Open Call for SMS Special Conferences

The Strategic Management Society is seeking proposals from members interested in hosting a Special Conference with the Society. SMS Special Conferences provide smaller environments for discussion and debate than is possible at the SMS Annual Conferences, thus allowing more in-depth examinations of specific topics, deeper engagement with thought leaders at the conference, and strengthening of professional networks.

Special Conferences may vary in the way each is structured, organized and executed, but the primary goal is to engage participants with one another in a smaller setting in order to further develop the field of strategic management and expand the reach of SMS into new demographics. We are seeking proposals for Special Conferences to take place in Summer 2025 and beyond.


Special Conferences allow the Society the opportunity to create in-depth idea exchange around a particular theme and develop new audiences. Each Special Conference has its own aims and goals and should be planned with the intention to serve a specific purpose.

At this time, SMS is focusing on conferences that target regional development and growth or academic-executive collaboration. Our aim is to have about one special conference a year that is designed to bring together academic and executives in meaningful ways, and one that will engage members in geographies that are often underserved by our annual conferences. Successful proposals will include plans for how one of these two aims will be achieved through the proposed conference.

Partner and Financial Models

There are different models for partnering with SMS on Special Conferences. The most common is a conference co-hosted with a partner institution, such as a local business or business school. This model typically involves the majority of the conference to be hosted at the institution, or primary support and planning assistance to come from the institution. Other models include conferences organized and hosted by a group within the SMS or a collaborative conference where there is a partner that is not the same as the host.

Special Conferences are planned to be funded primarily through registration revenues. However, due to the smaller size of these events and the considerable cost involved in planning and hosting a multi-day conference, sponsorship by the partner institution is usually required in order to present a balanced budget. Prospective conference partners should anticipate providing a $20k+ contribution to cover expenses.

Please contact the SMS Office ( to request a copy of the conference agreement to review full details of what is expected from the partner/host.

Conference Schedule and Program

Special Conferences are typically 2-3 days in duration. While the theme, topic focus, and special sessions of each conference will be unique, all Special Conferences will have a competitive review of research proposals. The SMS Office will work with the conference organizers to ensure that the submission structure and flow, session types, and overall feel of the conference will be consistent with all SMS events. SMS platforms will be used to handle submissions, reviews, and registrations for all conferences. Beyond these requirements, there are plenty of opportunities for conference-specific programming. For example, each Special Conference normally has a signature reception event or off-site activity that is included with the registration fee to incorporate the local culture of the destination city into the conference.

Proposal Submission

The SMS is accepting submissions of proposals for Special Conferences to take place in 2025 and beyond to be submitted by August 11, 2024. July-August and December dates for 2025, and January-June 2026 are of particular interest.

Each proposal should be sent through an online submission formĀ and should include:

  • Summary logistical information for the conference
  • Contacts and/or link(s) as appropriate for organizers and partner institutions, etc.
  • Letter of support from host/partner institution
  • Description of theme for the conference
  • Detailed plans for how the conference will promote theory-practice collaboration or regional development and engage new audiences for SMS

Please visit the online submission form for more specific information.

Typically, SMS hosts Special Conferences in the spring, summer and sometimes winter, excluding the fall to avoid overlap with the Annual Conference. As these events require coordination and planning, conversations regarding the conference theme, location, partners, and call for proposals typically begin 14-18 months in advance. The target is to launch a conference on the website 12-14 months before the planned date of the event.

If you have any questions about this process or Special Conferences in general, please contact Anna Allen, SMS Director of Membership and Events ( Special Conference proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Committee of the SMS Board of Directors after the submission period has closed.