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LAEMOS 2018 Open Letter - 16 April 2018
UPDATE 19 JULY 2018:

Delegates and friends of LAEMOS 2018 are drafting a response to the first formal response to this intervention, sent by email to all LAEMOS 2018 delegates and re-posted at the bottom of this page. Our reply will be posted here shortly.

For further information please contact delegatesLAEMOS2018 at gmail dot com.


Translations / Traducciones / Traduções

En español:

Em Português:


To the LAEMOS Organising Committee and EGOS Board,

First of all we wish to thank you for the incredible amount of work that you have put into sustaining and organizing LAEMOS that provides an important space for Latin American and European scholars to exchange ideas, learn from each other and to centre Southern Cone academia and organizing practices. This has been a valuable space since its founding in 2006 and we write this open letter with the aim of supporting and continuing this effort.

In this letter, we aim to summarize and communicate the outcome of informal discussions about LAEMOS held amongst a group of LAEMOS 2018 conference delegates and a few members of the organising committees (2 EGOS team and 1 host team). The discussions were in response to participants’ concerns about the direction LAEMOS is taking in terms of its values, governance and priorities.

Informal conversations with participants during the meeting highlighted the following themes and issues:

1. Continual centring of the Global North through North American and European dominance amongst Latin American scholarly communities.

LAEMOS was founded in 2006 as an innovative initiative that was meant to provide a bridge between Latin American scholars and European scholarship within Organization Studies and beyond. Through this, knowledge exchange and Euro and US-centric theorising would be challenged and cross-fertilised with Latin American centred philosophy, thought, research and practice. However, several practices at this year’s conference have appeared to undermine these principles.
For example:

1.1 Both keynote speakers in LAEMOS 2018 were from elite universities in the Global North and made no explicit effort to connect their work to Latin American issues and research priorities.
1.2 No formal attempt appeared to have been made nor were resources put in place to translate English presentations (keynotes and papers) into Spanish and Portuguese.
1.3 The Eduardo Ibarra-Colado prize, awarded for the first time at the conference in Cuba (initiated by David Arellano, CIDE MX) and subsequently awarded at the Chilean LAEMOS, was not continued in LAEMOS 2018.
1.4 The attendance of Argentinian researchers and students was dramatically low and no attempt of engaging with Argentinian reality at large was observed.
1.5 Regular classes for students at the university hosting LAEMOS 2018 were cancelled to attend to Global North calendars.

2. Governance structure and transparency.

There appeared to be little governance structure and transparency around decision-making, such as:

2.1 Organising committee. It is unclear for delegates how the organising committee (both EGOS and host organisation components) is formed, what the terms of the roles are (including length of tenure), and why it is not representative of more members of the scholarly community (such as non-white, black and people of colour scholars, women, PhD students, early and mid career scholars) and critical perspectives at large.
2.2 A permanent Latin American panel of rotating membership. A previous agreement that there would be a permanent Latin American panel established to ensure consistency and continuity from year to year (edition to edition), and to incorporate learning from previous conferences, never materialised. This year in particular, there was no communication channel established between the host organisation committee members and Latin American scholars beyond the host organisation to offer additional or alternative perspectives into the local higher education landscape.
2.3 Selection of keynotes. It is unclear how the keynote speakers were selected, and why when two Global North scholars were selected to present in English, there was no effective opposition from within the organising committee problematising and challenging this decision even though this crucial issue has been diligently addressed by constituents of this initiative since the foundation of LAEMOS. This points to a governance issue wherein the interests of only a single group of stakeholders are being served.
2.4 Resource allocation. If LAEMOS is about creating genuine knowledge exchange, then we would expect that issues around translation are prioritised (see #3) and resources allocated accordingly.
2.5 Proposal and selection process of the host university. It appears EGOS rules stipulate local universities make a bid to host the conference, however IAE suggested that they were approached by EGOS. Other organizers have stated that EGOS only received one bid to host the conference, so the process was not competitive. While we respect our colleagues working at the IAE and recognise its strong international reputation, we are also aware that the institution is a private, religious, fee-based institution. As such, for the conference to be hosted by a country that prides itself on its excellent free public higher education institutions, we question the inclusivity and level of dialogue, openness and transparency of the bidding and decision-making processes that led to this outcome.
2.6 Stream organisation. There was little clarity about the number of minimum papers per stream and the decisions made in this regard once papers had been selected, such as the merging of streams with fewer numbers of papers. Some streams were merged although they had met the minimum, and others ran with fewer than the minimum. Although this was not an issue raised by the participants present at the meeting, the organisers voluntarily commented upon it as an area for improvement.

