Vice President and Program Chair: Tammy L. Madsen, Santa Clara University
Innovating for the Future invites members to examine the interplay of innovation, policy, and purpose as a lens for rethinking conventional ways of leading, managing, and organizing.
The future state of the organization is of perennial concern to management scholars and managers themselves. Political unrest, economic volatility, inequality, rapid technological change, environmental erosion, health crises, and pronounced societal issues across the globe continue to challenge traditional approaches to governing the organization.
What are the implications for the organization of the future? The unprecedented complexity underscores the importance of innovation and policy-making (at macro, meta, and micro levels) in shaping organizations in pursuit of sustainable growth. Developing novel managerial and organizational purpose driven solutions to address this complexity requires collaboration and co-innovation with and among multiple stakeholders. Yet, orchestrating an evolving and diverse set of independent actors to solve untamed problems requires working in unfamiliar ways. Empirical research also reveals the tradeoffs and difficulties organizations encounter when responding to the multi-faceted, concurrent challenges.
In today’s world, the intricacies of effectively leading and managing an organization demand a fresh perspective. And who better to continue to lead the charge than management scholars. We are uniquely positioned to question the status quo and reimagine how value is orchestrated, created, and distributed with and among diverse and loosely connected stakeholders. An example of a challenge at the intersection of multiple stakeholders is the nature and accelerated pace of digital technology development and adoption. ChatGPT had 1 million users within 5 days of its first release and reached 100M users in its first 2 months, faster than TikTok or Instagram. However, seven countries were quick to ban the product over concerns about privacy or the spread of misinformation and a large number of tech luminaries have signed an open letter that calls for pausing the development and testing of AI technologies. In a step to encourage responsible practices, the leading tech firms developing AI have committed to a set of basic safeguards for the fast-moving technology. Meanwhile, hundreds of artificial intelligence apps have emerged with promises to enhance automation, performance management, worker creativity and productivity; and workers, managers, and organizational leaders seek guidance on how AI will change the nature of work.
Such dramatic technological shifts coupled with amplifying environmental and public concerns serve as the backdrop for the 2024 theme. Instead of focusing on organizational reactions to the ever-changing complexities of our world, Innovating for the Future urges scholars to delve deep within organizations. By reimagining the organization from the inside out and considering the interplay of innovation, policy, and purpose, the theme seeks to unlock a wave of innovative insights and evidence-based contributions that pave the way for a brighter future for workers, managers, organizations, and society at large. Several questions emerge*:
*The theme questions will be refreshed downstream based on input from Division and Interest Group leaders.
Innovating for the future beckons scholars to broaden their thinking and creativity about what needs to change within organizations to address the persistent problems and opportunities of our time. The unparalleled level of complexity in today’s environment provides an opportunity for us, AOM’s ecosystem of scholars, educators and practitioners, to come together to make a compelling difference.