Call for Papers | Paper and Panel Submissions

Call for Papers: 2021 Industry Studies Association Annual Conference 

June 2–4, 2021 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Boston, MA, USA 

Submission Deadline - January 22, 2021 

Submission Form Opening Soon

The Industry Studies Association (ISA) cordially invites submissions of individual paper abstracts and proposals of panels for the 2021 ISA Annual Conference to be held June 2–4, 2021 at the Samberg Conference Center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Industry studies research is grounded in observations of firms and workplaces and in a deep understanding of the markets, institutions, and technologies that shape the competitive environment. It draws on a wide range of academic disciplines and fields including economics, history, sociology, and other social sciences; management; marketing; policy analysis; operations research; engineering; labor markets and employment relations; and other related research and policy areas.

The conference welcomes research from all disciplines that incorporates this approach. ISA is especially interested in organized panels and papers that are unique in their emphasis on observation and insight into a particular industry or that consider how knowledge gained in studying one industry can provide insights into other industries.

The Theme for the 2021 Conference is Work of the Future.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other related technologies are creating new technological capabilities that can both replace and enhance human physical and increasingly, cognitive activities. This creates significant possibilities for reimagining and redesigning work, enhancing the human-technology interface, increasing the connectivity within supply chains, and many other positive implications for workers, firms and society at large. But these advances also generate uncertainty and anxiety about the future of work, particularly for workers with less education. There is a sense of collective concern about how fast technological innovations are moving and whether and how they can be harnessed for social benefit. An increase in income inequality in most industrialized nations, a decline in middle-skilled jobs, as well as social and political disruption, have led to greater focus on the role of automation and globalization in exacerbating these trends. How firms, industries, regions, and nations respond to and anticipate these changes will shape technological trajectories, firm and industry performance, economic growth, and social cohesion. This year’s ISA conference aims to draw upon the multidisciplinary nature of this topic to explore these and other related issues related to the future of work.

Topics of interest relevant to this theme include but are not limited to:

  • What are characteristics of the work of the future? How do these characteristics manifest similarly or differently across industries?
  • How might work be redesigned to leverage the strengths and weakness of recent technological innovations? How do industries, organizations and workers revise systems and practices to integrate AI, machine learning and other innovations effectively?
  • What industrial policies and strategies are facilitating or undermining the work of the future? Additionally, in what ways does the flexibility (or inflexibility) of a local labor market influence a region’s ability to embrace the work of the future?
  • How does the changing nature of work influence other intra- and inter-industry dynamics?
  • Are some industries immune to the changing nature of work? Will the future be delayed for some, and why?

While the ISA welcomes papers and panels related to the conference theme, a tie to theme is not mandatory. Any papers or panels that build upon the ISA’s foundational interest in firms and industries are welcome.

The Submission Process

Researchers may submit abstracts of up to 250 words for single papers or groups of 3-5 abstracts for organized panels. Panel proposals should identify a theme across the papers included in them (e.g., using one methodology across multiple industries or multiple diverse approaches to a common problem in a single industry). Panels that include practitioners – whether from industry, government, or other organizations – as presenters or discussants are especially welcome.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 22, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT. Abstracts should be submitted through the ISA submission forms:

Paper Submission Form

Panel Submission Form

In addition to the abstract submission, junior (untenured) faculty may also submit full papers to the Rising Star Best Paper Competition and the Best Paper in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Stream Competition, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Information on these competitions can be found here:

ISA Awards

Submissions should be made to the research streams listed below. However, these streams are not meant to be exhaustive, and the committee also welcomes submissions in the “General Industry Studies” category. This category may include industry-specific as well as cross-industry papers and panels. The program committee will shift papers and panels from the general industry studies stream to other streams where appropriate.

Research streams:

  • Energy, Power, & Sustainability (Chair: Adam Fremeth, Ivey Business School, U. of Western Ontario; [email protected])
  • Globalization: Management & Policy Implications (Chair: Hiram Samel, MIT Sloan School of Management; [email protected])
  • Health Care (Chair: Tina Wu, New York University, [email protected])
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Chair: Mahka Moeen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; [email protected])
  • Labor Markets, Organizations, & Employment Relations (Chair: Ariel C. Avgar, Cornell University, [email protected])
  • Operations & Supply Networks (Chair: Benn Lawson, University of Cambridge; [email protected])
  • Technology Management (Chair: Raja Roy, New Jersey Institute of Technology; [email protected])
  • General Industry Studies (Chair: Ingrid Nembhard, University of Pennsylvania; [email protected])

Please feel free to contact the Conference Program Co-Chairs listed below with questions.