21 Sep 2022

BAM2022 Conference - Key Highlights

Our 36th Annual Conference in Manchester onReimagining Business and Management as a Force for Good and sponsored by Haleon, scored a number of important ‘firsts’ for BAM.

It was our largest ever event– 1,078 delegates from more than 50 countries attended 650 paper presentations, two keynote panel sessions and 14 professional development workshops along with other meetings and symposia.

It was also our first hybrid conference, with around a quarter of delegates attending virtually, using our conference virtual platform, which functioned efficiently. The virtual participation option meant that travel to present papers was not essential, helping to increase inclusion.

For those that came in person, the social activities were particularly lively, which was understandable given that we haven’t met in person since 2019– they included tours of Manchester’s social history, a creative art session and yoga, not forgetting the Gala Dinner and dance. The buzz around the venue was palpable, as people enjoyed the ease of in-person networking and meeting with friends old and new.

Most events were held in the Drum at University Place, with some in the Alliance Manchester Business School building. The main exhibition area was busy and included a BAM activities table for the first time, to showcase the wide range of activities and opportunities we offer to our members all year round.

Professor Ken McPhail, of the Business School, was conference Chair. In a video introduction, he said that we were living in “unprecedented times – a series of existential grand challenges we urgently need to address, where the lines of responsibility between state, civil society and business for addressing them is becoming increasingly blurred.

“All of which challenges our assumptions about the purpose of business and how we manage them, as well the purpose of research and how we measure it, and therefore we are really excited that the theme of the 36th BAM conference is ‘Re-imagining business and management as a force for good’.”

BAM made a series of awards during the conference to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by business and management scholars, not just by their research but also through the important contributions they have made to society and the community.

To further our aim of being as sustainable as possible we arranged fully vegetarian, locally-sourced catering, dropped the traditional printed paper programme, and used eco-friendly badges and lanyards. The plant-based catering was both delicious and a bold move to live our values, and was welcomed by many delegates.

The conference went down well on social media: Clare Richardson, an apparel and textiles PhD student at the University of Manchester, tweeted: “Great experience at #BAM2022 presenting my first conference paper …A great end to an exciting and informative week.”

Dr Christian Harrison, who works in the research fields of leadership and entrepreneurship, tweeted: “Had a splendid time. Thanks everyone for your contribution and making it a huge success. See you all at #BAM2023!”

The conference was preceded by the well-established Doctoral Symposium, held in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Around 170 students from 10 countries, India in particular, shared their research and received mentoring from BAM Fellows and other senior academics.

In introducing the event, our Chair, Professor Katy Mason, told the conference that BAM had published a strategy in 2020 for the next four years, and had done “ever so well” to follow it, including work on equality, diversity, inclusion and respect. This would continue, with a new focus on sustainability added, she said.  

Professor Mason paid tribute to Professor Nic Beech, who stands down as President at the end of 2022, and who has also been Chair and sat on our Council. Professor Beech has been notable for supporting early career work, among other areas. “I can’t emphasise enough the important part Nic has played in BAM,” Professor Mason told the conference. Conference concurred with a packed lecture hall delivering a standing ovation for him.

The conference ran several keynote panel sessions. One was on ‘Inclusive scholarship as a force for good’, and featured Professor Beech, also Vice-chancellor of Middlesex University, who said: “What we need is a shift in the culture. That means the culture itself is changed by the nature of inclusivity. It is about us individually and as groups moving into the unknown and having the bravery to do that.”

It also featured Professor Quinetta M. Roberson, Professor of Management and Psychology at Michigan State University and former President of the AoM, whose research focuses on developing organisational capability. She said: “One of the things we find, is that a lot of people, whether that’s leaders or scholars, say ‘I’m inclusive’, which is like saying ‘I’m humble’ – if you say it, you’re not. It takes a certain level of courage to be able to challenge our own thinking, to say, ‘here’s what I think, but how can I be more inclusive?’” The panel also featured Banji Adewumi, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, University of Manchester.

Another keynote panel asked, ‘Can business and investors solve our biggest social challenges?’. Tera Allas, Director of Research and Economics at London McKinsey & Company, said that the transition to net zero would need “an investment of about $10 trillion a year, that’s about seven and a half per cent of global GDP. There’s no government that’s going to be able to afford that in terms of cash flow immediately. And so we are going to need very significant private sector funding. You also have other people involved, you have researchers, universities, research institutions, schools, governments, regulators, and so on.”

Also speaking at the panel were Duncan Goose, the Managing Director of Global Ethics Limited, which raises funds for humanitarian projects in developing countries by harnessing the power of everyday consumerism, and Beth Haughton, Investment Director at Palatine.

Next year’s annual conference will be held at the University of Sussex from 5th-7th September 2023 on a theme of “Towards Disruptive Sustainability: New Business Opportunities and Challenges– all are welcome! Look out for the call for papers coming soon.