Strategic Review

2015 Five Year Review

mike_lounsbury140x.jpgMichael Lounsbury
Past Division Chair
University of Alberta 

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Candace Jones
Division Chair
Boston College

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Nelson Phillips
Division Chair Elect 
Imperial College London

Five Year Review

Candace Jones, Division Chair, Mike Lounsbury, Past Division Chair, and Nelson Phillips Division Chair Elect

In 2015 we undertook a thorough review of the OMT Division (download full report here). We examined our divisional activities, sought our members input and explored future options. We are grateful for our members’ thoughtful feedback, constructive suggestions and expressed satisfaction with the division. The survey revealed that OMT members strongly identify with the division and see OMT as providing superior scholarship, a sense of community, welcoming attitude and perceived fairness and openness of elections.  In addition, the feedback from the Division and Interest Group Committee for 2015 was positive (see report here). Our members’ perceptions are the fruit of OMT’s long history of excellent leaders, who have guided the division and provided a solid foundation for the division’s future.  We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.

Even with such high levels of satisfaction, it is useful to seek ways to improve the division and find opportunities to energize and develop our members. Four themes stood out in the membership survey. First, the OMT Division remains vibrant in the AOM Annual Meetings with continued growth of paper submissions. The high submission rate of papers is testimony to the high reputation of the OMT review process and its session composition, which lead many members of other AOM divisions to view OMT as a good destination for their papers. We have been successful in growing our pool of reviewers to keep up with the submission growth. We are especially proud of our international reviewer base which has allowed us to adjudicate papers more fairly for our members as a whole, and ensure that our program reflects the demography of our membership.

Second, the challenge of being one of the larger divisions is that it is both harder to sustain high rates of growth compared to smaller, newer divisions and to ensure that members feel connected to OMT.  OMT strives connect and communicate with its members, despite its large size. To proactively address these challenges, OMT is creating new formats and new volunteer activities. For new formats, PDW Chair Marc-David Seidel developed innovative new venues for new and existing members to meet in an informal atmosphere at AoM, such as bike OMT and OMT cafes. To expand volunteer activities and communicate and connect with OMT, we created two roles:  chair of communication and chair of recruitment. The chair of communication engages members and expands volunteer activities by enlisting an army of volunteers who use social media to highlight new and interesting areas and events to OMT members via twitter, emails, facebook and Linkedin, along with the listserv. Join the army and sign up as a volunteer for the OMT communications committee! The chair of recruitment articulates the value of OMT and systematically reaches out to new members and existing members about their Divisional membership.

Third, OMT has a legacy of providing great developmental opportunities and increasing these opportunities is important for members who desire even more mentoring and collaboration.  OMT’s primary expenses at the annual meeting are related to mentoring and social opportunities such as the Doctoral and Junior faculty consortia, Dissertation proposal workshop and social events (Meet OMT and Social hour). The expenses associated with these mentoring and social events generate uncertainty in our budgeting process because hotel expenses (especially catering) are generally increasing and fluctuate by the city and hotel chain. OMT has responded by seeking external sponsors to ensure continuity in our developmental opportunities. In addition, OMT has established a series of developmental paper workshops outside of the annual meeting, especially in Europe as well as Asia (see http://omtweb.org/early-career-workshops/international-workshops), to increase mentoring of its more junior members.

Fourth, OMT is an international division, more so than many other divisions within the Academy of Management.  To both recognize and help OMT respond to our international constituency, OMT added a Global Representative at Large this year to represent member concerns in emerging markets. In addition, to the international developmental paper workshops, OMT also sponsors Meet OMT@EGOS that has been very well attended at the EGOS (European Group on Organization Studies) annual meeting.  The challenge of our international growth is maintaining our North American growth as well. With the creation of Recruiting and Communication chairs, we hope to sustain our growth and engagement for all areas of our membership.

OMT is a vibrant, collegial and intellectual community. It offers a place to explore ideas, engage in conversation, act as mentors to develop our junior colleagues and learn from our excellent senior scholars. OMT is the place to be!

