Reflections from the PDW Chair
Improving your chances in future submissions
The Division’s Professional Development Program has become a highlight of the Annual Meeting. Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) focus on novel and provocative themes, emphasize innovative and interactive formats, and allow for learning and interaction beyond what takes place in the regular paper and panel sessions. As such they continue to grow in popularity.
This year we received 38 PDW submissions, a 33% increase over the previous two years. Unfortunately, our allotment of hours by AOM has not kept pace. After accounting for the hours assigned to the Doctoral, Early-Career, Mid-Career, and the new Late-Career Consortia we had fewer than 40 hours to allocate among these submissions. Consequently, we could only accept 19 proposals, and some sessions received less hours than requested. My thanks to all submitters for an amazing variety of high-quality proposals; I regret that only some could be accommodated.
I have been a PDW submitter and participant for many years but learned a lot from sitting in the PDW Chair’s seat. Here are a few observations and suggestions for improving your chances in future submissions.
PDWs are not paper or panel sessions. PDWs are meant as complements, not substitutes, for the regular AOM program. They should not cover conventional themes and topics or be structured as traditional paper or panel sessions. Rather, PDWs should be innovative in content and structure, exploring issues and encouraging interactions not usually featured in the main program. The most effective PDWs encourage interaction among individuals and groups which do not typically participate in the same sessions, workshops, and activities: not only within the Entrepreneurship Division (e.g., between junior and senior scholars, between academics and practitioners, among scholars from different countries, among academics following different career paths, and so on), but also across the divisional lines of the Academy. For this reason, it's smart to work with colleagues within and outside the Division and submit appropriate PDW proposals which have broad appeal to the Academy membership at large.
Content is king. I was particularly attracted to sessions exploring novel themes, taking unusual perspectives, and involving top-notch participants, especially people not usually involved with the Division (or the Academy itself). This applies both to research- and teaching-oriented proposals. Several submitters took advantage of the location to invite eminent scholars or practitioners from the Chicago area to participate in sessions. Among the successful submissions are PDWs on hot topics like inequality, blockchains, field experiments, gamification, and biological approaches to entrepreneurship. Several session look at the relationship between entrepreneurship and civil society, public policy, “grand challenges,” and similar social and political issues. Others focus on modeling techniques, pedagogy, and emerging issues in entrepreneurship theory such as external enablers, Knightian uncertainty, and real options. Of course, proposals dealing with classic topics, themes, and issues are welcome. But it is hard to stand out in a crowded field with a topic that has been explored many times before.
Structure is important. Some proposals featured excellent content but did not give much thought to format. Keep in mind that the submission instructions ask for detailed information on structure and timing. Frankly, “an introduction to the session, presentations by our N distinguished panelists, roundtable discussion, and summary remarks” is not a very exciting format. I’ve attended many such PDWs over the years in which the distinguished panelists each run a bit over their allotted time and the table talk morphs into five minutes of Q&A—basically a two-hour lecture session. I tended to favor sessions with a more interactive, developmental, collaborative, or “flipped” format. We emphasize experiential learning in our classrooms; why not do the same at our conferences? Pay close attention to structure in developing your proposals.
Provide appropriate details. While a concise and readable narrative is always the best, it helps to be as specific and detailed as possible about theme, participants, and structure. Why is this topic likely to interest Division members (and, if possible, to attract people outside the Division)? Why are these participants appropriate? (Most successful proposals provide brief biographical information on the key participants and explain how their background and experience fit the rest of the session.) Why is the proposed format the most suitable?
Ask for help. When developing proposals feel free to reach out to the PDW Chair, other Division officers, more experienced submitters, and others for help. The submission process itself is developmental and Division officers are happy to listen, answer questions, and provide suggestions as you develop your proposals. The Academy posts information on PDWs at http://aom.org/annualmeeting/submission/guidelines. If you need additional information, please consider examining the previous year’s program at http://aom.org/Meetings/Past-Meetings or consider contacting someone who was successful in previous years. As with proposals, examining an “exemplar” submission may help you through the process.
Thanks again to all who participated in the submission process. See you in Chicago!
Peter G. Klein
2018 PDW Chair
A message from the Division Chair
Dear Members of the Entrepreneurship Division!
It's hard to believe that 2017 has almost gone by. This is a great opportunity to review the exciting events of the last year and have a preview on the months to come. With 3,585 members worldwide, ENT is still among the fastest growing divisions of the Academy of Management … and counting! Our five-year review, headed by Alain Fayolle, clearly revealed that we are an interdisciplinary, international and vibrant community with creative initiatives and, of course, great social events. 2017 has been a year with many important milestones for the Division:
- In recognition of their outstanding long-term contributions to our field and in the area of mentoring, Dean A. Sheperd was awarded with our prestigious “Dedication to Entrepreneurship Award” and Charles H. Matthews received the ENT “Mentor Award”
- Alain Fayolle took on his role as Past-Chair
- Peter Klein was elected as the new PDW Chair
- Gry Agnete Alsos, Marie-Louise Verreynne, Donald Siegel, and Denis Gregoire will serve the Division as newly elected RALs
- April Franco has succeeded Tim Folta as Chair of the Awards Committee, Lou Marino has succeeded Kathleen Randerson as the Chair of the Communications Committee, and
- Franz Lohrke took over the Chair position of the Historian Committee from Hans Landström.
I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Chicago in August 2018. Stay tuned for exiting announcements on events, dates and deadlines concerning PDWs, symposia, awards and paper submissions for 2018 by Don, Dawn, and Peter! Please do not forget to volunteer to REVIEW for the meeting and thank you in advance for helping us to grow entrepreneurship scholars also through reviewing!
As Division Chair of 2018, I have dedicated myself to the support of emerging scholars in our Division, taking our slogan "We grow entrepreneurship scholars" at the very heart. With the strong support of Dawn and the Kauffman Foundation in particular, we will seek to stimulate discussions and actions aiming at improving the way through which we help emerging scholars in our discipline to grow and advance the field of entrepreneurship.
I count on the devotion of you, dear members, to continue to support our Division and community that we are all proud to be a part off.
Last, but certainly not least, let me take the opportunity to thank all of you who make the ENT spirit come alive through your time, efforts and dedication to the Division. A brief letter does, unfortunately, not allow me to thank many of you in person. Let me address some of you by name as representatives of all diligent members working on stage and behind the scenes. Thanks go to Carlo Salvato, Alain Fayolle and our past Committee Chairs Kathleen, Hans, and Tim for their numerous years of impressive commitment and service to support the Division and its members. It’s a great honour to follow your footsteps. Our amazing team of Division officers and I will do our best to keep up with your impressive legacy.
ENT Division Chair