The 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management took place 10-14 August 2018 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The vice president and program chair was Jacqueline Coyle-Shapiro of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Improving Lives -- Improving Health and Well-being in Society: How Can Organizations Help? The 2018 Theme asks the question: How can organizations contribute to the betterment of society through elevating the health and well-being of those who live in it? What role can organizations play in positively affecting the physical, psychological, social, and financial health of individuals, groups, communities, countries, regions, or global society?
Organizations are integral to, and have an interdependent relationship with, society. As such, they affect whether societies realize their members’ health (“complete physical, mental and social well-being,” WHO 1946) and overall well-being (“being happy, healthy and prosperous,” Merriam-Webster). However, the role of organizations and the responsibility for improving lives is unclear, as is the extent to which their efforts have been successful.
The Theme will explore such issues as whether (and why) organizations have a responsibility for improving the lives of individuals in society. Do organizations have an obligation to “give back”? Are there benefits for organizations who seek to improve lives as a strategic opportunity? Could—and should—organizations play more of a role in the overall health and well-being of a society? What does it take to achieve a coordinated and sustained effort from organizations to address the grand challenges of improving a society’s physical, psychological, social, and financial health? How can health and well-being become part of the conversation in upper echelons of organizations? What types of leadership approaches will engage people in making positive differences in their lives, on both large and small scales? If organizational purpose is to ensure that lives are better, what should organizations do differently?
A number of recent trends have created unique opportunities for organizations to have a positive impact. Aging, the rise of mental health issues, diversity in communities, financial insecurity, and the role of technology in facilitating constant connectivity have created challenges that organizations may be in an ideal place to address. What organizational solutions responding to these current trends are having a positive impact on the health and well-being of those affected? Under what conditions do organizational solutions transform the impact of current trends into positive effects for health and well-being of those in their local and global communities? We seek to showcase work that informs these issues. Diverse forms of research are pertinent, some examples of which include:
There is also rising inequality. Our society comprises “haves” and “have nots,” and increasing segments of society are disenfranchised as a result of prejudice, poverty, conflict, and disasters. What role can organizations have in improving the lives of vulnerable populations? What would the implications be for the care of vulnerable people? How can different types of organizations measure their impact on the health and well-being of a society’s most vulnerable groups, such as:
Pause for a moment and imagine what is and what would be possible if we seriously considered the involvement of organizations in creating a better society. Some potential questions for our diverse community to explore:
Perhaps this theme will inspire creative, broad, and provocative thought about Improving Lives from many different perspectives.
Awards and recognition