The initial groundswell of interest in natural environment-related issues at the Academy of Management became evident in the late 1980s. At the 1989 meetings in Washington, D.C., for example, an All-Academy session featured a forum where academics, prominent business representatives, and government spokespeople were able to get together and share their perspectives. The consensus was that academic attention seemed to be lagging significantly behind what was a strong surge of interest environmental topics in business at that time.
Over the next few years many environment-related Academy events were initiated. For instance, the first Management and Natural Environment Academy Caucus took place at the 1991 meetings in Miami, where an OMT/SIM joint symposium and several individual papers were presented. These came from the BPS, OMT, and SIM divisions, including the International Association for Business and Society as a separate SIM-related organization. Then, in 1992, a dedicated email listserv was established, ONE-L, as a forum for on-line discussions about organizing an ONE Academy interest group. This listserv remains in place today, an open forum where people post announcements and discuss environment-related topics.
The growth trajectory of environmental presentations, symposia, caucuses, and social events at the Academy continued to steepen in the early 1990s, while at the same time the wheels for establishing an interest group were officially set in motion. The principal rationale for an interest group was that organization and natural environment topics would receive more research, teaching, and service attention by Academy members if an interest group were dedicated to the topic. While there was strong support for this position, a conflict with SIM was also in evidence, as many felt that the SIM domain and programs adequately addressed the topic. At an initial meeting with representatives from the Board of Governors, the groundswell was acknowledged but a request was made to attempt to reconcile the conflicts within SIM. The BOG wanted to avoid adding what they viewed as yet another division to the already proliferating number of groups.
1994 was a year of buzzing excitement about the growth of environmentalism in the Academy, as well as a great deal of negotiating and political activity around the interest group question. Several rounds of discussions and proposals took place between SIM and "ONE" folks (the acronym was coined in 1992), but the upshot was that no reconciliation seemed possible. The culmination was a meeting at the Pittsburgh airport between representatives of SIM, ONE, and the BOG, where a formal proposal was floated for "greening SIM" by restructuring it to include the natural environment as one of three designated key themes. The SIM board later rejected this proposal, and this information went back to the BOG. It was at this point that the BOG accepted the proposal for founding ONE.
The new interest group was welcomed by Academy members with many divisional affiliations, including SIM, BPS, OMT, OB, and PNP. 1995 saw the first formal ONE Academy program, and since then the membership and program have nearly doubled in size. The many innovations, contributions, and ongoing activities of ONE are chronicled elsewhere, but they collectively provide clear evidence of ONE's intrinsic value and importance in the Academy.
In 2007, ONE submitted an application to become a division. On May 8, 2007, the Academy Board of Governors approved ONE's application for division status. Chair Kate Kearins made the announcement at the August meetings of the new division in Philadelphia to the great pleasure and satisfaction of all. Many dedicated ONE members helped with this effort, which would not have been possible without their hard work. Chair Kearins noted that not only does this recognition signal the growth and development of ONE within the Academy, but it also is an acknowledgment of the growing importance of environmentalism throughout the fields of business and management.
For your information, we have a list of the people who have served as an ONE officer, team member or appointee, and a record of ONE Academy Conference programs over the years.