OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
David Hickson died on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016. That statement baldly puts a full stop at the end of a well-lived life, a life that made a difference to family and friends and to the worldwide academic community of scholars of organizations. David made a significant difference to our field in three important, substantive, ways: through his own research; through his involvement in the founding and early years of the European Group for Organization Studies; and through his role in Organization Studies. These contributions were recognized by him being the first ever Honorary Member of EGOS in 1998 and by receiving the Joanne Martin Trailblazer Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management in 2013. And yet, David arrived in academe by an unusual route. After a time as Assistant Secretary of the Bristol Stock Exchange, he had gone to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology to pursue his ambition of becoming a personnel manager. However, Reg Revans spotted his potential as a researcher and he went on to do a Master's degree, studying restriction of output in a machine shop. It was from there that he was recruited by the new head of the Department of Industrial Administration at Birmingham College of Advanced Technology (later the University of Aston), Tom Lupton, and his career as an academic researcher took off.
In terms of the research that he carried out over a period of four decades, his contributions are through the Aston group, the strategic contingencies theory of power and strategic organizational decision-making. David was a leading member of the Aston group, central to the development of those concepts and findings on organization structure and context that have remained important to our understanding of organizations to this day. In particular, the work he led on operations technology and organization structure helped formulate the terms of that debate. The role of technology in organizational design still features as an important set of ideas about organizations. During his time with the Aston program, two qualities began to be apparent in David. One was his keen sense of the relationship between theory and data. Yes, he wished to spend time sorting out concepts, but equally, it was important to him to collect and analyze data. Another, was his tremendous attention to detail; no one could get away with shoddy work in David's presence. Nothing was to be missed, no stone to be left unturned. These qualities remained with him all of his life and have been important to the mark he has made on our field.
But during his time at Aston he was able to appreciate the role of theory more and more and when he was invited to spend time at the University of Alberta from 1968-70, the project he led there bore all the hallmarks of his approach to research. What became known as the strategic contingencies theory of power showed his commitment to theory, his concern with data, and the rigor and thoroughness of his approach to research. The original paper of that research has been highly influential and the ideas were an important grounding for resource dependence theory. It also inspired a continuing theoretical and empirical discussion of power. These ideas still have to be dealt with in any discussion of power in organizations. Indeed, the latest citation of this work is in the April 2016 issue of the Academy of Management Review. 40 years after the work was done, it continues to help shape debate on the nature of power in organizations. Thus, David was important in establishing the conversation about power in organizations.
From this work came his invitation to apply for a professorship at the University of Bradford, where, from 1970 on, he was to spend the rest of his academic life. It was also from the work that he had initiated at Alberta that his lifelong interest in strategic decision making became crystallized. At Bradford he led research teams, worked with Phd students and developed concepts and theories on how decisions are made by senior managers. One of the outcomes of this research was the book Top Decisions that remains a path-breaking, benchmark study. During this time, David dealt with issues of the production of strategic decisions, the shape of the decision making process, the implementation of those decisions, and the nature of organizational processes within which decision making is embedded. David Hickson's name is synonymous with the study of strategic, macro, organizational decision making.
So, from an academic research perspective, David's contribution was much more than most of us can hope to achieve. He was centrally involved in three major studies, which have become part of the accepted canon of literature on organizations, namely, the Aston studies, the strategic contengencies theory of power, and strategic decision making. Surely this was more than enough for any one person. But no, David made a massive contribution to our professional community through the European Group for Organizational Studies, and the journal, Organization Studies.
David was one of a small group of people who made EGOS a reality. Soon after arriving back in Britain after his two-year sojourn in Canada, David began to explore the possibility of a European grouping of organizational researchers. While in North America he had seen the influence of bodies such as the American Sociological Association and the Academy of Management, and, as a committed European (unlike so many British of the 1970s and now this decade), he also saw the possibilities on a European scale. So, a small group of people, including David, launched the European Group for Organization Studies, with its first Colloquium in Breaux-sans-Nappe in 1975. EGOS has since played a major role in developing organization theory initially in Europe, and latterly as an international forum that increasingly draws together European, North American and Asian scholars. As the links between North America, Europe and Asia have increased in strength, we can easily take for granted the vibrancy of European organization theory. But without the trailblazing work of David Hickson, through EGOS (and Organization Studies), those links that we now accept as being part of the globalization of organization theory would not be so strong. David’s important contribution enabled new ideas to circulate and new conversations to take place.
