there is no “zero risk” in relation to international travel and recommends that priority be given to “essential travel for emergencies, humanitarian actions, travel of essential personnel and repatriation.”
With prohibitions on travel into the United States from high-risk countries, approximately 40% of program participants would be subject to some level of travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. or their home countries if the conference were held today. With a 14-day quarantine on arrival to Pennsylvania recommended for domestic travelers originating in 25 U.S. states, another 20% of our participating members would be impacted. Members’ ability to travel are further limited by pre-existing conditions, caring for others at home, and funding cuts.
The City of Philadelphia has currently canceled all large events for 2020 and will reassess its restrictions on gatherings larger than 250 in the first quarter of 2021. We are told that decisions about large scale events will be based on the risk of each activity and the level of the virus in Philadelphia. However, with the Philadelphia Convention Center currently closed and many hotels suspending their operation, the earliest date by which a conference of the size of our annual meeting might be given a green light to proceed is late March 2021.
Based on these and other considerations, the Board of Governors decided that the 2021 Academy of Management Annual Meeting will be held virtually. We believe that by making this decision now, we give members more flexibility in their personal planning and are better positioned as an organization to deliver a strong virtual annual meeting. While members enthusiastically embraced the virtual format for this year’s meeting, they provided invaluable feedback regarding how the experience could be improved. Therefore, this decision allows us and the Division and Interest Group leaders to build on the strengths of the 2020 meeting and offer expanded live content, networking, feedback opportunities, and career services alongside improved operational planning, communications, and delivery.
As we begin planning for our virtual 2021 Annual Meeting, the Call for Submissions will be released in late November. In addition, members will receive updates from AOM and the divisions and interest groups according to our standard program development timeline. These communications will include information for submitters, presenters, and attendees to help prepare for what we expect will be a great annual meeting.
Although we missed the opportunity to convene in-person this year and were all looking forward to the possibility of doing so in 2021, members’ well-being is our priority. We appreciate your continued support and membership in the Academy and know that together we will continue to be the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars.