Innovative Strategies for an Open World
Organizational leaders today make strategy in an increasingly open world. Leaders face growing calls for transparency and accountability. Traditional hierarchies are including even more diverse voices and perspectives. Organizational boundaries are becoming increasingly permeable and fluid. Markets and industries are open to new competitive and disruptive forces. Sources of advantage are more visible and open business models are widespread.
Openness can deliver many benefits for organizations and society. In a knowledge-based economy characterized by competitive and dynamic markets, valuable insights and innovations are increasingly likely to come from the periphery of organizations rather than from managerial elites at the centre. The complexity of contemporary issues, and the proliferation of wicked problems, demands the inclusion of previously excluded viewpoints and enlisting stakeholders from outside traditional organizational boundaries.
Today’s Societal Grand Challenges require innovative partnerships across organizations and geographies if solutions are to be found and implemented. The SMS 42nd Annual Conference called for research contributions that will help organizations create innovative, sustainable, and resilient strategies for this more open world.
Conference Program Chairs
- Jamie Cattell (IBM Corporation)
- Anu Wadhwa (Imperial College London)
- Richard Whittington (University of Oxford)
September 17-20, 2022
“We are excited to invite you to the SMS 42nd Annual Conference – in person, in London!
The SMS Conference offers Academics, Managers, and Consultants a unique opportunity to learn about cutting-edge practice within the strategy domain, to engage around the latest research, and to network with colleagues from around the world. Our panels will showcase innovative practitioners in close dialogue with leading scholars. We shall offer a variety of formats, including developmental workshops for junior scholars, to present and discuss research and practice. The intimate back drop of a single hotel venue, together with curated social events, fosters opportunities for conversation and exchange of ideas in an informal setting.
London could not be a better place for us to meet physically for the first time since 2019. The city perfectly matches our conference theme of Innovative Strategies for an Open World. London is an innovative city, the centre of thriving ecosystems in artificial intelligence, edtech, fintech, and much more. London is also an open city; its history as a parliamentary democracy being a testament to transparent governance and openness. Finally, with more than 250 languages spoken in the city, London’s renown as an international hub makes it a capital of diversity.
London provides an inspirational locale for ideas and conversations on key issues in strategy. But it is more than this. London is also a collection of villages, with areas such as Dulwich, Hampstead, and Little Venice offering the feel of unique and nested communities within the heart of Western Europe’s largest city. It is a green city, with nearly as many trees as people. It is a walkable city, whose parks cover a greater area than all the roads and railways combined. London is also the home of iconic buildings from Big Ben to the Shard and of innumerable galleries, museums, and music venues.
London is well connected by train to Europe and by plane to nearly every corner of the world. The weather is better than you might expect – you should catch the last of the summer, with an average 150 hours of sunshine in September. London offers not just the classics of English cuisine, but all the rich culinary diversity of its multicultural population.
London and the Strategic Management Society offer you a great welcome in September 2022. We look forward to seeing you here!”
- Pinar Ozcan (University of Oxford)
- Dmitry Sharapov (Imperial College London)
Emerging digital technologies are transforming the business landscape and changing the way we live. Digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, and many others, create possibilities for ‘opening’ up organizational, ecosystems, or industry boundaries, potentially resulting in new ways of organizing and coordinating economic activity as well as new forms of collaboration. We invite submissions that investigate questions about the use of these emerging digital technologies by organizations and its consequences. For example, how can organizations exploit digital technologies to enable and support increasingly open collaborative architectures and networks, what challenges do they face in the process? How can organizations take advantage of digital technologies to create greater value for their stakeholders? How can digital technologies assist organizations in managing challenges related to value capture when value is being increasingly co-created? How can organizations harness digital technologies to develop disruptive business models, and how can they react to the introduction of such disruptive business models by others? How do characteristics of digital technologies affect the strategy and processes of organizations using them? We are open to submissions that address questions such as these using quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as those seeking to make conceptual contributions.
- Juliane Reinecke, Oxford University
- Maurizio Zollo, Imperial College London
The world faces a series of global societal challenges simultaneously, from a pandemic to a climate emergency. The complex, globally interconnected and urgent nature of these challenges requires a novel paradigm of strategy and strategy research. Grand challenges call for a profound rethinking of the purpose of business in society, and raise fundamental questions regarding the nature of competition, growth and value creation for stakeholders in the present and in the future. This track invites empirical and conceptual submissions that demonstrate the multiple ways in which strategy scholarship can accelerate solutions to these global challenges. For instance, how do businesses collaborate across diverse geographies, and how does this change competitive dynamics? How do firms’ relationships with their social and ecological environment get reconfigured in the process of addressing grand challenges? What are new organizational forms, such as flexible organizational designs, innovative partnerships, or new ecosystems and platforms to deliver sustainable solutions to grand societal challenges? How can companies transition to novel business models, such as circular economy, shared purpose or regenerative business models? What are new ways of future-oriented strategic thinking, which could overcome the short-termism and intertemporal dilemmas that complicate effective responses to grand challenges? How do grand challenges challenge performance and accountability measures? We are particularly open to submissions that are geographically diverse, inter-disciplinary and/or aim to push the frontiers in terms of novel methodologies, theories or employ knowledge co-creation strategies.
- Shahzad Ansari, University of Cambridge Madeleine Rauch, Stanford University
We invite empirical and conceptual submissions to help us sharpen our understanding of how strategy research can be opened up to new communities, setting new agendas, and exploring new contexts (e.g., tough contexts like warzones, climate extremes, less developed economies, and other less traditional strategy contexts). For example, how can the interests of diverse stakeholders in strategy (e.g., employees, locals, social movements, ESG investors, governments) be incorporated into theories and frameworks that have been traditionally orientated towards (financial) performance? How can we re-conceptualize strategy in a more inclusive and open way? How can strategy research accommodate growing institutional and cultural diversity as new regions make increasing impact on the world? How can established research open themselves up to previously marginalized groups, communities, cultures, and values? How should strategy research open up intellectually and empirically for example by incorporating innovative concepts (e.g., indigenous concepts) to help us in understanding strategy in an inclusive and different way? We encourage studies from a broad spectrum of theoretical and methodological backgrounds addressing these exemplary questions (and beyond) on how an open world raises new requirements for diversity, equity, and inclusion in strategy research.
- Michelle Rogan, Imperial College Business School Eero Vaara, University of Oxford
New technologies and global crises such as the pandemic have changed the way we work, blurring personal and professional boundaries. These shifts give rise to many questions regarding the future of work in organizations. How does remote or hybrid work affect the way that firms recruit, retain, and manage their employees? How can managers design work environments that empower and incentivize a diverse workforce across spatial and organizational boundaries? How do managers encourage and harness diverse knowledge and perspectives – both inside and outside their firms – to enhance organizational performance? What new approaches to strategy work can managers use to increase inclusion and transparency in their organizations (e.g., open strategy)? We invite submissions that shed light on these new ways of working, through detailed case studies and large-sample analyses, as well as papers that advance our theoretical understanding of open organizations.
- Aleksandra Kacperczyk, London Business School
What is competitive advantage? How can a firm build and maintain a competitive advantage in the rapidly changing world? What roles do resources and capabilities play in shaping firms and industries over time and in different markets? These and other key questions lie at the core of the Competitive Strategy Interest Group (CSIG). In addition to soliciting submissions related to these central questions, this year we are additionally seeking papers which consider and explore competitive dynamics in an increasingly open and transparent business landscape. How do the growing pressures for transparency affect firm competitive dynamics across different types of products, markets, and environments? And how does the need to act more responsibly and with greater accountability impact the emergence and the survival of firm capabilities and resources? In exploring these and other questions that relate to this year’s theme, we are especially looking forward to imaginative work that moves beyond existing theories, empirics, and practices to help inspire new understandings and actions by businesses and other social actors in an increasingly more fluid business landscape.