The Division and Interest Group Committee 2010 OMT Review Feedback Memo is available for download.

2010 Five Year Review

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Henrich Greve
Division Chair
INSEAD
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Royston Greenwood
Division Chair Elect 
University of Alberta

In 2010 we completed a thorough review of the OMT Division (download full report here). We have thought about what the Division does, surveyed our members, and considered options for the future. We appreciate the feedback which you provided, and are delighted with the high rates of satisfaction indicated in the survey, and with the constructive advice and suggestions that were put forward.

OMT has a long history and has spent much time developing its offerings and the po pularity of our core activities suggests that we would have a revolt on our hands if we made major changes – imagine, for example, a shorter doctoral consortium, a business meeting with no reception, or a Distinguished Scholar who did not get to give a speech! Or, let’s not imagine any of those things, because they are not going to happen. The core activities of the OMT Division received overwhelming support from our member survey and will stay as they are.

Nevertheless, it is still useful to reflect on who we are and to look for improvements in what we do. Four things stood out from the membership survey. First, OMT is old and young. It is old because it was one of the first AoM Divisions to be created (the exact founding date seems to be more of an archaeological issue than an archival issue), which means we obviously cannot grow at the same rates as a division or interest group founded just a few years ago. It is young because people tend to join OMT as doctoral students or junior faculty members, and to stay because we are ‘the theory division’. Being old and young at the same time poses interesting opportunities and challenges, most notably that we take on a heavy burden of early-career training and have members resolutely in favor of this role as a central responsibility for OMT. Because of their youth, our members are also very heavy paper-submitters (which is great!) and (thank goodness) willing reviewers. One challenge that arises is that, although many famous management scholars are past OMTers, OMT is not a top-heavy division, so we often find ourselves having to draw repeatedly upon the same pool of OMT senior scholars for our consortia and other mentoring activities. Despite this challenge, our doctoral and junior faculty mentoring is very well received by our members.

A second notable feature of OMT is its international attraction. OMT’s membership is very diverse in both their national origin and their university affiliations. This has been the case for a long time, but it has increased in recent years and participation in our consortia and our elected bodies reflect this feature of our membership. Even so, the membership survey still raised the question of whether we are providing enough content for our international membership, and especially for international junior scholars. We are addressing this issue through our pre-conference program, and we will also start formalizing the informal ties that already exist between OMT and some international associations for business scholars.

The third feature is that the OMT Division is large. This is a strength because it provides resources to support our activities and it means that our community is vibrant. For these reasons size and growth are celebrated by division chairs – notice how they are found in the opening passages of most chair statements! But large divisions are often perceived as more ‘distant’ to their members, and communication can become cumbersome. OMT certainly has had difficulty handling the need for mass communication and for communicating with its members between the Academy of Management Meetings. Our intention, therefore, is to build a far better website in order to facilitate such communication. But, a website is just a place to communicate; it is not communication in itself. We will rely on our officers and members – you! – to turn the website into an active online community.

Finally, OMT faces a paradox. On the one hand, its growing membership and the increasing submission of papers to the Academy Conference reflect a vibrant community of scholars. But this optimistic scenario is dampened by the far more modest number of jobs in OT, and the seeming decline in the teaching contribution of OMT to business programs, especially the MBA. OMT has not been very aggressive in marketing its role as the driver of the intellectual agenda in business research, and its role as a foundation for business school teaching. Some progress has been made through the Teach OMT initiative. Our intention is to do more. OMT’s endowment fund will be used to co-sponsor mini-conferences on topics relevant to its domain. Doing so will help the Division advance its research, support doctoral students, and strengthen its profile. We will also strive to strengthen teaching of OMT topics in business schools by increasing the content in the TeachOMT wiki and by raising awareness of this resource among its members.

Henrich and Royston

The Division and Interest Group Committee 2010 OMT Review Feedback Memo is available for download.