by SMS President Africa Ariño 

Dear SMS Members,

As incoming president of the Strategic Management Society, it is my honor to share with you this Annual Report and highlight some of the important accomplishments over 2020, as well as some of our priorities for the future.

2020 was an unusually challenging year, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our lives and the activities of the Society. The many hurdles turned into opportunities to develop new ways to enhance the value that SMS offers its members. This was possible thanks to the joint work of the Society’s leadership, numerous volunteer members, and the SMS staff. For the first time, our Annual Conference was held virtually, breaking previous registration records. Our membership remains stable at around 3,000 members, and we have achieved continued success around our journals and research funding.

Financially, the year ended in balance—a very uncertain point some few months ago. In 2020, member engagement expanded with innovative programs. The SMS 40th Annual Conference was a very successful event. I want to thank Program Chairs Julian Birkinshaw and Costas Markides for their work and flexibility to create a great virtual program. The Conference Track Chairs, Session Leaders, and other program volunteers did not spare themselves any efforts either. The SMS staff worked endless hours with great enthusiasm to ensure a high-quality program that was up to the Society’s standards. The launch of the Strategy Imagination Forum series, which provides opportunities to share cutting-edge thinking on current strategy issues and topics presented by accomplished strategy thinkers from academia, business, and consulting (the ABCs of the Society), was another highlight of 2020. Additionally, Interest Group & Community (IG&C) leaders have worked to create many other new activities. My gratitude goes to all involved, as well as to those whose efforts to organize in-person conferences in Berkeley and Hangzhou were unfortunately frustrated by the pandemic.

Our journals remain strong. The Strategic Management Journal (SMJ) enjoys the position of being the world’s leading Journal in the strategy field. Both the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ) and the Global Strategy Journal (GSJ) have experienced dramatic improvements in their impact factors. We are happy to welcome Vibha Gaba and Brian Silverman as Co-Editors of SMJ and Peter Klein as a Co-Editor of SEJ. We thank Constance Helfat and Alfonso Gambardella at SMJ and Christoph Zott at SEJ for their exceptional guidance as Co-Editors.

We continue supporting PhD students through the Strategy Research Foundation (SRF), which awarded 10 research grants to students based in four countries in 2020. These grants will allow the recipients to enrich their dissertation projects. Past grant recipients’ research was showcased at the SMS 40th Annual Conference. Additionally, 60 students from 15 countries participated in the Annual Doctoral Workshop, and we created new virtual content targeting students.

I want to thank my colleagues on the Executive Committee. Javier Gimeno completed his two-year presidential tenure, and we owe him gratitude for having led the Society through these turbulent times. Russell Coff completed his six-year rotation on the Executive Committee, and he has set a high bar of enthusiasm and dedication to this service. Eileen McCarthy announced that she will be leaving us as of March 31, 2021. While we wished her tenure as Executive Director would have been longer, we are grateful for the very positive impact she has made on our association. A Board committee is currently working on the search for a new Executive Director, and we are confident that the transition will be smooth.

The Executive Committee is now composed of Javier Gimeno, Yan Anthea Zhang, Tomi Laamanen, Eileen McCarthy, and myself. We welcome new Board Directors Aseem Kaul, Gwendolyn Lee, and Paul Mang. The leadership team is committed to working hard to fulfill the mission of SMS and to strengthen its value proposition for all SMS members.

Looking forward, we are targeting three priorities. First, we need to keep the Society strong in the face of uncertainty. The pandemic has changed some of our behaviors and activities, and we need to ascertain which of these are likely to return to their previous state, which will be transformed, and which will be replaced. Another force of change is the Open Access movement that will increasingly impact our research and publication procedures. Second, we will continue our efforts to enhance our relevance by promoting mutually enriching interactions among As, Bs, and Cs. The appointment of Paul Mang as a Director responds to a desire to strengthen the voice of practice on the SMS Board. Paul has a unique background in that he brings experience as a tenure-track faculty member, a high-profile consultant, and a seasoned executive—an unusual combination of ABC experience in a single individual.

Third, we need to extend the Society’s geographic reach. While SMS has been international since its founding, North America and Europe remain the dominant regions. SMS should reflect the reality of a multi-polar academic and business world. The creation of virtual programs is already contributing to engaging members from under-represented regions, and we will keep working in this direction.

Thank you for your support. I am truly honored to serve as your president and hope you will contact me if you have thoughts or ideas on how we can better serve your needs and make SMS more innovative.

Let me finish by expressing my personal support to those of you who may be suffering one way or another in these difficult times.

Looking forward to meeting you in person soon!

Thank you,
Africa Ariño

Please click below to download the 2020 Annual Report: https://www.strategicmanagement.net/home/members/annual-report