Call for Papers: 2020 Industry Studies Association Annual Conference

June 3 – 5, 2020 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, MA, USA

Submission Deadline: January 17, 2020

The Industry Studies Association (ISA) cordially invites submissions of individual paper abstracts and proposals of panels for the 2020 ISA Annual Conference to be held June 3 – 5, 2020 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 2020 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 it also generates 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, has 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, from industry, government, or other organizations, as presenters or discussants are especially welcome.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 17, 2020 at 11:59 PM PT. Abstracts should be submitted through the ISA website at

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 on the ISA website.

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;
  • Globalization: Management & Policy Implications (Chair: Hiram Samel, MIT Sloan School of Management;
  • Health Care (Chair: Tina Wu, New York University,
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Chair: Mahka Moeen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
  • Labor Markets, Organizations, & Employment Relations (Chair: John Paul MacDuffie, University of Pennsylvania,
  • Operations & Supply Networks (Chair: Benn Lawson, University of Cambridge;
  • Technology Management (Chair: Raja Roy, New Jersey Institute of Technology;
  • General Industry Studies (Chair: Ingrid Nembhard, University of Pennsylvania;

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

  • Liz Reynolds, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (
  • Ingrid Nembhard, University of Pennsylvania (
  • John Gray, The Ohio State University (

One thought on “Call for Papers: 2020 Industry Studies Association Annual Conference

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.