David's experience at Aston and in Alberta had demonstrated the influence and importance of Administrative Science Quarterly, but he was interested in the possibility of a journal with a non-North American focus come into prominence, although he had grave doubts about whether it was really a possibility. The birth of Organization Studies and his doubts about the whole thing was chronicled by David in an 'Inside Story' in O.S. with its beginnings in a bedroom in Speyer in 1977 (Inside Story: the Bedroom Scene, Organization Studies 1: 87-90). Suffice it to say that David was an important midwife in the birth of the journal in 1980 and then served for 11 years as its Editor-in-Chief. It was in this role that David ensured that not only did O.S. get off the ground, but that it became the leading European-based journal for organizational analysis. As an editor, he was tireless in searching out papers and authors, encouraging submissions, giving critical but positive feedback, and encouraging all things associated with the journal. Very few of us have any idea of what it takes, as an Editor, to launch a journal and build it into a leading journal, and when one thinks of this being done in a multi-cultural environment, across nation states and languages, then the challenge is enormous. We need to remember that David did this while occupying a chair at Bradford and leading a groundbreaking series of research studies on strategic decision making. As editor for the first 11 years, he was central in developing that distinctive voice of OS and ensuring that a variety of alternative ways of thinking about organizations were established.
At this time of remembering David Hickson’s life I would like to add a more personal note. He was not only my colleague but my friend and I will miss him. We worked together very intensively for 12 years and then continued to discuss ideas, research, EGOS, OS over the succeeding 35 years. All the time David was very willing to give of himself. He was always committed to working with others. Right from the days of Aston, David worked in teams for research and professional purposes. In doing that, he has contributed immeasurably to the life of colleagues and they have contributed in the same way to his life. He certainly contributed to my life.
I would also like to remember David’s family, which was very important to him, as they go through a time of grieving but also, I know, a time of really good reminiscences. I think of his wife, Marjorie, and the difficulties that she has surmounted with incredible strength and optimism. She has been an extremely important part of David's life and his success as an academic. His children, Adrian and Luci, and their spouses together with his 5 grandchildren were important in providing a space away from academia, in which other interests and activities could be indulged. I know that his grandchildren will miss ‘Bompa’. I wish all of his family well as they move into this different phase of their lives.
Thank you for your life and your contribution, David.
Chair’s Message – Nelson Phillips, Imperial College, introduces this issue of the OMT Division newsletter, and identifies some highlights of the upcoming Anaheim meeting. Read More…
Program Chair Marc-David Seidel shares an overview of OMT's program
PDW Chair Davide Ravasi previews the pre-conference program
Research Committee Chair Jo-Ellen Pozner announces our paper and symposia award winners for this year
Be sure to join our New and Returning Member Networking and Research Forum and attend our many OMT events, including our Monday morning Distinguished Scholar Breakfast to congratulate John Meyer and hear his distinguished talk
Follow these links for details of the OMT Doctoral Consortium, Junior Faculty Consortium, or Dissertation Proposal Workshop
For those of you attending EGOS in Naples, please join us Thursday July 7th at 5:30-7:00 at Meet OMT @ EGOS, which is jointly sponsored with Cass School of Business! Please join us for vibrant conversation, drinks and appetizers in a beautiful setting. OMT and Cass School of Business look forward to mingling and seeing you in Naples!
Please congratulate our newly elected OMT executives as well as our 2016 ABCD Award Recipients
Remember the life of David J. Hickson (1931 - 2016)
Considering attending several events hosted by the Community of Academy Senior Scholars
Be a part of the OMT Social Media Team or Communications Team
Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Are you interested in being a part of the OMT Social Media Team at EGOS or AOM this year? Take pictures, tweet, and be a part of the OMT conversation at these conferences! Please contact Eunice Rhee (
Also, if you’re interested in being a volunteer on the OMT Communications Team, which includes blogging on our website, interviewing top scholars, and helping out at conferences, please contact Derek Harmon (
At this year’s Annual Meeting in Anaheim the new initiative of the Academy of Management to serve its senior members, the Community of Academy Senior Scholars (CASS), will co-sponsor several events that members of this division are cordially invited to attend. CASS was created to provide programs and activities that are relevant and helpful for senior members of the Academy who are contemplating or in retirement from their primary career.
