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Pre-AOM 2020 ONE Times: Message from Chair Judith Walls

  • 1.  Pre-AOM 2020 ONE Times: Message from Chair Judith Walls

    Posted 07-17-2020 07:14
    Edited by Dante Ignacio Leyva-de La Hiz 07-17-2020 08:18

    Pre-AOM 2020 ONE Times: Message from Chair Judith Walls

    Dear ONErs,
    Normally, this would be the time of year for pre-Academy of Management Annual Meeting excitement and I would be looking forward to seeing you all in person at the ONE division events. Clearly, this year is different.
    When I began my year as Division Chair, it was all about #Fridays4Future and there was a momentum around climate action and a sense of excitement and urgency to bring about change, both within ONE and the AOM, as well as through our research and engagement with external audiences.
    How things have changed over just a few months!
    COVID-19 arrived and slowly became a global pandemic that many of us are still dealing with as an everyday reality. We've had to move our courses online overnight, and as the conference season came nearer, we also realized that most of our conferencing would become virtual. That has now become a reality and instead of seeing our friends and colleagues in person, we will be limited to a virtual world of meet-and-greet. AOM has been proactive in getting our Annual Meeting into shape for a virtual experience, and I tip my hat to all those who have been involved in making it happen.
    We've also seen more attention to issues of justice, structural racism and racial equality. For our colleagues in North America this movement is particularly pertinent. As a truly global citizen, I can confidently say that systemic racism is present everywhere and the time is more than ripe for us to fight racial inequality. Here too, AOM has responded and I encourage you to check out the official statement here. Our AOM President-Elect, Quinetta Roberson, has taken an active role in addressing these issues and you can follow her Twitter account for insight into what she has been working on. I have been active educating myself on the topic – as a white person with a privileged background, I cannot even come close to understanding what our Black colleagues and other minorities  face on a daily basis. What I have learned so far, is that it is imperative that we stand up for our colleagues and actively fight racial inequality at every opportunity, and address it at a systemic level where these issues are  deeply embedded.
    The year of 2020 seems to be a true turning point for sustainability, both social and environmental. Allow me a moment to reflect on the start of my ONE executive team journey when I was PDW Chair in 2017. During the ONE Plenary that year, I distinctly recall panelist Gail Whiteman pointing out the "urgency, urgency, urgency" for climate action. She said that we must bend the emissions curve by 2020, and asked "What will ONE be doing by 2020?". With some horror, I realized that 2020 would be 'my' year as Division Chair and I needed to get my act together. Together with the Executive Committee, we began a journey that took a more active role. Over the past few years, our Greening Team has actively pushed the emissions agenda. Last year, we appealed to AOM that we needed to start thinking about a virtualization component of the conference – AOM responded by giving us a "Strategic Project Fund", the purpose of which was to pilot some virtualization for our Annual Meeting this year. Since the entire conference is now taking place virtually, we have not had to use these funds. Nevertheless, the Greening Team has been actively building virtual components to our division. One such initiative spearheaded by Sylvia Grewatsch is the Impact Scholarly Community which you should check out. 
    ONE also created a 'rapid-response' group a few years back for communication on urgent sustainability topics. This year, we built on that idea when COVID-19 became a pandemic. Jorge Rivera took the lead to get our research "out there" quickly, for a more general audience, to consider how our research could inform corporate responses during COVID-19. More than 60 op-eds were posted by Nicholas Poggioli on the ONE website, but I also wanted to ensure that we collaborated across as many (academic) sustainability platforms as possible, and these pieced ended up being cross-posted at ARCS, the Business & Society blog, GRONEN, NBS, RRBM, and the SIM division; and in some cases authors also shared their op-eds via Medium, the Conversation, and CSR Wire, as well as the usual social media channels. I believe this initiative was a step in the right direction and pushed many of us to break out of our comfort zones and dabble in the world of social media and engage with the general public.