3. Priorities.
Conference priorities, in terms of programming and financial support, did not seem to value Latin American research and practice over Eurocentric and American-centred research.

3.1 Organising principles. There was an original constitution developed collaboratively with founding members in 2006 and more boldly in 2008 that outlined the priority of centring Latin American scholarship and critical perspectives at large at the conference. This document appears to have been lost over time leaving the subsequent organising committees with little consistency of purpose despite the efforts undertaken by individual organizers to keep this memory active and legitimate. This is not to say that the organising committee has lacked a purpose or mission; in fact, the mission has explicitly changed from being a conference that was more critically-focused to one that was broadened (prior to Cuba conference) in order to attract more European scholars. For example, this is reflected in the conference theme shifting from resistance, as was represented in previous years (with consistent success), to resilience.
3.2 Transparency of costing and respectful engagement with local economy. It is strange that EGOS requires the cost of administration for the conference to be paid by the host organisation through an arrangement whereby LAEMOS funds one month’s salary of an EGOS employee on a precarious contract. It does not seem appropriate that such a regularly-occurring package of work is not offered on permanent basis and fully funded by EGOS. We also identified missed opportunities to engage and support government, local businesses, organisations and communities to provide, for example, translation, catering, childcare, conference materials. Where previous host committees have drawn on and integrated local support, there appears to be no guiding principles for host organizers to follow on this accord.
3.3 Centring Latin American people. There seems to be little effort made to encourage attendees from Latin American and Latin American scholars working in Europe, with European colleagues predominating, and Latin American /Global South visibly underrepresented. English as the primary and dominant language of the conference creates a high barrier to participation for Spanish and Portuguese speaking colleagues. Further, when colleagues come to Europe, they are expected to present in English, yet a conference that is in Latin America should have as a starting point that the languages more widely spoken are Spanish and Portuguese. Regarding cost, the conference price point plus lunch and gala dinner is substantial, with a fee for Latin American colleagues which does not take into account the dramatic inequity in institutional resource bases, currency and wage differentials across continents. For example, the Latin American PhD conference fee rate amounted to EUR110 or EUR130 this year, which is equal to roughly a third of the minimum wage in Chile, and still excludes travel costs. Further, that non-Latin American PhDs are asked to pay the same amount (EUR130) with an early bird discount equates Latin American PhD students incomes with Global North PhD students' - which does not reflect the real income differential to any degree. On this point, we note that previous organizing committees provided such subsidies –the lack of consistent and principle-led prioritising is our concern. We were also concerned to find out that IAE cancelled classes for two days in order to obtain venue space, thus undermining their responsibilities to Latin American students to serve the interests of conference participants. This literal displacement of Latin American students is yet another instance of centring the needs and expectations of the Global North over the Global South. Local colleagues noted that the conference could have been arranged for another time, such as the month prior, when classes were not in session so as not to disturb student schedules. In this respect, more efforts could have been made to also engage students with the conference, perhaps opening it to them.

Suggested recommendations:

While our critiques and engagement with key principles that underpin this important initiative are substantial, we offer a number of easily implementable and reasonably cost-effective ways forward emergent from these discussions:

1. It is imperative that Latin American scholars are centred throughout the conference in order to fulfil the aim of the conference of creating a dialogue that represents Latin American scholarship and thinking as developed in the region. If keynote speakers from management and organisation studies with expertise on the conference theme cannot be identified from the host country, there are numerous possibilities for expanding the pool, including looking at scholars from alternative Latin American countries or other relevant disciplines such as sociology, political theory, political economy, etc. We go back to the importance of having a permanent Latin American panel of rotating membership that could support with this task.

2. Keynote speakers should be in Spanish or Portuguese and translated into English. Simple and cost effective translation can be done through asking for presentations in advance and having translators type in real time on a computer with projected display.

3. In order to encourage participation and inclusivity, the call for proposals, calls for papers, conference website and marketing materials should be translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

4. Reinstate the Eduardo Ibarra-Colado prize. This award enhances the commitment of the Global North community to engage meaningfully with the Latin American community. We acknowledge the value of awarding a prize that had evolved from a best paper award to one that encourages non-competitive recognition of research drawing on a LAEMOS founding member's research philosophy, which would also help to foster the dialogue between European scholars and Latin American scholars. In addition, it would acknowledge the central role Ibarra-Colado, as a Latin American scholar based in the Latin American region, had in the setting up and developing LAEMOS.

