The Academy of Management’s Journey into a Digital Future
Date: July 9, 2020
Client: The Academy of Management (AOM) Insights
Categories: REF 2021
AOM, established in 1936, wanted to adapt to the rapid digitalization the twenty-first century had brought on.
It had a treasure trove of publications, collected over a century, that it wanted to share in a digital format.
The usefulness of management research was being debated in academic discourse.
Impact Science partnered with AOM to build AOM Insights, a platform featuring short summaries of select academic papers that provide “actionable evidence” for management practitioners.
Impact Science conceptualized and delivered accompanying infographics and video summaries.
AOM had a treasure trove of publications, collected over a century, that it wanted to share in a digital format.
AOM is able to get more content in various formats, like infographics and videos, from a single research article.
In the late nineteenth century, the second industrial revolution1 necessitated widespread changes in management and organizational practices. People began to observe these practices and learn from mistakes to develop better techniques and systems.
Theorists would eventually emerge, laying the foundation for what we today call management.2 Soon enough, management as a discipline burgeoned.3,4
By 1936, several universities across the United States had started teaching management. In November that year, a few teachers of management met at the Quadrangle Club in Chicago. From this meeting the Academy of Management (AOM) was born, with the aim to advance research in the field of management.5
Almost a hundred years later, although the academic landscape has altered radically, AOM stands tall with over 20,000 members from over 120 countries, and it continues to grow.6
AOM adapted to the times as they changed and remained a steadfast support to the management community as a space in which scholars and practitioners from across the globe could interact and exchange ideas. By the time the twenty-first century arrived, AOM had become one of the largest publishers in the field.
The twenty-first century brought two major challenges. The world was quickly going digital, and thousands of people and their publications were flooding the internet. At the same time, the debate on the research–practice gap raged on.7,8 What could AOM do to adapt?
As AOM planned its future in the digital world, Impact Science had the opportunity to grow with them, acting as advisors and providing more unique content creation solutions.
John Pescatore, Managing Director of Publications and Content at AOM, came up with a solution that materialized in 2017, AOM Insights.
AOM Insights9 comprises short summaries of select academic papers that provide "actionable evidence" for management practitioners. These text summaries are accompanied by infographics and video summaries.
"I’ll tell you a funny little story," John says in conversation with Harini Calamur, Head, Impact Science, at the SSK virtual conference in May 2020.
"When I first thought about Insights, I went to my COO and presented it to her. I looked at her and put down five summaries that the Harvard Business Review had done, all from AOM authors. Fast forward two months later, and it was the easiest argument I have ever had to make. As a result, AOM Insights was created."
Animated video summaries
In addition, Impact Science helped promote AOM Insights posts on social media by creating little postcards of the summaries to push research at a glance.
Impact Science also fashioned cutouts of the infographics they had produced to help cultivate curiosity for Insights content on social media. This was a unique solution based on an idea that AOM had earlier implemented with their text summaries, in which they crafted first paragraphs that doubled-up as standalone social media posts.
AOM is seeing their viewership grow. Their social and digital interactivity has also increased.
Speaking of the success of Insights even in this nascent stage of its development, John Pescatore says:
"Before we had one single piece of content, a journal article that got promoted through social media once. Now we have a journal article that gets promoted to social media and an infographic that is aligned with that article or research brief that’s aligned with that article. There’s 300% more content from one single article that we can then use to disseminate not only to our members, but now to our wider audiences."
"A lot of our authors, whether junior or older scholars, who are adept at social media take those pieces that we create and push them out through their own channels as well."
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