picture of Sharon Alvarez Sharon Alvarez University of Denver Program Chair

picture of Donald Bergh Donald Bergh University of Denver Program Chair

picture of Sharon Matusik Sharon Matusik University of Colorado, Boulder Program Chair

Welcome From The Program Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to soon welcome you in Denver and anticipate that this year’s conference will be jam-packed with stimulating learning adventures!

Here are some highlights of the major events planned during our time together.

On Sunday, we have two very exciting sessions planned. First, Adam Aron will provide the keynote address. Adam Aron is the current CEO of Starwood Hotels, and the former CEO of Vail Resorts, the Philadelphia 76ers, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Since taking over at Starwood Hotels earlier this year, Adam Aron has overseen the launch of the firm’s tenth brand, Portfolio Hotels, a new model that serves as an alliance with independent hoteliers.

Our second plenary session on Sunday is titled “New Frontiers in Technologies, Fields, and Business Models: Implications for Academic and Practice Knowledge Creation” and will feature Kathy Eisenhardt (Stanford), Gary Dushnitsky (London Business School), Brad Feld (Managing Partner, Foundry Group Venture Capital firm; Co-Founder of TechStars), and Bart Lorang (CEO and Co-Founder of Full Contact). This session will delve into how changes in technologies, fields, and business models can fundamentally reorganize traditional value creation activities in firms and contribute to an increasingly complex competitive landscape for firms to negotiate. The panelists will comment on these new frontiers and how they might shape research especially in the areas of firm boundaries, firm value creation, and negotiating complex and rapidly changing competitive environments.

On Monday, we offer a plenary session that seeks to extend our conference’s theme in a vertical direction: “Elevating our Understanding of Organizational Performance: Bridging the Frontiers of Business and Corporate Strategies.” This session will bring Jay Barney (University of Utah), Russell Coff (University of Wisconsin), Kathryn R. Harrigan (Columbia University) Michael Hitt (Texas A&M University) and Costas Markides (London Business School) together. These experts will consider how the integration of business and corporate strategy might provide for a more integrative and comprehensive understanding of differences in firm performance. The panelists will consider how a firm’s corporate strategy might affect or constrain the firm’s business strategy in a given arena, how business strategies in various units might affect corporate strategy, and if the apparent shift in research attention from corporate to business strategies been helpful or damaging to informing our understanding of performance differentials.

Our final plenary session, set for Tuesday, is titled “Whatever Happened to Theory in Strategic Management” and will include Jay Barney (University of Utah), Connie Helfat (Dartmouth College), Dan Levinthal (University of Pennsylvania) and Richard Bettis (University of North Carolina). This panel will consider one of the most important aspects in the “shifting field” SMS members face today: a decline in the development and publication of new theory.  This trend, if it continues, has important consequences for strategic management. By contrast, most major award-winning papers emphasize theory and conceptual development. The panelists will provide insights into balancing the emphasis on teaching and diffusing an empirical orientation with creating new theoretical models and conceptual frameworks.

Adding to these plenaries, we are very pleased to let you know that a set of provocative showcase sessions will be offered on Monday afternoon.

And as Denver is a city that plays as hard as it works, we want to highlight our social events. The opening and closing receptions will be held at the conference hotel as usual. The dinner on Monday evening will take place at the highly regarded Denver Art Museum and will feature authentic Native American music and dancing.

The city of Denver is ready to welcome you! We hope that our pioneering spirt, the challenges that appear in the ever-present mountains and our mile-high elevation will entice you to raise your thinking and understanding of strategy.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Warm regards,

Sharon Alvarez
Don Bergh
Sharon Matusik

Strategic Management Society