Program Co-Chairs: Alison Pullen, Macquarie University and Ozan Nadir Alakavuklar, Utrecht University,
2021 Division Scholarly Program: Call for Submissions

We invite submissions falling within the scope of the CMS Division’s domain statement for the scholarly program at the 2021 Academy of Management virtual conference.

The CMS Division is an international, multidisciplinary community. As a group, we aim to foster meaningful research as well as an academic ethos of curiosity and solidarity. Research falling under the CMS domain aims to make visible reified structures of power and expose people’s everyday struggles.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 presented multiple global and local challenges for our everyday lives, albeit at varying degrees.  It has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities that result from environmental changes, land and poverty inequality, racial capitalism, and authoritarianism. Our Division’s values of solidarity, care and collaboration become ever more important at the level of individual care and connection, and in asking: what function does Critical Management Studies play in thinking through and challenging dominant power relations that continue to affect individuals, communities and institutions? How do we need to think differently and act differently to question the institutions that continue to oppress and exploit individuals for their own gain? What forms of organizing are taking place? How are social movements playing an important role in challenging the status quo and correcting inequalities? Whose voices are absent from the critiques taking place? What is the value of critique without action?

In spite of the global challenges experienced, the 81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management will go ahead with the theme “Bringing the Manager Back in Management”. Although contested by various critical theoretical traditions, the CMS project always took managers, the management profession and management education seriously within either the frame of critical performativity or the structural dynamics that shape them. For decades it has questioned the function of management and has offered multiple critiques of managing and the role of managers, including through addressing power and hierarchy, and politics and ethics. The relationships between capitalism, bureaucracy and management have been analyzed and critiques of managerialism, and its effects, are commonplace. CMS has focused on the relationship between managers and organizational corruption and organizational failure seriously. In the university sector, the role of the academic manager in managing against university threats and increasing precarity is an important area of critical analysis.

For the 2021 conference, we call for our community to engage with how can managers, management, and alternative ways organizing address the challenges ahead. How do we build fairer, more inclusive organizations? How do managers play a vital role in contemporary organizing? What critiques, including gendered and feminist critiques, of management, are useful in seeing the future of managers differently? What are the dynamics at play when management and managers work against the grain of their organizations? What are alternative ways of managing? What are the risks of managing differently? What management practices challenge the inequalities, injustices and corruption associated with the managerial classes?  What is the future of the manager? What is the future of management? Is the future one of democratic organizing? What does an alternative manager look like? Is the future one of anti-management? What can we learn from whistleblowers in shaping new visions of management? What are the cultural struggles in this critical project? And, given critical leadership studies, how can we continue to question the role of leadership in management studies? Do we need leaders, and what are the risks associated with leaderless organizations? Finally, in which ways, and through which pedagogies, can we advance the agenda of critical management education for social transformation?
There is enormous potential for CMS scholars to engage with and interrogate the AOM theme. We invite theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions to the study of management and organizations from all places, ontological perspectives, epistemological affiliations, disciplinary orientations, methodological approaches, and empirical contexts. Specifically, we ask for contributions that build on established critiques but open up new debates concerning the role of managers and management in a world paralyzed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to ongoing struggles around ecological crisis and social justice.  It is time to think differently, to work differently. What can we learn from deep social science in thinking through this year’s theme? Approaches to understanding these dynamics draw on a wide range of perspectives including anarchist, critical theory, feminist, transnational feminist, anti-racist feminist, labour process Marxist and post-Marxist, post-structuralist, postmodern, postcolonial and decolonial, psychoanalytic, post-humanist as well as other approaches. Some recent trends in topics include but are not limited to: organizations in the Anthropocene, inequalities, activism, social change and social movements, alternative economic and organizational forms, power and elite individuals and organizations, feminist ecology, and critical histories of management thought.

Please check the CMS website to refer to the various awards given by the CMS Division. Scholarly papers (theoretical and empirical) and symposium proposals that address the conference theme are particularly welcomed. Papers and symposium proposals not directly engaging with the conference theme are also invited, as long as they relate to the CMS domain and advance scholarship within the Academy. We also encourage proposals that cross-division and interest group boundaries to engage members from across the Academy; in particular, we invite symposium proposals with multiple division co-sponsors.

If you would like to discuss a potential submission, especially for a symposium, 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). Please note that both PDW and Scholarly sessions may take place any day during the Annual Meeting, Friday, 30 July – Tuesday, 3 August.

Call for reviewers: Our community needs you!

The quality of our Division’s scholarly program very much depends on your willingness to sign up to review the submissions to the CMS Division main program. Even if you do not intend to submit or attend, we encourage you to sign up as a reviewer and help us put together a great meeting. We know from last year that early-career scholars continue to find the CMS Division import for presenting their work, meeting faculty, and gaining feedback. We hope that you are able to offer your resources to build our community. The Division recognizes the valuable role played by reviewers through its award for Best Developmental Reviewer. Please sign up to review.

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