5. While we acknowledge the subsidised rate for Latin American delegates, we are concerned that these reduced rates do not adequately take into account Latin American wages. We suggest a full bursary to attend the conference should be offered to Latin American PhD students, and a more meaningfully subsidised or discounted rate offered to Global South scholars, in particular early career researchers and casualised (non-)workers, as the latter, in particular, do not receive research funding from their institutions to attend research-related activities. If engagement from Latin American scholars is challenging, the host organizing committee should invite participation and be empowered to offer further fee subsidies if need be.

6. A Latin American panel discussion or set of workshops could be offered to retain focus on key local issues, similarities and differences within the region.

7. The conference would benefit from a more consultative model. At the close of each conference, participants and wider LAEMOS community should be, as a minimum, asked where the conference should be held, whom they would like to see as keynotes, which topics or themes they consider relevant as a focus of the subsequent conference, and whether they would like to participate on the board (could be nominated or self nominate).

8. A permanent international Latin American panel of rotating members should be established to have continuous voice in the organising committee, regardless of the host organisation. Latin American scholars from the host country could be encouraged to join the organising committee even if not from the host organisation.

9. A wide variety of bids, in particular from Latin American countries previously underrepresented –e.g. Peru and Uruguay— should be actively sought and encouraged, with the support of EGOS and guided by the permanent Latin American panel. Consensus model discussions amongst Latin American scholars in the organising committee should drive evaluations and decisions about which country and universities are the most appropriate setting for the conference. We note that previous organising teams have incorporated these principles; however, there is no imperative to continue this model because there are no guiding principles around which to organise.

10. The original constitution should be traced, edited and formally incorporated as guiding principles, and/or new documentation collaboratively developed as needed.

It is a historical fact that the overwhelming economic problems faced by Latin America and the Global South more generally are caused by hundreds of years of imperialist and colonialist management and organising policies and practices of the state and corporate interests of the Global North (not excluding the Global South itself). This is an essential political truth that provides the backdrop and context for the conference, and thus must inform the way it is framed, shaped and delivered. It is a key argument for reinvigorating and encouraging the conference’s original spirit.

If the current trends continue, many excellent Global North scholars who are interested in learning from and with the Global South will refuse to attend, leaving a main audience of European scholars who seek not knowledge from the Global South, but a prime opportunity for a Latin American academic holiday or further business-oriented activities. Furthermore, the issue here is also that the exclusion of Latin American scholars will eventually result in colleagues in Latin America simply not attending and the conference losing legitimacy with the group it has always intended to have as the centre of its efforts. Instead of the mix of Latin American and European influence that is appropriate for an event held in the Global South, LAEMOS will be a European/Eurocentric conference with a Latin flavour, a watered down and depoliticised/de-academicised version of itself that could have easily been held in Western Europe to much the same effect and prevent the conditions of possibilities for the formation of so-called LAMOS, a specifically LatAm MOS conference (and beyond).

We respectfully request a response from you at your earliest convenience to the issues raised here. Please also be aware that the letter has been made public in an effort to engage colleagues within the community because we believe the issues raised merit wider discussion.

