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AOM 2010 Closing Notes

2010 August 16

AOM 2010 Conference Coverage
Pre-Conference 1 | Pre-Conference 2 | Planned Schedule
Monday Live-Blog | Post-Conference

I arrived home from Montreal yesterday, so I thought it was time to give some closing notes on this year’s Academy of Management conference.

If you’ve been following my AOM coverage, you know that I planned to live-blog on the academic sessions I attended on Monday and Tuesday.  As it turned out, the sessions I was actively participating in, my service schedule, finicky wi-fi, and the physical distance between many sessions (0.87 miles!) made that a little tricky – I only managed to actively report on one session!  The distance was an especially troubling problem – if I needed to transfer between the Sheraton and Palais des Congres with only a 10-minute gap between sessions, I knew I would arrive 10 to 30 minutes late to that session, so I decided to just drop them instead.

The three sessions that I was actually a part of went quite well and were well-attended.  The first was a PDW (professional development workshop), where Gordon Schmidt and I explained and demonstrated the use of social media in management – as a tool to stay in contact and interact with colleagues, to reach out to students, and to interact with current and future employees.  We demonstrated about a dozen technologies over two hours, from blogs to wikis to virtual worlds.

The second was a panel discussion.  In addition to Gordon and me were several interesting contributors: (1) Gerald Kain, a professor of information systems at Boston College who studies the use of social media primarily in the healthcare industry, (2) James Lynch, a vice president of communications at American Express who manages all inter-employee communication, and (3) Julia Teahen, the president of Baker College Online, the 15,000-student virtual campus of Baker College.  The discussion brought up many interesting ideas about the use of social media from both educational and organizational perspectives, and the discussion led us right up to final buzzer.

The third was a caucus where a smaller group of us discussed the use and future of social media a little more informally.

As the web and technology czar of the OB division of AOM, I was also responsible for managing the technology components of the OB Division Awards Night and Terry Mitchell‘s acceptance talk for the OB Division’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

So how many sessions did I actually get to sit in on as an observer?  Three, one of which I blogged on.  Two of these sessions discussed the use of virtual worlds technologies, but unfortunately, they were highly theoretical and focused on overall virtual systems, which isn’t very interesting to me.  I want to know how individuals respond to these technologies.  This is sometimes called “micro-organizational” research, which is also typically the focus of industrial/organizational psychology.  There were a few promising bits and pieces in this vein, most notably the work of Tara Behrend, but overall, the Academy was a little light on social media and virtual worlds research this year.  I suppose it’s good that my own social media research is getting closer to publication!

Next year’s Academy is in San Antonio, TX.  I’m not sure who decided Texas in August was a good idea, and rumor is that the buildings will be as spread out as they were in Montreal.  But hopefully next year, I’ll at least get to a few more sessions!
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