20/20: Broadening our Sight
80th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
7-11 August 2020
The most pressing challenges in the 21st century are directly or indirectly related to management and organizations: conflict, discrimination, corruption, well-being, economic opportunity and equality, and climate change. At the same time, there are important challenges that we are facing in our own profession such as changing models and innovations for teaching and learning, increasing pressure to publish in “A” journals, tensions over the MBA market, and the evolving nature of the university business model. We, members of the Academy of Management (AOM), are in a privileged position to produce and disseminate knowledge to address these challenges.
However, there are dichotomies that stand in the way of producing actionable knowledge to address these monumental challenges. In many cases, these are self-imposed dichotomies that have emerged over time and produced strong professional and personal identities. In turn, these barriers often prevent us from creating and sharing knowledge that would create value for individuals, organizations, society, and our own profession. Examples of these dichotomies are embracing micro or macro theories and research, using qualitative or quantitative methods, focusing on knowledge creation or knowledge dissemination, emphasizing research or teaching, highlighting rigor or relevance, and so many others that I am sure you can think of right now.
We often lament that our work is not as influential compared to that of scholars in other fields such as economics. We often lament that our field is not as relevant and, frankly, as helpful as it could be. But, it is unlikely that we will be able to make impactful contributions to addressing major organizational, societal, and professional challenges if our scholarship and teaching adopt an “or” rather than an “and” approach. These self-imposed choices restrict our sight and create a narrow and often incomplete view of organizational phenomena. Using the 20/20 vision analogy, which means that we can see things more clearly, the 2020 theme invites members to break down dichotomies and broaden the way we “see” management and organizations and our own profession.
By broadening our sight we can overcome dichotomies and avoid zero-sum propositions. Broadening our sight creates synergies, increased value-added, and positive results for individuals, organizations, society, and the field of management and organizations. To do so, I invite you to provide answers to questions such as: How can we integrate qualitative/quantitative and micro/macro methodologies, theories, and domains? How can we have an impact on both internal (i.e., other academics) and external (i.e., practitioners, policy makers) stakeholders? How can we integrate our research and teaching activities? How can we value different types of publications that target internal (e.g., other researchers) and external (i.e., practitioners) stakeholders? How can we find convergence across different domains to tackle common theoretical and practical problems? How can we balance scientific rigor with the demands for quick publications? How can AOM serve the diverse interests of its global membership? How can management and organizations build meaningful collaborations with other fields? How can firms embrace sustainability and financial performance?