2021 Industry Studies Association
Annual Conference

June 2-4, 2021

Join us virtually for the 2021 ISA Annual Conference! 

Click Here to See the Program

The past year brought the world COVID-19, and in the U.S., widespread unrest and a consequential election. Nearly all industries experienced some form of upheaval. There were demand spikes (e.g., in certain consumer goods), demand freefalls (e.g., in restaurants and tourism) as well as supply shocks, for example in medical supplies and more recently the automotive industry. The industry context dictated the effect of the events of the past year on companies, customers, and workers. All the while, the nature of work changed, and the impacts to employees were highly uneven. Weaknesses were revealed and creative innovations and adaptations emerged. All of this upheaval put public policy in a spotlight.

Collectively, these events demonstrated the value of the research conducted through an Industry Studies lens. The Industry Studies Association’s 2021 two-day virtual conference (June 3 and 4)  will shed light on and discuss findings and observations across industries through papers in multiple research tracks including labor, globalization, technology, innovation, and operations as well as several plenary sessions. This year’s plenaries include a view on the last year with researchers from  MIT’s Work of the Future Initiative, an exploration into drug shortages, and two sessions featuring authors of recent best-selling books: Innovation in Real Places  by Dan Breznitz focusing on industrial policy, and Unapologetically Ambitious, by Shellye Archambeau, focusing on challenges and opportunities in the technology industry as well as strategies for thriving professionally in it.

The conference will also host parallel paper and panel sessions, and a separate professional development workshop (PDW) for students and junior faculty.  We’ll announce and celebrate this year’s ISA award winners, from best dissertation to best published Industry Studies paper.  ISA’s leadership will also tell you about exciting initiatives launched in the past year (i.e., two new webinar series) and plans for the 2022 conference (in-person, we promise…☺) and more.  Come join the conversation -- meet (or greet again) like-minded colleagues in ISA’s great network of researchers and practitioners -- contribute to the growth of industry studies research -- and help us build innovative ideas and insightful findings that can improve practice. Join us in June!

Registration is now open!

Register today for the 2021 ISA Annual Conference.

ISA Members: $200
Non-Members: $310
ISA Student Members: $100
Student Non-Members: $155 

Register Here

2021 Theme: Work of the Future Redux: Technology, Innovation, Policy

The Industry Studies Association (ISA) cordially invites submissions of individual paper abstracts and proposals of panels for the 2021 ISA Annual Conference. The conference will be held June 2–4, 2021 in person (if permitted) at the Samberg Conference Center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, with virtual participation also available for key sessions. A determination about going fully virtual will be made in early 2021.

Industry studies research is grounded in observations of firms and workplaces and in a deep understanding of the markets, institutions, and technologies that shape the competitive environment. It draws on a wide range of academic disciplines and fields including economics, history, sociology, and other social sciences; management; marketing; policy analysis; operations research; engineering; labor markets and employment relations; and other related research and policy areas.

The conference welcomes research from all disciplines that incorporates this approach. ISA is especially interested in organized panels and papers that are unique in their emphasis on observation and insight into a particular industry or that consider how knowledge gained in studying one industry can provide insights into other industries.

Topics of interest relevant to this theme include but are not limited to:
  • How are industries being restructured because of the pandemic? 
  • What are the implications of remote work within jobs, occupations and industries? What are the socio-economic and racial dimensions of these changes?  
  • How are firms and industries rethinking supply chain resiliency in the face of the COVID crisis? 
  • How has the COVID crisis changed the organization of work? Is there evidence of an acceleration of automation? 
  • What are characteristics of the work of the future? How do these characteristics manifest similarly or differently across industries?
  • How might work be redesigned to leverage the strengths and weakness of recent technological innovations? How do industries, organizations and workers revise systems and practices to integrate AI, machine learning and other innovations effectively?
  • What industrial policies and strategies are facilitating or undermining the work of the future? Additionally, in what ways does the flexibility (or inflexibility) of a local labor market influence a region’s ability to embrace the work of the future?
  • How does the changing nature of work influence other intra- and inter-industry dynamics?
  • Are some industries immune to the changing nature of work? Will the future be delayed for some, and why?

While the ISA welcomes papers and panels related to the conference theme, a tie to theme is not mandatory. Any papers or panels that build upon the ISA’s foundational interest in firms and industries are welcome.

Call for Papers | Click Here


Conference Registration

Conference Awards

Conference Program

Professional Development Workshop (PDW)

Call for Papers | Paper and Panel Submissions 

Research Streams

Advertise or Sponsor

Past Conferences