    We've also been blessed with proactive initiatives from our PhD community this year. Lucrezia Nava, Simone Carmine, and Rosalie Luo have set up a network "for students, by students" called the Sustainability PhD Candidates Community. The idea is to connect young scholars who work on sustainability and management, supporting one another on research, ideas, the job market, and many other things. I think this develop shows how far we've matured as a division in that our doctoral students are starting to self-organize. ONE is formally supporting this initiative, in collaboration with GRONEN. Somewhat related to this, Nicholas Poggioli from the ONE Communications team has begun to use a hashtag #jobs for any jobs posted on AOMConnect – this will help make searching for such announcements a lot easier and I encourage you to use the hashtag if posting a job opening.
    We now find ourselves in the middle of preparing for a virtual Annual Meeting. And here, I must give huge kudos to several people. First and foremost, massive kudos to Ivan Montiel, this year's Program Chair, and Sukhbir Sandhu, our PDW Chair. Both of these individuals have probably done more than double the workload than in a normal "program" year. They had already gone through the process of accepting papers and symposia, and entered them into the system, before AOM made a decision to go virtual. After that decision, a lot of work had to be reconfigured. Decisions needed to be made about synchronous versus asynchronous sessions, pulling in people who could chair digital sessions, convincing session organizers to go forth with their sessions, and so on. I want to thank Ivan and Sukhbir for their tremendous dedication to ONE and all the extra hard work that went into our program this year.
    I also want to thank ONEr, René Bohnsack, for agreeing to be on the AOM "Virtual Component Team" Task Force; his involvement in that taskforce put ONE in the limelight and all the feedback I've had from AOM is that ONE has been amazing in this process of waving the flag in support of a virtual conference and providing not only positive energy but also helpful material and suggestions.
    With our 'core' teams being so busy this year, we leaned more heavily on other ONE teams. As such, I want to extend a warm thanks to the Communications Team for having to carry a heavier this load this year and take point on a number of topics that needed to be communicated far and wide. Similarly, the Awards Team has had to adapt their approach at the last minute, moving to a virtual setting to hand out the awards which required a lot of extra work. Here I also need to acknowledge Gordon Rands for once again hand-crafting the awards that will be mailed out to the winners. Our new Treasurer, Ajith Venugopal, has had to learn a totally new way of 'treasuring' since everything is different this year when it comes to budget, and he's done an amazing job in his new role. I also want to thank Garima Sharma, our official ONE Fundraiser, who has worked closely with Ajith and has successfully found a number of sponsors in spite of all the upheaval this year.
    Speaking of sponsorship, a huge thanks goes out to the University of South Australia (Centre for Workplace Excellence), Alberta School of Business/University of Alberta, Whitman School of Management/Syracuse University (Sustainable Enterprise Partnership), the Network for Business Sustainability (Ivey Business School/Western University), Sloan School of Management/MIT, Rotterdam School of Management/Erasmus University and the University of St Gallen (Institute for Economy and the Environment) for their financial support to our ONE division.
    In addition, the Program Team, Membership & Nominations Team, Teaching Team and the Internationalization/Integration Team deserve recognition for their service this year.
    I want to also take this opportunity to highlight some housekeeping matters:
    • Our Business Meeting will be asynchronous this year (do check it out -it's open to everyone), and not include Awards – instead, the Awards team has created its own asynchronous session this year which I hope you will check out to support our winners. Next year, we hope that we may celebrate with two years' worth of winners at a big social event.
    • The voting on our new ONE Bylaws remains open until August 2. If you have not yet voted, please do so today.

    As this ONE year comes to an end for me, I will be handing over soon to Jeff York, our incoming Division Chair. I know that ONE will remain in very good hands and under strong leadership with Jeff. He has already started reaching out to all the ONE teams to set their strategies for the coming year (and I thank him for taking this task on a month before his official role begins).
    Finally, to paraphrase Blaise Pascal: I am sorry for the length of this letter. I am time constrained in this new world of virtual academic-ing, and I have not had time to make it shorter.
    I hope to see many of you online before, during, and maybe after this year's AOM conference!
    Warm regards