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8th October 2018

2017 Directors Report


Message from the CEO, Madeleine Barrows

8th October 2018

Welcome to this October issue of the BAM newsletter. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our new members, some of whom I was fortunate to be able to meet at our recent annual Conference. This was my first experience of a BAM conference and I was struck by the richness of the experience which our community could generate, and also by how warm and supportive, active and engaged that community is. I’d like to share a few highlights of a wonderful conference, plus some other updates with you.

I’m sure you’ll agree that we were able to field a particularly impressive array of keynote speakers and panellists this year, taking our annual event to a whole new level, and this was the result of great energy and innovative thinking from our 2018 Conference Chair, Professor Nicholas O’Regan. As a result of his efforts, delegates were privileged to hear from a wide range of leading figures, including Lord Michael Bichard, who opened our conference, by sharing his thoughts on the importance of building and facilitating a culture of lifelong learning for a successful economy, reflecting on the role of universities in achieving this, and lamenting the recent decline in numbers of part-time students in the UK. We then heard from John Manzoni, CEO of the Civil Service, on his functions-based approach to reshaping and building a modern civil service, derived from his extensive experience in industry. Professor Julian Birkinshaw of London Business School gave us a fascinating analysis of business changes in the digital age, drawing attention to the continuing value of the firm and its ability to maintain a long-term perspective, and how the evolution of the firm continues to demonstrate value in the face of new disruptors. No event in the UK this year would be complete without a consideration of Brexit, so economist Vicky Pryce gave us her expert analysis of Freedom & Brexit, noting the unusual situation of a UK government actively restricting the freedom of its own citizens. Author and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby chaired a response from an expert panel including Lord Bichard and Professor Steve West as well as entrepreneurs Rob Law (of Trunki fame) and Dr Kalpna Woolf. The value that BAM accords to management knowledge and education was also highlighted with the final keynote being given over to the vital topic of ‘What Relevant Teaching Might Mean’’, given by new BAM Fellow Professor Jean Bartunek, Boston College and Professor Jane McKenzie, Henley Business School.

We recorded most of these events and hope to make them available to you as podcasts via our website in the near future, as soon as some technical hitches have been ironed out.

We celebrated both achievement and collaboration with a variety of awards. We were delighted in this year of #MeToo and public concern over the gender pay gap, that Professor Gary Powell, University of Connecticut and BAM Fellow became this year’s recipient of the Richard Whipp Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering work on gender and management. Peaches Golding, Lord Lieutenant of the City and County of Bristol, joined our awards ceremony, presenting our President and founder Sir Cary Cooper with a new BAM Medal for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution, as a token of our esteem as he approaches the end of his term of office, and Professor Katy Mason with the BAM Medal for Knowledge Development in recognition of her work on building MKE as a core element of BAM’s work. BAM Companionships were awarded to the ANZAM President, Professor Lee Di Milia, Lord Bichard, Jonathan Dimbleby, Michael Eavis, Vicky Pryce and John Manzoni. We also welcomed four new BAM Fellows: former AoM President Professor Jean Bartunek, Professor Jon Billsberry, Professor David Denyer and Professor Geoff Wood.

For our Gala Dinner this year, we celebrated under the wings of the iconic aircraft Concorde, having first had the opportunity to go inside it. We were delighted to be joined again by Jonathan Dimbleby, this time in conversation with Michael Eavis, the Founder of Glastonbury, who shared his thoughts and memories of how the famous Glastonbury Festival came to be. Dancing to the Essential 80s band was another experience not to be forgotten.

Sincere thanks must go to our dedicated team of Track Chairs who managed the review of some 1200 submissions, and the scheduling of 708 papers into coherent and useful sessions. Many commented on the increasingly high quality of submissions that the BAM conference receives and also of the sessions that resulted. Once again, we had presentations across 26 different tracks, underscoring the wealth and breadth of our discipline. Many delegates remarked on the variety and quality of the workshops and other sessions that we were also able to make available, lamenting only the lack of time to attend them all. For example, Dr Annie Gibney of ESRC spoke on engaging with the research councils and David Sweeney, CEO of Research England, explained the new rules about impact for REF2021. The BAM College of Fellows put on a fascinating and timely session on Celebrating Women in Business Schools, with a frank look at the issues that still surround gender, more than 40 years after the Sex Discrimination Act was passed. We also announced a new joint grant scheme with ANZAM – look out for more details in the new year.

Finally, I’ll just note another innovation for the 2018 conference: a dedicated Conference app. We don’t plan to abandon the traditional paper programme just yet, but it seems that most of those who used the app found it a very good experience, providing easy access to papers and alerts, as well as providing the opportunity to make personalised schedules and connect with other delegates. Of course, the content could also be easily updated at short notice when the inevitable last-minute changes happened.

Thank you to all delegates who have provided feedback on their conference experience; we are looking carefully at your comments and suggestions as we begin our planning for BAM2019. Do join us at Aston University in the heart of the UK’s second largest city – Birmingham – from 3rd – 5th September 2019, with the Doctoral Symposium as usual the day before. We’ll bring you more details as soon as we can. We have just issued a Request for Proposals for future conferences – if your institution is in the UK and interested in hosting a future BAM conference, do get in contact!

In the meantime, I’m working hard with the BAM Executive Committee and team to further professionalise the way BAM works for the benefit of its members and the public. There are various elements involved in doing this, and I’d just like to tell you about a few of them.

Many BAM members are hard at work finalising the details of the wonderful programme of SIG and BAM events that we run throughout the year and for people at all stages of their careers. A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for supporting the community in this way. I am recruiting for a new Head of Events and Operations to bring additional experience and strength into the way we operate, support and promote this programme, including conference. The advert is available on our website; please do draw it to the attention of anyone you think would be interested and qualified to assist this crucial part of our work.

We have a review of BAM’s governance underway, led by former BAM Chair and President, and BAM Fellow, Professor Marie McHugh of Queen’s University Belfast. The Executive Committee has tasked her with reviewing the new structures put in place following the previous governance review now that they have been running for a few years, and also with looking at areas that were not considered then. The aim is to ensure that our constitution supports our work and enables positive engagement.

I’ll leave a description of our policy-focused work to the separate report from our Head of Policy and Engagement.

Finally, please also keep your eye on the BAM website. We have been in the process of upgrading it and refreshing the look this year and the results should be visible in the next month or so. We are working with our website provider to bring you a more modern look and a more streamlined user experience. Another phase of work scheduled for January will create a secure area for each SIG to improve communications and information sharing within SIGs whilst remaining GDPR compliant.

Madeleine Barrows

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