This year CASS is sponsoring or hosting two program activities. First, on Monday morning of this year’s Annual Meeting we will host a special CASS session that has two parts. The first part will be a strategic planning session, led by Myron Fottler, to discuss and organize how CASS can best serve all senior members of the Academy. The second part will consist of a discussion panel of past presidents entitled “To Retire or Not To Retire: That is the Question”. Moderated by Regina Greenwood and Julia Baker, these presenters will share the decision process they followed as they considered retirement. Panelists include Bill Starbuck, Mike Hitt, and Anne Huff with others scheduled to appear via SKYPE. Their experiences will frame an audience driven conversation about retiring, retirement, and finding new or encore careers. This two part session will start at 7:30 and a light breakfast will be provided. Please check the program for location.
The second activity will be a program co-sponsored with several divisions called “Then and Now”. This year’s offering, in a series that has included Gary Latham, Ed Locke, Fred Luthans, and Victor Vroom, we present the work of Sim Sitkin on Organizational Trust. The purpose of this session, chaired by Craig Crossley, is to spotlight a senior scholar’s contribution to the management body of knowledge by having that person discuss and describe how he or she got involved in this area and then developed it. To complement this distinguished scholar’s presentation, two recent scholars on this topic, Nicole Gillespie and Bart de Jong, will discuss how this original work has evolved. Please check your program for time and place.
CASS invites any member who might find the sessions sponsored by it to come and join us. We believe that there is a need in the Academy for an organized group of its senior scholars who wish to both socialize with and learn from each other the challenges and opportunities that senior scholars face.
Robert C. Ford
Community of Academy Senior Scholars
Welcome to the Spring 2016 edition of the OMT Newsletter.
In this newsletter we highlight and summarize all the news and announcements that have been posted to our blog since our last newsletter. It has been a busy six months since our Fall Newsletter so there is a lot to explore in this edition of the OMT Newsletter. I hope you find it helpful and interesting.
First of all, it's hard to believe but it is almost time for the meetings in Anaheim. It is going to be a fantastic conference and there is a huge variety of activities and sessions for the OMT community. OMT really is the place to be!
More specifically, program Chair Marc-David Seidel has created a fantastic program and and you can find an overview of OMT's program for this year here. PDW Chair Davide Ravasi has done an equally stellar job of the pre-conference program. Have a look at their overviews and start thinking about your favorites! Research Committee Chair Jo-Ellen Pozner has also provided a report on our paper and symposia award winners for this year. Also, be sure to join our New and Returning Member Networking and Research Forum and attend our many OMT events, including our Monday morning Distinguished Scholar Breakfast to congratulate John Meyer and hear his distinguished talk.
As usual, we have a number of division activities that are organized every year for our membership. Follow these links for details of the OMT Doctoral Consortium, Junior Faculty Consortium, or Dissertation Proposal Workshop.
Second, for those of you attending EGOS in Naples, please join us Thursday July 7th at 5:30-7:00 at Meet OMT @ EGOS. This event is jointly sponsored with Cass School of Business so a big thank you to them! Please join us for vibrant conversation, drinks and appetizers in a beautiful setting. OMT and Cass School of Business look forward to mingling and seeing you in Naples. And make sure to look for the executive members in attendance as we would love to hear your thoughts on OMT.
Finally, as you will no doubt have heard, our elections very well managed by Ann Langley and we have a great set of new members of the executive committee. Be sure to congratulate our newly elected OMT executives.
Alright, that’s it for now. I look forward to seeing everyone in Anaheim and Naples this summer!
Nelson Phillips OMT Division Chair
A sincere thank you to the ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) Award Winning Reviewers
Alexander Toni Mohr, U. of Kent
Amit Gal, The Open U. of Israel
Anna Elise Roberts, Schulich School of Business
Anna M Stephens, U. of Queensland
Chanchal Balachandran, Linköping U.
Chang Lu, U. of Alberta
Chenguang Hu, Hong Kong U. of Science and Technology
Christian E. Hampel, U. of Cambridge
Christof Brandtner, Stanford U.
