PDW Co-Chairs: Dr Caroline Clarke, The Open University, UK and Dr Richard Longman, The University of the West of England, Bristol, UK,

2021 Division PDW Program: Call for Submissions 

The Critical Management Studies (CMS) division welcomes PDW proposals for the 2021 Academy of Management Annual Meeting which will be held virtually. PDWs create unique spaces in which participants can share their expertise and engage inclusively and provocatively with the audience. This year, our challenge is to deliver meaningful experiences for all participants while also establishing connections (literally and metaphorically) through communicative technologies. In line with the ethos of CMS, we will select PDWs on the basis that proposals:

  • are inclusive, diverse, and representative of the international CMS community; 
  • embody a spirit of innovative and active participation; 
  • incorporate early career researchers within the organizing team; and, 
  • experiment and innovate to revitalize our offering to the CMS community. 

Theme of Annual Meeting 2021: "Bringing the Manager Back Into Management"

CMS PDWs: Just about managing?

The theme of the Annual Meeting calls us (again) to focus our attention on managers; this invites an inevitable series of provocations. In our PDWs, we might confront the mainstream consensus that “bringing the manager back into management” is wholly desirable; or, we might reasonably ask, “have managers ever been away?”. We could explore how anthropocentric practices like management have led us to the precipice of climate breakdown and extinction, pandemics, and disaster capitalism. Or, could we reflect on how to decentre the continued ascendance of managers and management, at least in its current anthropogenic format? Our PDWs might take issue with the term “manager”, which is synonymous with a person, a role, or a job, and conjures up unhelpful stereotypical images, taking the focus off the collective in favour of the individual? In our PDWs “managing” might be a better way of conceptualising, since it is performative and enacted in each moment. And, the notion of “managing” can be understood on many levels; we note how it speaks about, and offers voice to, those who in the current climate are just about managing, or not managing at all. Through our PDWs, and taking up David Graeber’s challenge, we hope to reaffirm our critical commitments not to simply enact another “bullshit job” that contributes nothing to society.

CMS members are invited to propose ideas in the spirit of this call around what inspires them. Some relevant ideas for consideration:

  • Is CMS just about managing? As a community of scholars, how do we navigate notions that bringing the manager back into management is the solution rather than the problem? How do we disrupt managerially-oriented spaces, and co-construct bridges with colleagues across AOM?  What conversations could we have if we were decoupled from hegemonic views of management as the way to sustain hyper-capitalism. Through our day jobs, are we complicit in promoting a form of agnotology for future managers who believe that contingency is just an exception in an otherwise controllable world?
  • How might we illuminate our institutions? What more can be done to embody inclusivity and diversity, to widen our field of vision, and to enact the principles and practices we advocate? What is our response to “just about” managing, noting the prevalence of mental health issues, precarity, overwork, and suicide both in and outside of academia? How can we better commit to practicing what we preach, or are we just all talk and no action? What is the purpose and/or value of the “university” during these times? How might we bridge the chasm between the neoliberal managerialized university and those who work within its confines but are critical of its practices?
  • What price our silence? The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. CMS offers a sustained counternarrative to the human-centric preoccupation with management concerns, yet the organisation of anthropocentric practices concerning animals, particularly speciesism, remains largely ignored, as does climate catastrophe. Why are we silent on these most vital of topics? Could “managing” become a collective endeavour to ensure not only that humanity survives, but that we work towards a better understand of how we are all part of, not apart from, everything and everyone on planet earth? Perhaps, we have forgotten that vulnerability and humility is a form of courage?

Scholarship & Activism for Critical Management Studies

We invite CMS members to propose PDWs that extend the reach of our scholarship and enhance the potential of our activism. Proposals under this heading could deal with:

  • innovative methods of writing research (e.g. blogs, documentaries, social journalism, pedagogic materials, artistic creation);
  • new and/or emerging methods for collecting and analyzing data (e.g. methods suitable for conducting social research amidst pandemic conditions); and,
  • issues of performativity, reflexivity, voice, representation, praxis, phronesis, and parrhesia as they relate to the epistemological and methodological concerns of CMS members.

Pedagogies & Practices for Critical Management Studies

We invite CMS members to propose PDWs that inform and innovate our pedagogies and practices. Proposals under this heading could address:

  • alternative pedagogies which deemphasise the role of teacher as the manager of learning and/or elevate marginalised voices and literatures through decolonising curricula;
  • individual teacher/student interactions, module/programme development, and how digital technologies shape experiences of teaching and learning; and,
  • alternative practices which align what we do outside of the classroom with our critical scholarly ethos. 

Doctoral and Early Career Consortia

The CMS PDW Program also incorporates the Doctoral and Early Career Consortia. If you are a doctoral candidate and/or early career faculty, please contact us with your ideas and get involved in the consortia. You are the future of the division; we welcome you.

Developing proposals 

Our virtual format demands that we leave habitual modes of delivery behind and explore creative formats that harness the very best that communicative technology has to offer. The technology available to us allows for large group/small group, discussion, and “hands-on” group work. Let’s talk about what is possible.

You may find useful the PDW Guidelines for Submission, along with A Guide for Creating and Managing a Good Professional Development Workshop. We want to have conversations relevant with other divisions, to build connections and a critical community across the AOM. As such, please indicate how the PDW is of interest to the members of up to three other divisions. 

If you would like to discuss a potential proposal, you are invited to email us before the submissions are open: The submission deadline is 12 January 2021, at 5:00 PM ET (NY Time).

Annual Meeting
Key Dates

2021 Annual Meeting

  • Papers available for viewing: through 31 October 2021

  • Sessions available for viewing: through 31 December 2021

2022 Annual Meeting
5-9 August