- Sinziana Dorobantu, New York University
An increasingly open world demands that corporate organizations rethink their scope and boundaries frequently and adopt flexible organizational designs that enhance their agility and adaptability. The Corporate Strategy Interest Group welcomes submissions of proposals focused on understanding firm scope, firm boundary decisions, and organizational design. Proposals can draw on a range of theories and methods to examine how firms choose and implement corporate changes through diversification, vertical integration, mergers & acquisitions, divestitures and spinoffs, and resource redeployment. Along with proposals that further our understanding of these topics, we also encourage submissions that incorporate this year’s conference theme and consider corporate strategy in an open world. How can firms access new resources and capabilities in an increasingly open world, while also protecting the resources and capabilities that are critical to sustaining their competitive advantage? How do growing calls for transparency, accountability, and responsibility affect how firms adjust their resource bundles, business portfolios, internal structures, and external relationships? How does the increased fluidity of organizational boundaries and the emergence of new organizational forms affect the performance and endurance of corporate organizations?
- Birgitte Grøgaard, BI Norwegian Business School
The Global Strategy Interest Group welcomes submissions on strategic challenges that are specifically relevant to organizations operating in the global context. This includes private and public corporations, but also public sector and non-for-profit organizations. Relevant topics for the Global Strategy track include, but are not limited to, cross-border corporate or business strategy, headquarter-subsidiary relationships, foreign entry and location strategies, and the impact of political and institutional environments on global strategies. This year’s conference theme invites us to address the challenges of an increasingly open world with new competitive and disruptive forces that create growing pressures for sustainability, transparency, and accountability. How do societal, cultural, and technological changes impact global strategies? What are successful and less successful strategic responses, business models, and organizational structures? Specifically, the conference theme inspires us to challenge the blurring organizational boundaries and explore partnerships across organizations and geographies. How can global organizations for example explore innovative partnerships to deliver sustainable solutions or address societal challenges? We invite you to think out-of-the-box and submit imaginative and novel approaches to these and other questions related to global strategy creation in an increasingly open world.
- Koen Heimeriks, University of Warwick
The Strategy Process Interest Group welcomes submissions that study how strategies in an increasingly open world are envisioned, implemented, changed, and governed. Unexpected shocks along with technological changes render studying strategy processes that foster innovation in today’s open world more important than ever. A major role of strategy process research is to act as an integrative bridgehead within the broader strategic management domain to understand the dynamics of strategic elements over time. Whether focusing on functional, business, corporate, or network levels of analysis, we look forward to receiving work that either questions or unifies current paradigms, theories, and frameworks, along with submissions that contribute to increasing our understanding of strategic processes methodologically and/or theoretically. We particularly welcome submissions that broadly address questions around strategy process as well as questions related to this year’s theme. For example, how can organizations develop open strategies that affect competitive advantage and innovation? How do organizations balance open strategies with sustaining long-term innovative performance? How do digital technologies affect strategy process? What processes assist executive and middle management involvement and accountability in open organizations?
- Myriam Mariani, Bocconi University
In a changing world, in which access to information, the use of AI and the value of knowledge are rapidly growing, we need new evidence about the extent to which firms adopt open innovation strategies, their merits, threats and implications for firms’ decisions. The Knowledge and Innovation Interest Group seeks submissions that examine topics on these themes. Examples of questions that we would like submissions to address include: What are the latest trends in terms of firms’ openness to external partnership and knowledge sourcing? What are new opportunities and challenges of open innovation strategies and knowledge sharing? What explains firms’ success in terms of value creation and value capture from these strategies? How did recent health and political developments (e.g., COVID-19, Brexit) change the degree of firms’ openness? What is the role of ecosystems and platforms as new organizational forms for knowledge creation and sharing in innovation projects? What firms’ decisions and managerial practices make open innovation strategies efficient? How should managers and knowledge workers make decisions towards open innovation?
- Matthias Wenzel, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
The Strategy Practice Interest Group explores the activities through which actors make strategy. Thus, the interest group is interested in the myriad of activities, methods, and tools that actors perform in the doing of strategy-making, and how such “strategy work” contributes to organizational outcomes as well as the broader institutional environment in which it is embedded. Over the years, strategy practice has increasingly become more transparent and inclusive. Among others, this manifests in the growing use of digital tools for sharing information about the firm’s strategy more openly, and the more widespread adoption of agile methods for enabling stakeholders outside the circle of corporate elites to contribute to strategy-making. Despite the ever-growing prevalence of transparency and inclusion in strategy-making, the tools and methods for enabling transparency and inclusion in the strategy process as well as their outcomes remain poorly understood. Therefore, while embracing all contributions that are aligned within the Strategy Practice Interest Group’s interests, we particularly seek conceptual and empirical submissions from academics, executives, and consultants that engage with questions related to “open” tools, methods, and practices in strategy-making; ones that enable, produce, and recreate transparency and inclusion in the strategy process.
- Elena Kulchina, North Carolina State University
In the past twenty years, the world has become increasingly open. International migration of people, goods, and technologies has intensified. Modern technologies allow quick transfer of data and services between regions. Pressure from internal and external stakeholders forces organizations to be more transparent about their strategies. Such changes inevitably affected entrepreneurs in both positive and negative ways. Open markets allow start-ups to reach a greater number of potential consumers and investors but also intensify competition. Business transparency increases trust in new ventures but risks imitation of ideas and technologies by competitors. The Entrepreneurship and Strategy Interest Group welcomes submissions that engage with this year’s conference theme, addressing questions that include (but are not limited to) the following: How do entrepreneurs balance the benefits and hurdles of an open market? Intensified cross-border migration has led to a greater number of international and immigrant entrepreneurs. How can these entrepreneurs overcome the double-liability of foreignness and newness to take advantage of their unique position of bridging two countries? How do traditional ways of growing a venture change in an open market? How do entrepreneurs build their ecosystems in an open world?
- Rocio Bonet, IE Business School-IE University
The Strategic Human Capital Interest Group welcomes submissions on the influence of human capital resources (HCR) on firm performance. These resources are individual or unit-level capacities based on individual knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes that are accessible for unit-relevant purposes. We are concerned with how firms leverage HCR to achieve competitive parity and advantage. In concert with the conference theme, we are particularly interested in research addressing such questions as: How can firms manage the coordination and management of strategic HCR in the context of more permeable and fluid organizational boundaries to achieve competitive parity and advantage? What can organizations do to ensure employee diversity and inclusion across all hierarchical levels in the organization? How is the increasing prevalence of a virtual workspace affecting the way organizations attract, motivate and retain their talent pool? How are changes in spatial and organizational boundaries affecting and being affected by employee mobility? How can firms’ human capital strategy leverage the benefits of open global boundaries? How do multi-unit firms need to think about employee resource redeployment in the context of permeable and fluid organizational boundaries? How are the disruptions generated by the need to adapt to an increasingly open world changing the employment relationship and what do such changes mean for competitive advantage?
- Jiao Luo, University of Minnesota
The Stakeholder Strategy Interest Group focuses on understanding when, why, and how firms engage with their myriad stakeholders. These interactions can be direct or indirect and can be initiated by the stakeholders, the firm, or external events. For organizational leaders today, making strategy in an increasingly open world raise critical issues for stakeholder management, as these strategy decisions will differentially impact—and be impacted by—both internal and external stakeholders. Openness thus raises questions of profound strategic and normative consequence for managers, as they will create new market opportunities and challenges for firms to navigate, new public policy problems for governments and non-profit organizations to address, and new issues of ethics, social responsibility, shared purpose, and accountability that may affect relationships between internal/external activists and organizations. With the goal of contributing to our understanding of how stakeholder strategies create value, we invite both theoretical and empirical submissions that explore how various shifts towards openness in the global business environment are affecting—and will continue to affect—the formulation and implementation of stakeholder strategies, as well as the outcomes of these strategies, at various levels of analysis, including the individual, firm, and society.
- Denisa Mindruta, HEC Paris
The Cooperative Strategies Interest Group explores questions aimed at understanding when, why, and how cooperative arrangements emerge and evolve, what problems they tackle, and what impact they have on outcomes at the group, organization, portfolio, network, and ecosystem levels. We are excited about the opportunity provided by this year’s conference to take stock of and move forward with this research agenda. As wide-ranging demands for openness increase the scope of cooperation beyond traditional actors and technological advances enable novel ways of interaction, how do these trends reflect on cooperative arrangements? What are the challenges of building effective collaboration in a more open world, with more diverse actors and conflicting interests? Accordingly, along with proposals that address the ongoing conversations in the interest group’s domain, we seek submissions that center on the role that cooperation plays in innovative strategies in an open world. We particularly welcome studies that uncover meaningful trends in the cooperative arrangements (e.g., alliances, public-private collaborations, networks, platforms, ecosystems) that respond to societal and technological shifts towards more openness; studies that identify collaborative solutions for tackling problems that transcend established organizational or industry boundaries; and studies that examine the role of cooperation in creating win-win solutions for solving global challenges.
- David H. Zhu, Arizona State University
Strategic leaders are directly responsible for formulating and implementing strategies, and corporate governance is key to ensuring that the interests of all stakeholders are aligned and protected in major strategic decisions. As organizations face an increasingly open world, how do strategic leaders outperform others in making major choices? How do corporate governance systems in an open world succeed or fail in protecting the interests of all parties involved? The Strategic Leadership and Governance Interest Group invites proposals that have potentials to generate novel insights into these fundamental issues. Consistent with the overall conference theme, we are particularly interested in proposals about effective strategic leadership and corporate governance in managing digital technologies, developing stakeholder relations, addressing grand societal challenges, and shaping diversity and inclusion in organizations. We also seek proposals that aim to push the frontiers of research and practice about strategic leadership and governance in general.
- Vibha Gaba, INSEAD
Research in the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group applies insights from behavioral and social science disciplines to the theory and practice of strategic management. We encourage disciplinary and interdisciplinary research grounded in realistic assumptions about human motivation, cognition, emotion, decision making, social interactions, networks, culture, and organizational systems. Behavioral strategy is highly pertinent to this year’s conference theme, as the theme directs attention to diverse voices and vantage points in an open world. It reinforces the need to understand better the impact of decision heuristics and biases, cognitive schema, risk-taking, the pursuit of multiple goals, and learning anomalies on firm behavior and performance. Along with proposals related to the general domain of the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group, we encourage submissions that offer theory and evidence regarding the factors that make firm strategies more or less resilient, innovative, or successful in an open world. What mechanisms enable firms to cope in an increasingly open world characterized by shifting industry and organizational boundaries, division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms, online collaborative networks and platforms, and new ways of working? Do we need to broaden our theories or develop new ones altogether? What relevant research can help us here? How can scholars help managers better understand these issues and vice versa?
- Brent Goldfarb, University of Maryland
There have been many calls for transparency in both qualitative and quantitative empirical methodologies in Strategic Management Research. The “Open World” theme fits into more general ideas about how we report our research results and how we assure reliability and reproducibility. While all papers that have important methods contributions relevant to strategy will be welcome, we particularly encourage papers or sessions that consider the pros and cons of transparency in strategy research, the impact of greater transparency in strategy research, and empirical and/or reporting innovations that facilitate greater transparency in methods and results.
- Sabine Baumann, Berlin School of Economics and Law/OFFIS
Strategy education needs to equip students not just with state-of-the-art tools, but also needs to prepare them for a business world that is increasingly open and fluid. Organizational boundaries shift, previously clear-cut supply chains turn into networks, and accountability lies with several actors in such business ecosystems. Are our curricula and teaching modes still suitable to introduce imaginative strategic approaches for long-term sustainable development? How can we instill necessary innovative thinking in future leaders? How can we adjust our teaching to address these new changes and develop not only creativity, agility, and imagination in our students, but also responsible behavior and accountability? How can we leverage open learning platforms for student collaboration and experiences of business dynamics? What roles do open learning, open education, and open courseware play in strategy education? The teaching community invites proposals that address these and other teaching challenges both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.