Connor Strobel, U. of California, Irvine
Conor Callahan, Rice U.
Cristina Oana Vlas, The U. of Texas at Dallas
Daniel Bernard Sands, NYU Stern
Daniel Beunza, London School of Economics
Daniel Han Ming Chng, China Europe International Business School
Devi Vijay, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Dongyoub Shin, Yonsei U.
Erica Heather Coslor, The U. of Melbourne
Gregory E. Robbins, Southern Connecticut State U.
Ivana Katic, Yale School of Management
JEAN-CHARLES PILLET, Grenoble Ecole de Management
Jennifer G. Irwin, Louisiana State U.
Jesper Edman, Hitotsubashi U.
Jocelyn M. Leitzinger, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Jochem T. Hummel, U. of Amsterdam
Jorge Walter, George Washington U.
Kati Helena Järvi, Hanken School of Economics
Kirsten Thommes, RWTH Aachen U.
Laura Claus, U. of Cambridge
Madeline King, New York U.
Madelynn Raissa Dawn Stackhouse, U. of Calgary
Marek Szarucki, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie
Melissa Pirkey, Emory U.
Michael Mauskapf, Northwestern U.
Ming D. Leung, U. of California, Berkeley
Peter Norlander, Loyola U. Chicago
Remco Stefan Mannak, Tilburg U.
Rhonda K. Reger, U. of Tennessee
Rich DeJordy, Northeastern U.
Ryann Manning, Harvard U.
Sahangsoon Kim, U. of Seoul
Sam MacAulay, U. of Queensland
Sumelika Bhattacharyya, IESE
Tao Wang, Grenoble Ecole de Management
Yonghoon G Lee, Hong Kong U. of Science and Technology
We are pleased to announce that John Meyer has been named the OMT Distinguished Scholar for 2016.
John Meyer is Professor of Sociology (and, by courtesy, Education), emeritus, at Stanford. Please join us on Monday morning at the Academy meeting in Anaheim to congratulate John and hear his distinguished talk!
OMT Distinguished Scholar Breakfast
Monday, Aug 8 2016 8:00AM - 9:30AM
Anaheim Marriott in Northwest Marquis Ballroom
Since 1980, the Organization and Management Theory Division has been presenting the Distinguished Scholar Award to scholars whose contributions have been central to the intellectual development of the field of organization studies.
Please congratulate the following individuals in the upcoming OMT positions:
Program Chair-Elect: Peer Fiss, University of Southern California
Representative-at-large 1: Jo-Ellen Pozner, University of California Berkeley
Representative-at-large 2: Tal Simons, Tilburg University
Global rep: Vibha Gaba, INSEAD Singapore
Runners up were: Tammar Zilber, Marya Besharov, Henri Schildt, Sun Hyun Park
Last year OMT had numerous self-hosted off-site events such as the OMT Cafes and OMT Bike Rides in Vancouver. We decided to continue that effort this year as they turned out to be popular with OMT members. While Anaheim isn't ideal for bike rides we will be having a series of OMT Cafes again, but thought we should add other types of events that draw upon the local setting. We are grouping all of these events into something called the OMT Events - an off-program calendar of events self-organized by OMT members off-site in non-official venues.
This series of off-program self-hosted events are designed to encourage people to get together in informal settings around common interests. They can be an ideal way for a newer member to meet other members, but also a fun way for established members to meet others who share a common interest. While the events are not on the "official" Academy program, we will publicize these events through our social media and other channels at OMT. This provides us a lot of flexibility in terms of when they are, how they are organized, and how casual the sign-up can be for them. They can be purely social around a common activity, or a themed discussion around a specific topic of interest.
Some categories of events we hope to do are:
- OMT Eats: Casual ethnic themed meals drawing upon the wide variety of ethnic enclaves near the convention centre.
- OMT Outdoors: Activities such as morning runs or yoga.
- OMT Plays: Social outings such as watching the fireworks or comedy shows.
- OMT Cafes: Gatherings at local cafes themed around specific topics.
But we are open to any types of events that bring people together around common interests.
The success of this initiative relies upon OMT members organizing these types of activities. All you need to do to organize one of these events is to pick a date and time that works well for you (please avoid conflicting with major OMT wide events such as our breakfast, business meeting, and socials), as well as a meeting spot and description for us to publicize.
