After the Conference in Pisa

Which was the challenge that led us to the Sinergie Sima 2020 conference, broadcasted online from the University of Pisa?

The challenge was to gather the community of Italian management scholars and resuming activities after the summer holidays, offering scientific and cultural stimuli that, due to the lockdown and the demanding recovery, had been missing for many months.

The conference program initially designed, together with the two local universities, the University of Pisa and the Scuola Sant’Anna, was already entirely geared to the challenges arising from the environmental context. In fact, the conference aimed at developing critical reflections on the possible contributions of companies and universities in building a better society. Thus, the issues addressed during the plenary and parallel sessions were those of sustainability and the construction of the common good, people’s working conditions, responsibility in riding a business and in scientific activity, the circulation of knowledge and creation of value, good and bad managerial practices. The sessions, it must be noted, have received excellent results in terms of attendance. A total of 282 delegates registered for the conference, each connected from their own premises. There were exponents from 68 different universities, mostly Italians.

We were able to set up the completely online formula thanks to the collaboration of Mediaeventi team of the University of Pisa. This formula made it possible to obtain a timely survey of the participation data: the plenaries broadcasted in streaming had a total of almost 1,300 views while in the parallel sessions, actively participated by authors and discussants, an average of 23 people attended on the first day and 26 participants on the second day. These are figures that confirm the success of the event in terms of the audience reached. On the other hand, the number of works presented in the parallel sessions was considerable: 112 extended abstracts, 27 full papers, 5 case studies and 9 papers discussed during the paper development workshop.

In addition, 136 videos with excellent multimedia coverage of the papers and extended abstracts were pre-recorded and uploaded to the Sinergie website to prepare the discussions in the parallels and enrich the content available after the conference.

Two business panels were organized, with companies such as Conad, KME, Acque Spa, Pharmanutra and others, all chosen on the basis of their commitment to responsible management of their business.

For the first time, the Sinergie Sima annual conference dedicated specific attention, in the construction of the program, to the theme of gender balance. With pleasure we can confirm that the presence of women and men both among the keynote speakers and among the various chairs and panellists has been balanced, demonstrating that the academy represents a fertile ground for the reduction of social inequities.

Of course, we would have liked much more to be able to carry out our conference live and relive the beauty of rituals and also some hassle of face-to-face conferences.

However, we have now realized that the online formula presents potentialities also for the future, perhaps within hybrid formulas, to allow wider dissemination of the works of our community, even outside the academic network. Therefore, we look forward to the 2021 conference in Palermo with enthusiasm.

All this could not have been achieved without the active and proactive contribution of colleagues from the University of Pisa, first of all, Elisa Giuliani and Daniele Dalli, of the Scuola Sant’Anna, in the persons of Marco Frey and Andrea Piccaluga, members of the SIMA board of directors, colleagues involved last-minute as session coordinators, the Chairs, the Sinergie team (Laura Ciarmela, Ada Rossi, Annalisa Andriolo, Angelo Bonfanti and Nicola Cobelli), Adele Ferragamo from the SIMA secretariat and, last but not least, optimism and the “invisible whip” of our SIMA President, Sandro Castaldo. I bring with me the satisfaction of a result achieved and at the same time of a harmonious process that led us together to win the challenge. And that will take us forward into the future. There is a need for our contribution to society.

Marta Ugolini

Editor in chief Sinergie Italian Journal of Management