On behalf of the thousands of AOM members and staff who have worked very diligently and effectively to organize the 2012 program, we welcome you to Boston for the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management! With more than 18,000 members from over 110 nations, the Academy’s vision is to inspire and enable a better world through our scholarship and teaching about management and organizations. Supporting this vision is our mission, which is to build a vibrant and supportive community of scholars by markedly expanding opportunities to connect and explore ideas.
Our Annual Meeting provides a forum for us to connect while sharing our research experiences, exchanging teaching resources, and discussing the implications of our work for practice. The meeting is also a rich forum for creating and renewing friendships and for developing our professional skills and contacts. Resulting from these interactions and exchanges are opportunities for our current and future work to inspire and enable a better world.
2012 Theme: “The Informal Economy”
An expanding set of economic activity is taking place outside countries’ legal boundaries. Indeed, the proliferation of organizations being formed and operating in the informal economy is an important aspect of today’s world. For some, working in the informal economy is a choice. For example, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development suggests that in some countries, individuals choose to supplement their income from a job in the formal economy with the income generated by a second job in the informal economy. But for others, perhaps those living in conditions of desperate poverty, to work in the informal economy isn’t a choice—it’s a necessity.
The informal economy refers to commercial activities that occur at least partially outside a governing body’s observation, taxation, and regulation. Sociologists Manuel Castell and Alejandro Portes suggest that the “informal economy is…characterized by one central feature: it is unregulated by the institutions of society in a legal and social environment in which similar activities are regulated.” In contrast to the informal economy, the formal economy is comprised of commercial activities that a governing body taxes and monitors for society’s benefit and whose outputs are included in a country’s gross domestic product.
For many decades, management scholars have examined research questions that are almost exclusively centered on the organizations and individuals located in the formal economy. That is about to change if for no other reason than the fact that the informal economy is large in size and significant in scope. For example, the informal economy accounts for noticeable portions of economic activity in developed countries such as Finland (18.3 percent), Germany (16.3 percent), France (15.3 percent), and the United States (8.8 percent) to name but a few. However, at the other end of the spectrum, estimates suggest that informal economy activity accounts for between 50 and 75 percent of non-agricultural employment in many developing countries. Its influence is certainly pervasive. Partly because of this, the informal economy poses significant challenges—but perhaps also opportunities—on both a human and a policy level.
The program that has been developed for the Academy of Management’s 2012 Annual Meeting includes a variety of opportunities to explore intriguing issues that are suggested by the informal economy. Engaging in scholarly explorations about this important phenomenon while in Boston has the potential to serve as a source of new and novel insights about the informal economy as well as managerial practices within such a context. The opportunities for these engagements come in several forms such as the All-Academy Theme Program that will be held on Sunday as well as many other theme-related sessions in the Professional Development Workshops and Scholarly Programs.
Five Days of Exciting Programs The Annual Meeting offers many opportunities to participate and learn during FIVE FULL DAYS of activities and events, divided into three parts:
- Friday and Sunday: Professional Development Workshops offered by 34 divisions, interest groups, and special committees
- Sunday: All-Academy Theme Program presenting symposia and PDWs on theme-related topics
- Sunday - Tuesday: Scholarly programs comprised of symposia and paper sessions
We particularly hope you will be able to attend the following exciting events, which are free and open to all registrants:
- All-Academy Opening Session: Sunday, August 5, 8:00 – 11:00 AM. Grand Ballroom, Sheraton Boston
o Buffet Breakfast
o Introduction of the 2012 Meeting Theme
o Awards Ceremony
o Presidential Address
- All-Academy Reception: Sunday, August 5, 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Grand Ballroom, Sheraton Boston
Program Participants The Annual Meeting celebrates the work of all who participate in it. The 2012 Call for Submissions elicited 6,672 paper submissions, 363 unique symposium submissions, and 484 Professional Development Workshops proposals. Our records indicate that 5,665 volunteer reviewers provided the effort to evaluate these submissions. We thank all of you for helping us create the final program—a program involving close to 8,000 individual participants.
Enjoy Your Time and Experiences in Boston Boston is a city that is rich in history and culinary delights! We are confident you will find that your time in this wonderful city will yield fascinating opportunities to engage in valuable discussions about our research, teaching, and managerial practice during both the formally scheduled sessions as well as during informal, spontaneous conversations that will emerge at various times during the meeting. We invite everyone to explore this wonderful city and enjoy everything it has to offer. We want to extend a personal welcome to each participant and our very sincere hope that you will thoroughly enjoy and derive significant benefits from your participation with the Academy of Management’s 2012 Annual Meeting. We look forward to seeing you in Boston in August!