By Chuck C.Y. Kwok
As President of AIB, I was fortunate to preside over one of the most successful events in our organization’s history: our Annual Conference in Copenhagen in late June 2019. The conference broke several records. It had the largest number of registered conference attendees in our history, about 1400. In fact, every element of this event seemed to reach new heights: In addition to hosting our most extensive pre-conference program ever, AIB 2019 was also the most technologically connected conference with nearly 1,900 engagements on social media throughout the event and over 1,100 downloads of the AIB Events app. Many thanks are owed to Maria Tereza Leme Fleury (VP-Program 2019) for preparing the conference program and Rebecca Piekkari (VP-Program, 2020) for managing the pre-conference program. We also had the excellent support of Dana Minbaeva, the Local Committee Chair, and her team at the Copenhagen Business School who made the conference run so smoothly.
At the end of the Copenhagen conference, AIB started promoting the planned 2020 conference in Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong. As the president, I am eager to bring AIB to this major cosmopolitan city with a vibrant lifestyle, beautiful scenery, and diverse cultural influences from both the East and the West. With much preparational effort, I was able to form an alliance of seven major universities in Hong Kong, which promised to provide generous financial and logistical support for our event. Unfortunately, an extradition bill proposed by the Hong Kong government sparked large-scale demonstrations in the summer of 2019. These protests lasted for several months and became increasingly violent. Prioritizing the safety of our members, the AIB Executive Board decided in October to switch the conference site from Hong Kong to Miami. I want to thank our colleagues at Florida International University for their willingness to take on their planned hosting duties an entire year ahead of schedule. Seeing them fulfill these responsibilities so quickly and skillfully despite this short notice, I have every confidence that all of our members will greatly enjoy their time in Miami. Looking ahead, I also hope that the situation of Hong Kong will stabilize soon, so AIB will have the opportunity to experience the welcoming generosity of our local university partners there.
Another objective the Executive board successfully fulfilled during my tenure was the creation of an AIB Code of Ethics. Upon the request of Lorraine Eden, back in 2018, I chaired a task force drafting the AIB Mission-Vision-Values statement. Lorraine and I collected the input of our AIB fellows and the membership at large. The final MVV statement is the product of our collective efforts, providing some guiding principles for our organization moving forward. Appropriately, then, this statement also influenced the formation of our “Code of Ethics” and “Policy for AIB Annual Conference Selection”, both of which are available on the AIB website. I would like to thank the Ethics Policy Committee consisting of Denis Arnold (chair), Rosalie Tung, Anne Tsui and Alain Verbeke. Lorraine Eden, our Immediate Past President at that time, for providing precious support to this committee in drafting the Code of Ethics.
In the First Quarter 2019 AIB Newsletter, I made a solemn announcement. After a thorough and far-reaching investigation by the AIB Ethics Review Committee (consisting of Paul Vaaler (chair), Tatiana Kostova, and Bodo Schlegelmilch), the AIB President and the AIB Executive Board concluded that one of our members engaged in serial plagiarism amounting to an egregious violation of professional ethics. The AIB membership of the violator was subsequently revoked and his name announced in the Newsletter. Such action was intended to deter our AIB members from engaging in unethical behavior. If ethical violations are observed, AIB members can now fill out a form on the AIB website in order to report the incident directly to AIB’s Ethics Review Committee. This committeehas taken on the responsibility of reviewing such incidents and recommending appropriate actions to be taken by the board.
It is good for the members of an organization to remember its history. On one hand, we want to honor our predecessors who labored so much to lay the foundation for for AIB’s present successes. On the other hand, knowing our roots will help us better project our path into the future. I want to thank the History Committee (Jean Boddewyn (Historian), Lilac Nachum (Deputy Historian), Gary Knight, and Dan Rosplock) for their work in developing an online archive of AIB’s historical materials. Soon to be added to this site: Jean Boddewyn and James Goodnow’s article, “A Short History of the Academy of International Business”. Currently under revision following the editorial guidance of the AIB fellows, the completed article will also be mailed directly to AIB members in early 2020.
Another key goal of AIB has been to expand its membership. During my presidency, a new Membership Committee was formed. After several meetings, the committee (chaired by Luis Dau, our VP-Admin) submitted a report to the board with multiple recommendations. The board would like to proceed step by step, ensuring each of our strategic efforts builds upon the next. One ongoing project is the formation of an International Marketing Task Force, coordinating the outreach efforts of AIB’s established marketing scholars in order to encourage more of their colleagues to contribute to our annual conference and AIB journals.
Another facet of our strategy to grow membership is to promote the formation of more shared interest groups (SIGs). SIGs are subunits within our association that are focused on specific issues which are potentially of interest to a majority of AIB members. Currently, there are three SIGs: 1) Women in the Academy of International Business (WAIB); 2) Research Methods (RM); and 3) Teaching and Education (T&E). Any group consisting of fifty or more AIB members in good standing may submit a proposal to create a new Shared Interest Group. Seed funding may be available from AIB during the probationary period for a new SIG to help support its activities.
As the President, I have taken full advantage of the AIB system of three presidents. I share the administrative workload with the Immediate Past President and President-Elect, partly to ensure a smooth workflow and partly to utilize their respective expertise. Of course, as the President, I bear the final responsibility. I asked Lorraine (Immediate Past President) to oversee the Ethics Policy Committee and Ethics Review Committee and chair the AIB Publications Committee. I asked Marjorie Lyles (President-Elect) to chair the Chapters committee. Our three presidents met online nearly every month to keep track of the progress of these various efforts.
If things had proceeded as usual, Marjorie would have taken over the role of President in August of 2019. Unfortunately, earlier that year, Marjorie informed she would need to resign from her post on the Executive Board due to a health-related issue. Consequently, in accordance with the AIB bylaws, the Executive Board made the following unanimous decisions: 1) I shall continue to serve as President until January 31, 2020; 2) Jeremy Clegg, the new President-Elect, will succeed me as the President on February 1, 2020; his term will run until July 31, 2021; 3) while Jeremy Clegg is President, I shall assist him and serve as the Immediate Past President. I have promised Jeremy that I will support him wholeheartedly once he becomes President. Both Jeremy and I hope also that once the new president-elect comes on board in July 2020, we shall resume a team of three presidents, sharing both our responsibilities and our wisdom, working closely together.