Last Friday HBS held its 2011 strategy conference. The conference spanned two half-days and featured MIT’s Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management (TIES) group. This conference has been an annual event hosted by the HBS strategy unit for over a decade. Three years ago, the format shifted from the usual call-for-papers-attempt-to-find-common-themes approach to teaming with a single school and highlighting the research being done there. Some complain that this makes the conferences too narrow. Personally, I like it because seeing a bunch of folks from a particular school all presenting their work over the course of a day actually gives one a good sense of the strategy research ethos at that institution. (the Rotman strategy group was featured last year.)
There were nine papers presented in three sessions plus two panels. Of the papers presented, 7 were empirical pieces, 1 was a formal theory piece and 1 was a thought piece. Of the empirical papers, almost half incorporated some method aimed at causal identification. My sense is that such identification strategies will soon become a fairly standard requirement for publication in a top management journal (“soon” being measured in academic time, of course).
Seeing the aggregate quantity of research horsepower scattered about between HBS and MIT was impressive. I’d say Rotman ranks right up there, but those Boston folks enjoy enviable levels of intellectual density and support resources.