Welcome from the Dean of the SMS Fellows


For the second year in succession, the Fellows met virtually in 2021, following the 41st SMS Annual Conference. While we missed the face-to-face conviviality over dinner, we were able to include a record number of Fellows in the meeting, with 68 (89%) Active Fellows attending.

We initiated a new “Conversations with the Fellows” series, designed to showcase Fellows and guests discussing currently central issues at the forefront of Strategic Management research and practice. The first of the “Conversations” (July 22, 2021) featured BCG partner Martin Reeves, with Fellows Africa Arino and Harbir Singh as discussants, and was entitled, “Bridging Strategy Practice and Scholarship: Innovating Management Innovation.” The webinar was well attended with 151 Fellows and SMS Members registering to attend.

The Conversations with the Fellows series has come along nicely in 2022, beginning with a two-part set of webinars on the role of social purpose. The first, presented by SMS Fellow Ranjay Gulati on April 5, was a deep dive into how and why firms undertake social purpose, and featured SMS Fellow Laurence Capron as discussant. The second, presented by Rebecca Henderson on May 3, took a broader, system-level view of the role of purpose in capitalism itself. The discussant for this session was SMS Fellow Rajshree Agarwal. Together, the two presentations, coupled with the discussants’ perspectives, provided thoughtful, lively and compelling ideas on one of the most vital questions of our time. We plan to hold a live Conversation with the Fellows event at the upcoming 2022 SMS Annual Meeting in London.

We also inducted a number of new Fellows this past year. Hearty congratulations to Yan (Anthea) Zhang, Melissa Graebner, Sea-Jin Chang and Julian Birkinshaw on achieving this distinction! And our gratitude to the hard-working Membership Committee which received a record number of 12 complete nominations (in order of their seniority on the committee): Nandini Rajagopalan (Chair), Philip Bromiley, Russ Coff, Ruth Aguilera, Nicolai Foss, James Westphal, Laurence Capron, Amy Hillman and Chris Zott.         

It is with utmost regret that I note the recent passing of SMS Fellows and dear friends Jose de la Torre and Andy Van de Ven. Jose was elected Fellow in 2012, served as Program Chair of the Miami SMS Conference in 2011, and was a long-time SMS member. He played an active role in the field of International Business as a well-respected and dearly loved scholar, teacher, colleague and mentor. Andy Van de Ven was elected Fellow just this past year, and over his long career made path-breaking and monumental contributions to the field of Organization Theory. He was a colleague, mentor, and supporter not only to me personally but to numerous other then-junior faculty, as well as 30+ doctoral students that graduated under his stewardship at the University of Minnesota. On behalf of the Fellows, may I extend our deepest condolences to their families.

In closing, I wish you good health, success and happiness. I hope to see you in person at the 42nd SMS Annual Conference in London!


Aks Zaheer                                                                       
Dean, SMS Fellows                                                                                

Dean of Fellows
Aks Zaheer
University of Minnesota

Deputy Dean
Jeffrey Reuer
University of Colorado, Boulder