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2020 ISA Annual Conference & Call for Papers

  • 1.  2020 ISA Annual Conference & Call for Papers

    Posted 10-23-2019 09:22


    2020 Industry Studies Association
    Annual Conference

    June 3-5, 2020 in Boston, MA, USA
    Theme: "Work of the Future"

    Come to MIT Sloan School's Samberg Center for the 2020 ISA conference, which will include two days of paper sessions, two plenaries, and a pre-conference Professional Development Workshop for early career scholars. 

    New this year: two "meet the author" sessions, guest speakers on ISA's history and future, and chances to learn about local industries. Plus many opportunities to network and enjoy all the great conversations that happen when industry studies scholars get together. Join us!!

    Visit our website:



    Conference Highlights Day 1 | June 4, 2020


    The Work of the Future: A Plenary

    Advances in artificial intelligence, 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, and whether technological change can be harnessed to benefit everyone. David Mindell, co-chair of MIT's Work of the Future Initiative, and Tom Kochan, from MIT Sloan's Institute of Work and Employment Studies, will lead a multidisciplinary panel in addressing these issues.


    Globalization, Norms, and Integrity: The Case of Pharmaceuticals

    Does there exist a "Future of Work" in which a global set of norms exist, and are consistently adopted? Katherine Eban will discuss her 2019 New York Times Best Seller, Bottle of Lies, in which she uncovers the fraudulent activities of many manufacturers of generic medicines. Eban and discussants will consider to what extent fraudulent work practices and threats to integrity-based norms are unique to the pharmaceutical industry; and/or simply another manifestation of differing norms around the globe.


    Reflecting on Industry Studies: Thirty years of the MIT Industrial Performance Center and the ISA

    Richard Lester is the Japan Steel Industry Professor and Associate Provost at MIT, where he oversees the international engagements of the Institute. He is also the founder and faculty director of the Industrial Performance Center (IPC) as well as founding member of the Industry Studies Association. During lunchtime remarks, Professor Lester will describe the evolution of the IPC, its linkage to ISA, what has been learned from the evolution of both organizations, and what we hope the next 30 years will bring for them as well as all of us who engage in industry studies.



    Conference Highlights Day 2 | June 5, 2020


    Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass

    A Session with Mary L. Gray, Author

    In the age of the gig economy and fissured work, the emergence of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have created "ghost work." Authors Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri of Microsoft Research coin the term to describe the invisible labor that supports technology platforms reliant on AI. From labeling images to classification tasks to cleaning up databases, contract workers at all skill levels are engaging in project-based, task-driven work to make unstructured data structured. Gray, an anthropologist by training, as well as several discussants, will discuss the likely trajectory for this type of work given the increasing use of AI, the implications for workers and their work conditions, and potential policy responses that could "stop making our lives wrap around work, and start making work serve our lives."


    Pricing and Innovating: A Plenary on a Crossroad for the Biotechnology Industry

    The innovation process is becoming more complex.  Innovation emerges at the interstices of multiple disciplines and draws on disparate resources and data, involving multiple stakeholders who are often distributed globally. Few industries exhibit this complexity better than the biotechnology industry. In biotechnology, manufacturers, regulators, payers, providers, researchers and patients all navigate a dynamic social, political and economic environment in order to develop and make available new, more efficacious drugs for patients. For these stakeholders to work together is one challenge. Pricing the drugs which are critical to them all is – for various reasons – another challenge. This plenary will address these challenges, and how the biotechnology industry strives to create effective innovation ecosystems that serve the needs of its multiple stakeholders.



    2020 ISA Annual Conference Call for Papers


    2020 Conference Theme: Work of the Future

    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.

    Submission Deadline: January 17, 2020







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