Report from the British Academy of Management’s Annual Conference 2023

11 October 2023

Jay McCloskey (University of Sussex Business School) and Charis Nogossek (University of Cambridge) are members of the Digit Doctoral Network. They report on a lively and stimulating conference that included a Professional Development Workshop organised by Digit.

The British Academy of Management (BAM) held its 2023 Annual Conference at the University of Sussex’s vibrant Business School on 5 and 6 September.

Following an enriching Doctoral Symposium, which was held in collaboration with Digit, the BAM conference convened over 1,070 delegates (both online and in person) from over 50 countries.

The opening plenary included a warm welcome from Prof. Steven McGuire, Dean of the University of Sussex Business School. Prof. Katy Mason, President of BAM, expounded on the impressive scope and reach of this year’s conference, followed by Prof. Emma Parry, Chair of BAM, who emphasised a sustained commitment to research and scholarship, as well as new development and grant programmes. More than 900 papers were presented across 300+ events, including keynote speeches, paper presentations, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities.

Digit Professional Development Workshop

Digit convened a lively ‘Professional Development Workshop’ (PDW), organised and co-chaired by Digit Associate Fellow Prof. Greg Bamber (University of Monash) and Digit Co-Director Prof. Jacqueline O’Reilly, titled ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Futures of Work’.

From left to right: Prof. Dimitra Petrakaki; Prof. Jacqueline O’Reilly; Dr. Zahira Jaser; Dr. Danat Valizade; Hayfa Mohdzaini; Prof. Greg J. Bamber

From left to right: Prof. Dimitra Petrakaki; Prof. Jacqueline O’Reilly; Dr. Zahira Jaser; Dr. Danat Valizade; Hayfa Mohdzaini; Prof. Greg J. Bamber

In a packed session, Dr. Zahira Jaser (University of Sussex) delivered a presentation prepared with Digit Co-Investigator Prof. Dimitra Petrakaki (University of Sussex) on ‘How AI is used to support or automate Human Resources processes’. This looked at automated video interviews and how we need to understand job candidates’ experiences of AI interviews to open the “black box” and head towards a “glass box”.

Dr. Zahira Jaser presents their research

Dr. Zahira Jaser presents her research

Digit Co-Investigator Dr. Danat Valizade’s (University of Leeds) then presented findings from Digit’s Employers’ Digital Practices at Work Survey, which gathered data from 2,000 UK employers about digital transformation at work. Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser in Data, Technology and AI at the Chartered Institute of Management (CIPD), then reflected on the talks. Hayfa highlighted CIPD’s similar findings: one-third of companies are investing in digitalisation at work.

Dr. Danat Valizade presents findings from Digit's Employers' Digital Practices at Work Survey

Dr. Danat Valizade presents findings from Digit’s Employers’ Digital Practices at Work Survey

Other talks resonated with Digit research themes

Tuesday’s keynote was chaired by Prof. Vasiliki Bamiatzi and included talks by Prof. David Teece (Graduate School at the University of Berkely California) on ‘How to revitalise Britain through dynamic capabilities’ and Prof. Richard Whittington (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford) on ‘Building a sustainable future: a practice view of undynamic practices and national incapabilities’. Together, they addressed the theme of disruptive sustainability in a theoretically rich and policy relevant way. The session closed with an awards ceremony as well as an induction of new BAM fellows.

Other presentations resonated with Digit research themes. Dr. Davit Marikyan presented his recent meta-analysis on digital acceptance. Davit discussed how, although the majority of research in this area has been conducted by educational scholars, it seems the primary determinants of technology acceptance, across fields, hinge on its anticipated usefulness and potential to enhance performance. In a related study, doctoral candidate Zeng U delved into the challenging area of AI in healthcare, looking at the reasons behind the staggering failure rate of AI projects in healthcare — a shocking 85% of initiatives intended to integrate AI fall short of their goals.

Wednesday’s Keynote panel on ‘Leadership for Sustainability’ was chaired by Digit Associate Fellow Dr. Zahira Jaser (University of Sussex) and featured insightful presentations and engaging dialogue from industry giants Prof. Metter Morsing (Head of PRME Principles of Responsible Management Education, UN Global Compact), Robin Sundaram (Community Regeneration Lead for Nestlé UK) and Sowmya Parthasarathy (Director, Integrate Planning, Arup).

Next BAM Conference

The BAM Conference 2024 will be hosted by Nottingham Trent University Business School, where the sub-theme on ‘digital transformation’ will be particularly relevant for the Digit community.

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