Beedie hosts Inequality, Institutions and Organizations ConferenceJun 11, 2013
The Beedie School of Business brought together some of the world’s leading experts on social inequality to share research and engage in meaningful discussion on how organizations and institutions contribute to or mitigate inequality at the Inequality, Institutions and Organizations Conference.
With social inequality remaining a profound issue for both developing and developed societies, the conference sought to further explore the increasing problem of inequality growing in developed countries in conjunction with the growing power of large corporations.
The conference, held at the Segal Graduate School from June 6 to 8, was organized by Tom Lawrence, W.J. VanDusen Professor of Management at the Beedie School of Business, John Amis, Associate Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Memphis, and Kamal Munir, Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy at University of Cambridge. Delegates in attendance at the conference included leading scholars from the Universities of Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and Cornell, among others.
“The main aim of the conference was to discuss the antecedents, dynamics, and consequences of inequality, and the role of, and impact on, businesses,” said Munir. “We have established beyond doubt that growing inequality relates strongly with health and social issues, so the objective was to discuss how inequality is produced and sustained.”
Professor Jerry Davis, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, got the conference underway by delivering the keynote speech on the move towards understanding the role of institutions in inequality.
In an entertaining presentation that set the tone for the rest of the conference, Davis defined what is meant by the term “inequality”, explaining the many different research areas the topic offers within its definition, such as poverty, social mobility, global inequality, and comparative inequality.
Davis demonstrated his research, which depicted trends in inequality around the world based on economic systems prevalent within specific geographical zones, and noted the correlation between a country’s ability to nurture large corporations and that country’s social inequality. He cited General Motors as a specific example of a formerly large organization that had downsized in accordance with the economic climate, at the same time as inequality was rising in the US.
“If you look around the world, the ability to grow a really big company is not widely distributed, and more suited to some regions than others,” said Davis. “Building equality leads to higher levels of trust, which leads to being able to build large companies.”
Following Davis’ keynote presentation, the conference split into smaller streams in order to facilitate high quality discussion and feedback for participants presenting papers, so as to allow authors to engage in meaningful discussion and further develop ideas presented in their research. After two days of intense discussion, an agenda was drawn up to motivate much-needed research on these issues.
For more information on the Inequality, Institutions and Organizations Conference, visit http://inequalityinstitutionsorganizations.wordpress.com/
To view photos of the event, visit the Beedie School of Business Flickr page.