Yours Faithfully,

Delegates and Friends of the LAEMOS 2018 conference

1. J. Miguel Imas, Chile/UK
2. Patricia Carvalho, Brazil, PUC-Rio
3. Sadhvi Dar, Queen Mary University of London, UK
4. Marcela Mandiola Universidad Alberto Hurtado Chile
5. Angela Martinez Dy, UK
6. Bobby Banerjee, Cass Business School, London
7. Stewart Clegg, Sydney, Australia, University of Technology Sydney Business School
8. Jean-François Chanlat, France, Université Paris-Dauphine
9. Julieta Godfrid. Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
10. Alia Weston, Zimbabwe/Canada
11. Giovanni Arturo López-Isaza, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Colombia
12. Rajiv Maher, France, Paris-Dauphine
13. Jacobo Ramirez
14. Alex Faria, EBAPE-FGV, Brazil
15. Daniel S. Lacerda, Brazil, UFRGS
16. Suparna Chatterjee
17. Paul Donnelly, Ireland
18. Isa Walker, Chile, Fundación Reciclo
19. Jaeder Fernandes Cunha, Brasil, Universidade de São Paulo, USP
20. Diego Altieri, Brazil, FGV-EBAPE
21. Patricia Tometich, Brazil
22. Fernanda Sauerbronn, Brazil, UFRJ
23. Bill Cooke, Independent Scholar/ U of York
24. José Vitor Palhares dos Santos, Brazil, UFMG
25. Maria Ceci Misoczky, Brasil, UFRGS
26. Guilherme Dornelas Camara, Brazil, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
27. Rafael Kruter Flores, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
28. Hèla Yousfi, France, Université Paris Dauphine
29. Ali Mir, USA
30. Inês Peixoto, Aalto University, Finland
31. Todd Bridgman, Victoria University of Wellington
32. Takeyoshi Imasato, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
33. Cinzia Priola, Open University, UK
34. Simon Mollan, University of York, UK
35. Jon Briscoe, Northern Illinois University, United States
36. Diego René Gonzales-Miranda, Universidad EAFIT, Colombia.
37. Elaine Swan, University of Sussex
38. Carole Elliott, University of Roehampton, UK
39. Mario Aquino Alves, FGV EAESP, Brazil
40. Ozan Alakavuklar, Massey University
41. Jenny K Rodriguez, University of Manchester, UK
42. Jorge Feregrino, México, UNAM
43. Jo Brewis, Open University, UK
44. Mariana Paludi, Universidad Mayor, Chile
45. Ester Barinaga, Denmark, CBS
46. María José Zapata Campos, Sweden, University of Gothemburg
47. Patrik Zapata, Sweden, University of Gothemburg
48. Beverly Geesin, York St John University, UK
49. Rafael Rodrigues de Castro, Brasil, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Administração da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais
50. Ana Guedes, FGV DAPP, Brazil
51. Pauline Fatien, Colombia, Universidad Pontificia Javeriana
52. Marcio Cassandre, Brazil, Universidade Estadual de Maringá
53. Helena Liu, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
54. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, USA, UMass Boston/Brown
55. Armindo S. S. Teodósio, Brazil, PUC Minas
56. Ajnesh Prasad, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
57. Nidhi Srinivas, The New School, USA
58. Rafael Alcadipani FGV-EAESP, Brazil
59. Pasi Ahonen, University of Essex, UK
60. Fahreen Alamgir
61. Nicolás Ríos, 6th LAEMOS local conference coordinator
62. Basco Rodrigo
63. Ruth Slater, University of Central Lancashire, NW UK
64. Mette Morsing, Stockholm School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School
65. David Crowther, de Montfort University, UK
66. Dermot O'Reilly, Lancaster University, UK
67. Andrea Bernardi, Oxford Brookes, UK
68. Fernanda Geremias Leal, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina
69. Jennifer Manning, Ireland
70. Laura Mitchell, Keele University, UK.
71. Emanuela Girei, University of Sheffield, UK
72. Claudia Firth, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
73. Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, Hanken, Finland
74. Rory Miller, Universidad de Liverpool
75. Queila Regina Souza Matiz, Brazil, UFPR
76. Manuela Faia Correia, Universidade Lusiada de Lisboa, Portugal
77. Marcelo de Souza Bispo, Brazil, Federal University of Paraíba
78. Mario Aquino Alves, FGV EAESP, Brazil
79. Claudia Coser, Brasil.
80. Pablo Isla, UTFSM, Chile
81. Richard Hull, Goldsmiths, University of London
82. Susan Meriläinen, Uniersity of Lapland, Finland
83. Francisco Valenzuela, School of Economics and Business, University of Chile
84. Ahu Tatli, Queen Mary University of London
85. Fabian Frenzel, University of Leicester
86. Gabriel de Mello Vianna Siqueira, Brasil
87. Saija Katila, Aalto University
88. Alessia Contu, USA
89. Albert J. Mills, Saint Mary's University, Canada
90. Ana Silvia Rocha Ipiranga. Univerdidade Estadual do Ceará - Brasil.
91. Deborah Brewis, University of Bath, UK
92. Marco Zurru, Italy
93. Hugh Willmott, Cass Business School, UK
94. Daniel Merabet, Brazil
95. Thassia da Silva, Brazil
96. Eunji Lee, Republic of Korea
97. Martin Brigham, Lancaster University, UK
98. Patrizia Zanoni, Hasselt University (Belgium) & Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
99. Dr Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, argentinean, University of Bath UK
100. Mustafa Bilgehan Ozturk, Queen Mary University of London
101. Craig Prichard, Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand
102. Elina Meliou, Newcastle University, UK
103. Ana Fonseca, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
104. Amon Barros, Brazil
105. Ricardo Pimentel - Instituto Superior de Administração e Economia - Brasil
106. Garance Marechal, University of Liverpool, UK
107. Olivier Ratle, University of the West of England, UK
108. Florence Villesèche, Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)
109. Annalisa Murgia, University of Leeds, UK
110. Dr Udeni Salmon, Keele Management School, University of Keele
111. Duygu Uygur, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
112. Angélica Buendía, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico
Add your signature (name, country, institution, if applicable) here. Signatures to be posted in due course. *
Your answer
EGOS Board Response - 24 April 2018
Dear Miguel, Sadhvi, Marcela, and Angela,

