Call for Papers: 2019 Industry Studies Conference

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Call for Papers: 2019 Industry Studies Conference

May 30 - June 1, 2019 in Nashville, TN, USA

Submission Deadline: January 11, 2019

The Industry Studies Association (ISA) cordially invites submissions of individual papers and panels of papers for the 2019 Industry Studies Conference to be held May 30th-June

1st, 2019 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. 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.

2019 Theme:
Walking the Tightrope to Economic Resilience: Balancing Specialization and Diversification

Just as firms and individuals must balance the returns to specialization with the risk mitigation benefits of diversification, so, too, must regions. Among the many ways that regions  can  thrive  economically  is  by  developing  depth  in  a  single  sector. Such specialization brings with it scale economies as well as the means to self-sustain the supportive clusters and social networks that allow for economies of scope, rich and redundant supply chains, accelerated learning-by-doing, and a snowballing and cross- fertilization  of  sector-specific  knowhow  and  knowledge-sharing. At  the  same  time,

industrial and urban history are rife with examples of withering “rust belt” cities reliant on a very narrow portfolio of industries or perhaps even a single sector as a tax base and as a source of employment.

Key to any region’s long-term economic and social prosperity is the ability of its firms, workers, and policymakers to leverage the benefits of specialization while keeping the doors  open  to  geographically  novel  sectors  and  the  opportunities  they  bring  with them. Few regions have managed to thread this needle as carefully as the Nashville Metropolitan Area, site of this year’s annual conference.

Nashville is best known as “Music City”, the cradle of country music and home to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In a broadening of its musical niche, Nashville is now acknowledged as the best place to learn the craft of songwriting, no matter your musical genre.  Plus it is increasingly home to genre-diversifying artist-activists, who work to create new options for musicians in an industry whose old rules are gone for good.

Besides being the state capital, Nashville’s concentration of higher education institutions long ago earned it the name of “Athens of the South.”  The region has thrived as a manufacturing center ever since becoming the home of the first wave of foreign investment in the U.S. automotive industry.  Nashville also hosts a concentration of cutting-edge healthcare institutions and medical device developers. The metro area’s ability to support industries both old and new makes it one of the strongest economies in the U.S.; one recent survey ranked it 4th, behind Austin, Seattle, and Silicon Valley.

Topics of interest relevant to this theme include but are not limited to:

  • What sorts of industrial policies and strategies facilitate a region’s ability to adapt?
  • In what ways does specialization undermine a region’s ability to diversify?
  • What challenges does a region’s longstanding reputation pose for its ability to brand itself more broadly?
  • How do seemingly disparate sectors support one another’s ability to thrive?
  • How does the proximity of policymakers shape industrial evolution?
  • What attracts new firms to a region? What causes incumbents to stay and grow?
  • How do firms leverage existing networks in one sector to form new networks in another? What role does the mobility of individuals across firms play?
  • In what ways does the flexibility (or inflexibility) of a local labor market influence a region’s ability to diversify even while maintaining specialization?

The Submission Process

Researchers may submit abstracts of up to 250 words for single papers or groups of 3-5 abstracts for organized panels. The Program Committee will assign papers accepted as individual submissions to panel sessions. Panel proposals should identify a common 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, whether from industry, government, or other organizations, as presenters or discussants are especially welcome. Ties between paper and panel proposals to the 2019 theme described above are not mandatory, but should be highlighted if present.

The deadline for paper and panel submissions is January 11, 2019. Abstracts should be submitted through the Industry Studies Conference 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, which is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. More information on these competitions can be found on the conference website.

Submissions may 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 may shift papers and panels from the general industry studies stream to other streams where appropriate.

Research streams:

  • Energy, Power, & Sustainability (Coordinator: Adam Fremeth, Ivey Business School, U. of Western Ontario; [email protected])
  • Healthcare (Coordinator: Tonya Boone, Mason Business School, William & Mary; [email protected])
  • Globalization: Management & Policy Implications (Coordinator: Hiram Samel, MIT Sloan School, Global Economics and Management, [email protected])
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Coordinator: Andrew Reamer, Institute  of  PublicPolicy, George Washington U., [email protected])
  • Technology   Management   (Coordinator:   Raja   Roy,   New   Jersey   Institute   ofTechnology, [email protected])
  • Labor Markets, Organizations, & Employment Relations (Coordinator: Ariel Avgar, ILR School, Cornell; [email protected])
  • Supply  Networks,  Operations  and  Engineering  Management  (Coordinator:  Benn Lawson, University of Cambridge; [email protected])
  • General  Industry  Studies  (Coordinators:  Adam  Seth  Litwin,  and  Liz  Reynolds, [email protected], [email protected])

The conference is open to all researchers. A discounted conference registration fee is available to members of the Industry Studies Association (to become a member, please visit

Please feel free to contact the Conference Program Leadership below with related questions.


United States
Friday, January 11, 2019 - 16:00