Wednesday, May 8, 2013

 Capitalism in Question

The Academy of Management (AOM) is a professional organization that strives to further the scholarship of management. It comprises twenty-five professional divisions and interest groups focussing on management problems. Examples of these divisions are „Business Policy and Strategy“, “Entrepreneurship“, “Human Resources“, or „Social Issues in Management“. Every year, the AOM carries out an Annual Meeting. Last year, more than 10,000 participants – primarily university professors – took part from all over the world. In numerous events, such as the Professional Development Workshops, Paper-Sessions, Panels and All Academy Symposia, the newest research and teaching methods were discussed. Also Switzerland was well represented, coming in at 10th place with respect to the number of participants.

For each of the AOM annual meetings a theme is selected. For this year’s meeting that takes place between the 9th and 13th August in Orlando, Florida, the theme will be “Capitalism in Question”.  Indeed, following the financial crisis of 2008, the business schools are challenged to review the foundations and assumptions upon which their research and teaching are based on. Currently, this is the neo-liberal economic theory and the corresponding theory of the firm. Questions and problems that the organizers have put in the center are for example:

·        While it is recognized that the market competition during the last decades brought great benefits, material prosperity and much innovation, it has also become clear that there are serious down sides: economic, social and ecological “costs”.
·        Research questions are called for that deal with the question if and how the capitalistic economic system can and should be further developed.

·        In need are also contributions that elucidate what alternatives there are to the current system and what would subsequently change in a social, economic and ecological context.

·        Connected with the above is also the question of by what social and ecological components the objective of shareholder value maximization by firms need be complemented and what this means for the role and self-conception of managers and leaders.

·        Also the question how true innovation can be upheld in firms – as for example via a shift of focus from rivalry to cooperation with stakeholders – has been included in the call for papers.

It will be interesting to see what an event of this size and scientific reputation will bring forth in terms of insights and impulses for the academic research and teaching in the area of management. I hope to be able to report some of these interesting news in a later blog post.

Edwin Rühli

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