You receive this response because you are among the first individuals who have signed the open letter to the EGOS Executive Board, and hence presumably among its authors. Please feel free to share with the other signatories.

Thank you for your words of appreciation for the local organizers. I would like to take this opportunity to also express – once more – our gratitude to everyone involved for their enthusiasm and fantastic work that made LAEMOS 2018 possible.

Thank you also for sharing your observations, comments, and perspectives on various topics with regard to the LAEMOS project. There seem to be some misconceptions and misrepresentations that require clarification, as well as issues that demand close attention. The EGOS Executive Board will carefully discuss all points in depth during the next Board Meeting in July, after which we will respond in more detail. In the meanwhile, I have actively reached out to former LAEMOS organizers as well as to individuals deeply involved in the development and organization of the LAEMOS project in order to get a clearer picture and inform myself, in person, of matters of concern (and the multiple perspectives on them).

I am puzzled (and also deeply saddened, I have to admit) that some colleagues who have prominently signed this letter were actually part of the LAEMOS 2018 advisory board and, hence, involved in its organization. The latter leaves me wondering why they neither brought up any of these concerns during the process of organizing, nor approached me or the EGOS board or the local organizers before or at the conference with their concerns and suggestions.

The LAEMOS project does not rely on an organization or association of its own but, rather, on the interest and willingness of members from within its community to step up and do the often tiresome and mundane work of making these biannual meetings and their underlying idea(l)s a reality. In this respect, I am very happy to see that there is a considerable number of scholars ready to help in further ensuring a thriving LAEMOS community.

With best wishes,
Markus Höllerer (President of EGOS, on behalf of the EGOS Board)

Our Reply - 9th May 2018
Dear Markus,

Thank you very much for your response on behalf of the EGOS board to our letter. For information, we also received a response from Silvia Dorado, which appears to have been written in a personal capacity. These were the only two responses received. For matters of communication, we would very much appreciate it if you would write to this email address directly as the letter is a collective document and there is no person or persons who are more responsible for its contents than others. Following our discussion at the conference, we were also encouraged to write this letter by Ignacio Marti, one of the organisers to whom we spoke; for that reason, we assumed the letter would have been expected and would not come as a surprise.

We are glad to hear that you appreciate the observations and comments made in the letter, that you will take some time to think them through and talk them over at the next EGOS board meeting, and that you have reached out to others to obtain their insight into these issues. However, some of the key issues we raised, such as European keynotes, lack of translations, the delegate fee structure, and the removal of the Ibarra-Colado prize, are quite factual, and as such, we would be curious to know what alternative perspectives on this there could be, unless it is of course to defend the decisions made that resulted in these outcomes.

To our knowledge, there is only one colleague who sits on the LAEMOS board and is a signatory of the letter. We would like to note that your response singles her out in an uncomfortable and potentially accusatory manner, and furthermore, that she was indeed involved in our informal conversations with local organisers at the conference and actively voiced her concerns and suggestions sitting alongside one member of the EGOS board and one member of the local organizing committee. It is worth clarifying that this was a public conversation where there were 30 other delegates at the session. The resulting letter documenting this conversation and summarising our concerns was written in collaboration with those 30 delegates, and additionally 3 of the founders of the LAEMOS conference itself.

While we appreciate that the meeting is a product of the voluntary labour of the members, one of the issues the letter highlights is a lack of governance of this process and opaqueness of the LAEMOS committee and leadership from within the EGOS board. What channels exist for members to contribute meaningfully to the shaping of the conference if not through the committee, and what active calls are there for input from membership? There are no feedback or evaluation forms provided nor other clear channels for face-to-face, democratic discussion, nor is there consistency from meeting to meeting. This is why we called upon the organisers in situ at the conference for a clarification of the decision making processes and why we have followed up with this letter.

