Sunday in Boston at the 79th AOM Annual Meeting was jam-packed with solution-oriented sessions, intense conversations about the issues most weighing on the minds of today’s business leaders and the kind of fun that leads to creativity and innovation. Here’s a sampling of the discussions we heard today.

“Women need to develop a better relationship with power”

One of the quotes we heard most around the annual meeting today came from Sue Ashford. Wendy Smith (@profwendysmith) summarized Sue’s thoughts for us, “women need to develop a better relationship with power…We need you in the room where it happens. We have to give up that everyone will like us all the time.”

Many women face bias in teaching, hiring and research. How can we turn the tide of this bias? Aldona Kapacinskaite (@aldonakap) noted that we need to support each other, get comfortable with power and build institutions that work. Samantha (@AlmaAfroLatina) added a quote she heard from Stefanie Johnson, “Little girls must grow up knowing they can be powerful women.”

Addressing gender inequality

The theme for this year’s annual meeting is “Understanding the Inclusive Organization,” and one of the areas AOM wanted to dig into with its online followers was gender equality. AOM asked, “What is the best tool for addressing gender inequalities in the academic space?” While more than 40% of Twitter followers selected inclusive policies, 30% chose discussion, and Facebook users confirmed the need for inclusive policies with 58%.

Correlation between power structures and workplace sexual misconduct

AOM also asked its social followers, “In the #MeToo era, what do we need to know more about to eradicate workplace sexual misconduct?” More than half of respondents (55%), selected the need to know more about power structures. Anne O’Leary-Kelly sparked an important conversation on this topic today.

Dr. Veronica Caridad Cruz Rabelo (@VeroRabeloPhD), who attended O’Leary-Kelly’s session, noted that factors that exacerbate sexual harassment include: accountability systems, ability to mandate action, training capability, male-dominated climate, lack of civility/respect and concentration of power. While it’s important to know the factors that lead to sexual harassment in the workplace, how can we prevent it from happening in the first place? Shannon Rawski (@ShannonRawski), gave at least three actions:

  • Ban job interviews in hotel rooms
  • Include supervisor info in profiles to facilitate reporting of bad behavior
  • Incorporate bystander intervention training

All you need is love

While it is a fine line that organizations need to walk, Dr. Alex Hope (@DrSustainable) notes that love is useful in organizations. Dr. Jay Barney shared a quote in his session that took that idea further – “Pretty sure that love is not all you need. But it helps when firms face an uncertain strategic future.” We also heard @thecharacterchallenge layer on with this point, “…we need accountability, justice and the remaining virtuous character dimensions to support love.” Another valuable quote we heard from this session was about the idea that to enable organizational change there needs to be “the belief that people in the organization will put other’s interests above their own.”

AOM members will be tackling more topics vital to business managers and leaders again tomorrow. We encourage you to come back each day for highlights from the AOM annual meeting. And, if you want to join us on social media, search for #AOM2019.

PHOTO: AOM’s Board of Governors at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Left to right, 2019-2020 Incoming Vice President-Elect & Program Chair-Elect Amy Hillman, Vice President-Elect & Program Chair-Elect Herman Aguinis, Vice President & Program Chair Quinetta M. Roberson, President-Elect & Coordinator of Professional Divisions Jacqueline A-M. Coyle-Shapiro, President Carol T. Kulik, and Past President Mary Ann Glynn.