Random Thoughts from the AoM
| Peter Klein |
Back now from the AoM conference in Anaheim. Random thoughts:
1. The Critical Management Studies Division (yes, it really exists) featured, as a keynote speaker, none other than Ward Churchill, former professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado (fired in 2007 for professional misconduct). His talk: “On the Banality of Managerial Efficiency: The ‘Eichman Question’ Revisited.” Apparently the Late Unpleasantness (1, 2) did not disqualify him from this eminent academic honor. I did not attend the talk but was told he was “impressive.”
BTW, if you’re wondering about this division of the Academy, look no farther than the CMS website:
The Critical Management Studies Division is a forum within the Academy for the expression of views critical of unethical management practices and exploitative social order. Our premise is that structural features of contemporary society, such as the profit imperative, patriarchy, racial inequality, and ecological irresponsibility often turn organizations into instruments of domination and exploitation. Driven by a shared desire to change this situation, we aim in our research, teaching, and practice to develop critical interpretations of management and society and to generate radical alternatives. Our critique seeks to connect the practical shortcomings in management and individual managers to the demands of a socially divisive and ecologically destructive system within which managers work.
2. You know how all stereotypes are based on elements of truth? I noticed that the receptions hosted by groups and organizations dominated by economists (such as the BPS Division) tended to have cash bars, while those dominated by psychologists and sociologists (e.g., anything to do with organizational behavior) tended to have open bars.
3. At economics conferences, the custom for paper sessions is to assign one discussant for each paper. At management conferences, the custom is to give one discussant the entire session. I was a discussant at a very interesting ENT session on startups and family firms. The papers were closely related by topic, but completely unrelated by approach (one formal agency-theory paper, one econometrics paper, and two conceptual theory papers, one based on social psychology and one based on organizational sociology). I know something about startups and family firms, but virtually nothing about social psychology and organizational sociology. The authors of those two papers clearly didn’t get their money’s worth from the discussant.
4. Brayden and Millo have also posted some thoughts about the conference. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the Socializing Finance poolside gathering. But it was nice seeing many current and former fellow-bloggers throughout the event.