Please contact us to discuss your ideas. We look forward to hearing from you!
Come join us, and continue to make “OMT the Place to Be!”
Marc-David L. Seidel
2016 OMT Program Chair
2016 OMT PDW Chair
WHAT: OMT New and Returning Member Networking and Research Forum
WHEN: Friday, August 5, 2016, from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM (Grand Ballroom, Salon F, Anaheim Marriott)
DESCRIPTION: If you are new to the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division, are interested in joining OMT, or are an established member who has been away for a while, then this forum is for you! This forum was created especially to help members to feel “at home” in the OMT division. We designed the forum so that you can meet leading scholars in the OMT division, meet other new members of the division, and discuss research with other scholars who share similar interests. The forum will include a welcome and overview of the OMT Division and research discussions moderated by renowned scholars who actively conduct research in a particular area of interest. As a participant in the forum, you can self-select into several research themes of your choice. Research themes will be organized by theory, context and methodology. All attendees are encouraged to also attend the OMT Cafe sessions scheduled throughout Friday and Saturday in nearby cafes.
Organizers: Jo-Ellen Pozner; U. of California, Berkeley; Emily S. Block; U. of Alberta;
Joseph P. Broschak
Chris Quinn Trank
Marya L. Besharov
Silviya Svejenova Velkova
Please contact Emily Block (
The OMT Division has a long-standing collaboration with the European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS). Their chairperson participates to our executive committee meetings, and our PDW chair has the pleasure of participating to the preparatory meeting of their Annual Colloquium (a weekend in Naples in the end of January? Life could be worse…).
But the most important job of the PDW chair, as representative of OMT at EGOS is to organize the Meet the OMT Reception at their annual conference!
This year, the annual EGOS colloquium will take place on July 7-9, in the beautiful city of Naples (http://www.egosnet.org/). Think sun, think breath-taking views, think unrivalled food, and … oh yes, inspiring academic conversations too…
If you are participating to the conference, come join us on July 7th, at 5:30 PM at Campus Monte S. Angelo, in the main conference venue for the Meet the OMT Reception.
And if you are not planning to go to EGOS, well, maybe you can reconsider… (trust me, I have personally previewed the menu and the wine list).
The reception is co-sponsored by OMT and the Cass Business School, London.
Looking forward to welcoming you in Naples!
Davide Ravasi PDW Chair
Call for Nominations: 14th Annual OMT Dissertation Proposal Workshop
Time and Place:
12:00 – 2:30 pm, Saturday, August 6th, 2016
Roy’s Restaurant, 321 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802, 714-776-7697
Royston Greenwood, U. of Alberta Eva Boxenbaum, Mines ParisTech Ann Langley, HEC Montréal Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh Joel A.C. Baum, U. of Toronto Henrich R. Greve, INSEAD Paul Tracey, U. of Cambridge
What It Is:
The Dissertation Proposal Workshop is a chance for students at the pre-proposal stage to draw on the wisdom and expertise of a group of established OMT scholars to develop a defensible dissertation proposal. Classes and preliminary exams usually have clear structures and guidelines, but we often get little sense of how to turn our vague good ideas into dissertation proposals that will intrigue potential committee members, pass a defense, and grow into a high-quality dissertation. This workshop aims to address this gap by improving the focus and framing of research questions, identifying and addressing methodological issues, and/or constructively critiquing conceptual foundations. As well as these important content issues, discussions may also address process issues like managing your dissertation committee, and completing the dissertation. The workshop consists of small roundtable discussions between faculty panelists and doctoral students working on dissertation proposals in the panelist’s area of expertise.
Who Should Attend:
The Dissertation Proposal Workshop is aimed at students who have completed preliminaries and have selected a dissertation topic but have not yet defended their dissertation proposal. If you have a 50-page proposal with data, well-defined hypotheses, and a committee, you are probably too advanced. On the other hand, if you have not narrowed your ideas beyond a broad theoretical or phenomenological space, you are probably too early.
How to Apply:
Doctoral students interested in participating in the workshop should have a faculty member send a short nominating email to Nelson Phillips (
Deadline for Nominations:
June 15, 2016. Attendance is limited to 24 students so early application is advised.
Nelson Phillips, Imperial College London
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