2023 Industry Studies Association
Annual Conference

Theme: Reconceptualizing Competition: Nation, Region, Firm, and Individual

Conference Recap

We had a very energizing and enlightening conference in Columbus, Ohio, May 31-June 2, 2023. Hosted by the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, the conference opened with great site visits and the Professional Development Workshop (PDW) on Wednesday morning and concluded with the annual awards luncheon on Friday. During these and in between, there was something for everyone whose research involved a deep focus on an industry and/or an interest in the interface between academic research and public policy.

ISA owes a great debt of gratitude to the Fisher College of Business for fully sponsoring both the space and the excellent food—breakfast, lunch, and snacks—throughout the conference.

The conference certainly tilted heavily towards the theme of “Reconceptualizing Competition: Nation, Region, Firm, and Individual.” As we will recap below, we had plenaries that included current and former policymakers at different levels of government, journalists that cover these issues, and of course thought leaders doing research on industry and industrial policy.

You can see the full program here. Read below for a summary that attempts to capture the energy that was present throughout the three days in Columbus!

We hope to see you next year in Sacramento, California!


Professional Development Workshop

On the morning of the first day, led by Jeff Furman of Boston University, the PDW brought together  27 Ph.D. students  and junior faculty, with nine senior faculty mentors. The PDW started with a panel discussion featuring several senior faculty, followed by in-depth small group discussions between mentors and 2-3 mentees.






Tours: Honda and Hikma Pharmaceuticals

Also on the first day, attendees were able to choose between two fantastic plant tours. One was the oldest Japanese automobile manufacturing plant in the United States, Honda. The other was one of the largest generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country, Hikma. See pictures below. Both companies prepared excellent tours, and attendees were pleased with what they were able to see and learn. 

   Honda: Top Left. Hikma: Top Right, Bottom Left

Plenaries, Special Sessions, and Paper Sessions

The heart of ISA conferences is the dynamic interactions during research paper sessions. From 1pm on Wednesday to 1pm on Friday, the conference included three plenary sessions, six special sessions, and approximately three dozen paper and panel parallel sessions with well over 100 papers presented. As usual for ISA, the sessions were well attended, interactive, and dynamic.

The sessions took place at the Blackwell Conference Center at the Fisher College of Business, which was co-located with the hotel.

Highlighting Ohio: Special Sessions with a Local Flavor

Three of the six special sessions highlighted the conference location.

We were delighted to have representatives from JobsOhio, an innovative economic development organization created at the beginning of the John Kasich administration, present their story. The organization played a key role in Central Ohio landing the $20 billion Intel investment.

We also heard from the BRIGHT Initiative, a talent development program focused on developing leaders for K-12 education. The unique program run jointly by the Fisher College of Business and the OSU College of Education, aims to develop transformative K-12 leaders. The program is in its third cohort.

Finally, individuals that were key in exposing fraudulent practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers described their experiences. These include Darrel Rowland former journalist with the Columbus Dispatch, Antonio Ciaccia of Columbus-based 46Brooklyn Research and 3Axis Advisors, and health economist Robert Popovian. These individuals were instrumental in making Ohio the first state to sue Centene for Medicaid fraud (to the tune of an $88 million settlement in 2021); a model subsequently followed by several other US states.

Plenaries and other Special Sessions: Public Policy, and more Public Policy!

The three plenaries had a heavy emphasis on Public Policy.

The opening plenary featured Erica Fuchs of Carnegie Mellon, discussing progress on the  National Network for Critical Technology Assessment (NNCTA), and initiative funded by the National Science Foundation's new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate. Erica reported on the NNCTA’s ongoing work assessing nation's key technology focus areas. She also indicated additional research opportunities called for in the CHIPS + Science Act of 2022.  

The second plenary [GJ1]  focused on the evolution of U.S. Industrial Strategy. The panel, moderated by New York Times business columnist Peter Coy,  featured key actors in the industrial policy space, including Todd Tucker of the Roosevelt Institute, David Hart of George Mason University and ITIF, and Liz Reynolds who recently served as Special Assistant to President Biden for manufacturing and industrial strategy.  

