Call for Proposals

You can read the most salient portions of the call for proposals below.

To see the complete version, please download the PDF document to the right.

Strategy in Complex Settings


The Strategic Management Society has a unique history of bringing together the academic, business and consulting (ABC) communities to foster better practice and better scholarship. At a time when the global economy is experiencing dramatic changes this special conference aims to bring these three communities together in joint pursuit of innovative responses to the “new reality.” Many of the traditional economic powers can no longer assume a future comprising uninterrupted growth, and global issues such as climate change are calling forth hitherto unseen requirements for “joined-up” thinking and collaborative working. These complex, multi-stakeholder settings represent challenging contexts which are likely to require new approaches to strategy and strategic management.

The Glasgow special conference will focus attention on the unique challenges facing both strategists and strategy researchers as they address complexities within and beyond the firm. The need for effective engagement in strategy processes across businesses, industries and societies will be examined and the conference will foreground promising areas of theory which might help conceptualize strategy in such complex settings. For example, one focus will be the role of dialogue in both framing and crafting solutions to “wicked problems” since this is central to the creation of shared value. Another will be the utility of conceptual apparatus such as complexity theory and systems dynamics which are particularly suited to dealing with complex patterns of interaction within networks and eco-systems.

Better strategy and better strategy research will be required to deliver positive impacts in each of the ABC communities that form SMS as well as the broader ecosystems in which these communities exist. Historically, impact has often been conceptualized in terms of dependent variables such as firm performance or growth. Whilst these remain important, there is an urgent need to consider impact in other terms such as sustainability, mutuality, the co-creation of value and the development of compelling joint futures. The Glasgow Special Conference will invite theoretical and empirical contributions which consider engagement, dialogue and impact across diverse, multi-stakeholder contexts and challenging complex problems.

The Glasgow SMS conference combines four in-depth tracks with integrative plenary sessions that together contribute to the theme of strategy in complex settings. Three of the tracks align broadly with those IGs supporting the event and the fourth focuses on engagement with the practitioner community:

Strategy Processes in Complex Settings

  1. At complex multi-business, industry and society levels, what is strategic management in terms of process and how is shared value created?
  2. What theories and processes hold particular promise for joined-up strategy in complex settings? What for example, can we learn from theories of complexity, dynamical systems, inter-organisational learning or evolutionary economics?
  3. Do strategy processes in complex settings reframe traditional distinctions such as formulation-implementation, dynamic-static, deliberate-emergent, incremental-radical or process-content?

Strategy Practices in Complex Settings

  1. What are the practices of strategic management in complex settings and how can shared value be created through inter-organizational strategy? Does a practice perspective help with framing complex strategic problems, engaging in joint action or creating mutually beneficial solutions?
  2. What insights and guidance do theories of practice, or practice-based perspectives on theory, offer to strategists in the conduct of joined-up strategy in complex settings? How might strategy frameworks - such as dynamic capabilities or scenario-building - be used to help solve wicked problems?
  3. How are emerging technologies and media such as social networking influencing strategy practice in complex settings?

Stakeholder Involvement in Complex Settings

  1. What forms of stakeholder engagement and interaction best manage the balance between competition and cooperation within, across and between industries?
  2. How are new and emerging phenomena, practices and technologies, such as social media influencing stakeholder involvement in strategy development? Do such technologies help or hinder in complex settings?
  3. Are there new modes of participation, measurement and reward which foster effective stakeholder cooperation and build better governance in the sustainable generation of shared value?

Research Process and ABC engagement in Complex Settings

  1. How can strategy researchers and strategists promote engagement, co-production and development within and across sectors? Are new approaches to strategy research needed to work on complex, pressing and global problems?
  2. How are new and emerging phenomena, practices and technologies, such as social media influencing interaction and dialogue between the ABC communities in strategy development?
  3. What can the strategy community do in research, policy, development and educational terms to promote cooperation and sustainability in the next generation of strategists?

Submission Guidelines And Requirements

Proposals (5-7 pages, for paper and panel sessions) relating to the conference theme are invited. Only original, unpublished work is sought. Deadline for Submission of Proposals: November 30, 2012



Strategic Management Society

Glasgow