Conference Recap

From health care technology and autonomous vehicles to the evolution of “Music City” and a celebration of award-winning papers, there was something for everyone at the Industry Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference held May 30 – June 1, 2019 in Nashville, TN, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

Conference attendees presented their own work and joined discussions in sessions on Electric Vehicles and Shared Mobility Services; Innovation and Creativity in Healthcare; The Dynamics of Entrepreneurial Spinoffs; STEM Labor Markets, Skill Development, and Firm Strategy; The Evolution of Agricultural Supply Networks; Cultural Development in Cities; How Uncertainty Shapes Performance in the Energy Industry; and the Innovation Dynamics of Technology Clusters (among many others). 

For the full conference program, click here.  

Pre-Conference Off-Site Learning Excursion

Our pre-conference attendees started their time with us at the Music City Excursion where they met music community leaders, learned how Nashville has expanded beyond its (still strong) roots in country music to embrace and incorporate different musical genres, and visited music sites such as the historic recording studio The Music Mill that now houses the Nashville Songwriters Association International.


Professional Development Workshop

Also held on the pre-conference day was ISA’s Professional Development Workshop (PDW) for early career scholars. This half-day workshop partnered early and senior scholars to discuss research, publishing, and career growth. The PDW had 24 attendees and 5 presenters. Some of the senior scholars presenting attended one of ISA’s PDWs earlier in their career and found it to be tremendously helpful. The PDW is also a fantastic opportunity for networking among the young scholars just beginning their industry studies research career. 


Two all-conference receptions were a hit this year with our attendees looking for chances to see old friends and expand their research network. Our Welcome Reception was a relaxing evening along the Delta River of the Gaylord Opryland and for the first time, we welcomed the families of our conference attendees. Our Annual Conference Reception was held under the amazing greenery and lights of the Crystal Gazebo where our attendees discussed industry studies research while delighting in campfire desserts – actually making their own s’mores! 


Insights into Local Industries: The ISA Plenary Sessions

On Day One, ISA kicked things off with a plenary session on the “Cultural Evolution of ‘Music City’: How Performers, Places, Songs, and Activists Shape Nashville’s Music Scene”.  The session featured Erika Wollam Nichols, COO of Bluebird Café (center of Nashville’s strong songwriters’ community); Eric Holt, founder of LoveNoise (a collaborative that promotes R&B and soul music performances); and Manuel Delgado,a third-generation luthier making guitars for Nashville music stars and promoting Hispanic musical styles in the Nashville schools).  Joining the panel were Dan Cornfield from Vanderbilt, editor-in-chief of Work and Occupations and author of a recent book on Nashville’s musician activists, and local news anchor Demetria Kalodimos.  

Day Two welcomed a robust discussion on Nashville as a hub for innovation in the for-profit healthcare sector.  The session featured Chip Blaufuss, John A. Graves, and Michele Molden.  Graves, an Associate Professor in the Departments of Health Policy and Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, moderated the panel, which took up a range of topics from innovations in payment models and delivery systems to new venues for care delivery.  Blaufuss serves as Vice President of HCA Healthcare’s Strategy & Innovation Group.  HCA, now the largest, for-profit healthcare provider in the country, was founded and is headquartered in Nashville, implying that the region’s economic vitality rests in no small way on policy decisions around sectoral reform.  He also had strong views on the potential impact of what some presidential candidates have labeled “Medicare for All,” prompting a healthy discussion of the feasibility of single-payer and single-provider models more broadly.  Molden, who has spent nearly four decades as a healthcare consultant, presently serves as Vice President at Advisory Board, now part of Optum Health.  She seemed more open to single payer approaches, as did a number of our members and conference attendees.  However, Graves cautioned all parties to move slowly on this front.  While he sees a role for strong government involvement in healthcare delivery, he noted that Medicare should probably not serve as our primary exemplar.  The panel ended with a discussion of Nashville’s vibrant healthcare ecosystem.

The Sessions: Core of the Conference

The 2019 conference included 40 panel sessions organized in eight research streams:

Energy, Power, & Sustainability
Globalization: Management & Policy Implications
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Technology Management
Labor Markets, Organizations, & Employment Relations
Supply Networks, Operations and Engineering Management
General Industry Studies



With a room full of enthusiastic attendees, we honored our award winners at our Annual Awards Luncheon. Later, at the Award Panel Session, eight authors gave the “back story” of their award-winning article, describing what prompted the original research question, how they got access to the industry data, what surprises they encountered along the way (from unexpected opportunities to discouraging setbacks), and how their engagement in the industry context helped to generate insights for both theory and practice.  We are proud to announce all winners and runners-up for all of ISA’s awards.  

The 2019 Conference Award Winners

Best Conference Paper in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award

Christophe Combemale (Carnegie Melon University)
Kate S. Whitefoot (Carnegie Melon University)
Laurence Ales (Carnegie Melon University)
Erica R.H. Fuchs (Carnegie Melon University)
Not all Technological Change is Equal: Disentangling Labor Demand Effects of Automation and Parts Consolidation

Kyle Albert (Harvard University)
Roman V. Galperin (Johns Hopkins University)
Aleksandra Kacperczyk (London Business School)
Occupational licensure and entrepreneurs: The case of tax preparers in the U.S.

Dissertation Award

Callen Anthony (New York University, Stern)
Three Essays on the Relationship between Technological Tools and Knowledge Work
Doctoral Dissertation, Boston College
Nominated by Mary Tripsas

Alexandrea Ravenelle(Mercy College)
The New Entrepreneur: The Lived Experience of Sharing Economy Workers
Doctoral Dissertation, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Nominated by Barbara Katz Rothman

Emerging Scholar in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award

Arvind Karunakaran (McGill University)
Front-line Professionals in the Wake of Increased Digital Scrutiny: Examining the Paradox of Public Accountability

Giarratani Rising Star Award

Johan S.G. Chu (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)
Sung-Chul Noh (Saitama University) 
Weapons of Mass Attention Direction: Competitive Dynamics of the Korean Popular Music Industry

Arvind Karunakaran (McGill University)
Front-line Professionals in the Wake of Increased Digital Scrutiny: Examining the Paradox of Public Accountability

Ralph Gomory Best Industry Studies Paper Award

Lite J. Nartey (University of South Carolina)
Witold J. Henisz (University of Pennsylvania)
Sinziana Dorobantu (New York University)
Status Climbing vs Bridging - Multinational Stakeholder Engagement Strategies - Strategy Science

Douglas P. Hannah (University of Texas at Austin)
Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (Stanford University)
How firms navigate cooperation and competition in nascent ecosystems - Strategic Management Journal

Carri W. Chan (Columbia University)
Wenqi Hu (Columbia University)
José R. Zubizarreta (Columbia University)
Gabriel J. Escobar (Kaiser Permanente)
An Examination of Early Transfers to the ICU Based on a Physiologic Risk Score - Manufacturing and Service Operations Management


Industry Studies Association is extremely grateful for the support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, ILR School at Cornell University, the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation, and the Carson College of Business at Washington State University and to the many ISA members for their support and assistance and the dedicated work of our Executive Director, Stephanie Rink.