The third plenary focused on supply chain resilience. In true ISA fashion, it featured current and former policymakers, along with former ISA president and auto industry expert John Paul MacDuffie, discussing both the private sector and the government’s role in promoting supply chain resilience, along with Sue Helper, currently in the Biden Administration. The session even outlined specific research that would help inform public policy.

The six special sessions were equally, well, special! The three Ohio-themed special sessions were outlined in more detail above. The other three very well-attended special sessions featured:

  • The German perspective on automotive transformation, featuring experts from the well-known Fraunhofer Institute;
  • A fireside chat on industrial policy and the role of the state, by Steve Currall (visiting scholar at Harvard) and Rob Hockett, professor at Cornell and Forbes Columnist;
  • A session on technological change in the automotive industry, moderated by Ohio State’s Andrea Contigiani and featuring research presentations from John Paul MacDuffie and Dan Wilde of Wharton and insights from executives in the automotive industry.

Parallel Research Sessions: The Core of the Conference!

  • The more intimate parallel sessions are where some of the best discussions at ISA occur. More than most conferences, participants discuss and debate research papers extensively, and conversations often spill out to the hallways. That was certainly the case in Columbus!

Receptions: Fun and Networking!

Guests were treated to great receptions.

On Wednesday evening, guests were welcomed at Ohio Stadium, the 100-year-old iconic home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. Guests were able to eat and drink in a suite overlooking the fifth-largest stadium in the world, and third largest in the U.S. And, they were treated to tours of the field and the press box. As you can see from the pictures, fun was had by all!

On Thursday evening, conference participants networked at a rooftop bar in downtown Columbus. While the days of the conference were hot, the evening turned out quite pleasant, and the panoramic view of Columbus was a nice backdrop to the great conversations. Guests scattered to any of the dozens of good restaurants and bars walking distance from the rooftop for an enjoyable evening.


The conference concluded with the awards lunch. Congratulations to these winners:

Conference Best Paper in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Stream Award

WINNING PAPER: "Environmental Transparency and Value Appropriation from Innovation: Evidence from US Hydraulic Fracturing 2000–2020", by Shirley Tang 

RUNNER-UP:  "How Does Transparency Impact Technological Novelty? Evidence from Large Pharmaceutical Firms", by Hanu Tyagi  

Dissertation Award

WINNER:  Jungkyu Suh, Ph.D. Duke University, “Science, Startups, and Innovation in the Laser Industry” 

RUNNER-UP:  Ying Li, Ph.D. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, “Technology, Local Communities, and Market Evolution: The Rise, Fall, and Perseverance of the American Movie Theater Industry, 1896-2020”  

Emerging Scholar in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award

This award recognizes an early or mid-career industry studies scholar conducting exceptional research in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship. The award winner demonstrates significant personal investment in understanding the markets, firms, and institutions of an industry and frequently involves the integration of director observation through field-based research with appropriate theory and analysis.

WINNER: Florence Honoré, Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources, Wisconsin School of Business

Giarratani Rising Star Award

This award recognizes junior scholars who have made a significant contribution to the paper they submit for the Giarratani Rising Star award and must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission and the junior scholar must not be more than six years post Ph.D.

WINNER: “The Emergence of Organizational Culture in Technology-Based Startups”, by Christopher Law 

RUNNER-UP: “Improving Smallholder Farm Productivity and Addressing Poverty Through Disseminating Operational Practices: Are “Good” Agricultural Practices Good Enough?”, by Canberk Ucel   

Ralph Gomory Best Industry Studies Paper Award


“Emancipatory Technology and Developing-World Supply Chains: A Case Study of African Women Gemstone Miners.”, by Jordana George, Dwayne Whitten, Richard Metters, & James Abbey (2022), Journal of Operations Management, 68(6-7), 619-648. 

“The Perils of Laundering Control through Customers: A Study of Control and Resistance in the Ride-hail Industry.”, by Michael D. Maffie (2022), ILR Review, 75(2), 348-372. 

RUNNER-UP:  “Pre-Entry Experience, Post-Entry Adaptations, and Internationalization in the African Mobile Telecommunications Industry.”, by Mohammad Jahanbakht, Romel Mostafa, & Francisco Veloso (2022), Organization Science, 33(3), 969-990.