We look forward to a full formal response in July. In the meantime, we will be sharing the letter, your response, and our response here through the same public channels through which we have collected over 100 signatures from around the world. The letter remains online and open to new signatories.

Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Best wishes

Delegates and Friends of LAEMOS 2018

Formal Response from EGOS Board - 19 July 2018
Dear colleagues and friends,

Please accept our apologies for a rather long email containing an important statement from the EGOS Board with regard to our future involvement in the LAEMOS project. You are receiving this email because you participated in LAEMOS 2018 in Buenos Aires. As some of you are aware, an open letter has been posted in April that offers substantial critique regarding the organization of the biannual LAEMOS conference and, in particular, the role of EGOS.

The open letter (as well as our initial response, and their reply) can be accessed online:

107 colleagues have agreed to have their names added to the open letter, including several who did not participate in LAEMOS 2018 or any LAEMOS event before that. While the open letter cannot be seen as representing the view of the majority of those who participated in LAEMOS 2018, the EGOS Board discussed at length the various points it raised. We recognize the merit of some of its recommendations and its criticisms while firmly rejecting any insinuations of neo-colonialism, racism, or sexism that have been voiced implicitly or explicitly in association with this open letter initiative. The EGOS Board also took some decisions regarding our future engagement with LAEMOS which we wish to share with the wider scholarly community.

The open letter makes several valuable and critical observations about the LAEMOS 2018 conference which the EGOS Board acknowledges. Anyone who has organized larger events will be aware that unintentional mistakes and omissions happen – although they should not. For instance, we agree that the need “to translate English presentations (keynotes and papers) into Spanish and Portuguese” was misjudged; it was certainly unfortunate that the keynote speakers did not explicitly “connect their work to Latin-American issues and research priorities”; and we also regret that the Eduardo Ibarra-Colada prize was not awarded in 2018. We are convinced that future organizers will be attentive to these matters.

When it comes to the governance of LAEMOS and related issues of transparency, things are more complex, and, unfortunately, in this respect the open letter contains certain inaccuracies and misinterpretations that require clarification. We have looked carefully into the history of LAEMOS and will comment on the most important issues by providing more information in the appendix at the end of this email.

Let us firmly state that EGOS never had a mandate or intention to exercise any kind of ‘ownership’ over LAEMOS. LAEMOS (the Latin-American and European Meeting on Organization Studies) has been a community-based scholarly activity, with EGOS representing the E in the acronym from its very early days. We, as the EGOS Board, have always seen our involvement limited to a supporting and facilitating role. We contribute with our expertise in successfully organizing the annual EGOS colloquia (i.e., advising local LAEMOS organizers in practical matters), offer our network and institutional infrastructure in coordinating and globally promoting LAEMOS, as well as provide support in kind and, to some degree, financial resources as requested or required. While individual scholars from the wider EGOS community have assisted in organizing several of the biannual LAEMOS events, the EGOS Board and EGOS as an association always followed the principle of leaving decisions in the hands of the local organizers.

The open letter and the discussions it triggered underline the fact that LAEMOS has outgrown what it once used to be: a rather informal and participative meeting for scholarly exchange between Latin-American and European scholarship. With a record number of sub-theme proposals and about 500 paper submissions for the 2018 event, a growing percentage of Latin-American participants, and increasingly professionalized scholarly interactions in the various sub-themes, the LAEMOS community is doing exceptionally well. Continued momentum is no longer in doubt as it was at some points in the past. It is in this respect that we see the EGOS Board’s endeavor and mission as substantially fulfilled. However, organizing such a community of scholars and running its biannual conference activities – as highlighted in the open letter – calls for the establishment of guiding principles, adequate governance structures, and with this a higher degree of formalization.

We interpret the open letter as indicating a willingness on the part of its signatories to step up and take more direct responsibility in serving the LAEMOS community. We believe that there is enough momentum for LAEMOS to create the self-governing mechanisms that we, as a European association, neither can nor wish to propose.

The EGOS Board therefore concluded in its last Board Meeting on July 7, 2018, after long and intense discussions, that it is time for us to step to the side and end our engagement in the direct, practical coordination and governance of the LAEMOS project in order to give the community the space and time needed to establish, from within itself, the appropriate self-governing mechanisms. This is also an opportunity for LAEMOS to redefine its future formal relationship with EGOS in a mutually beneficial way. For us, the idea of an independent Latin-American association that openly collaborates with EGOS has been the vision and understanding of not just the current EGOS Board, but also the past leadership of EGOS.

We are convinced that due to the engagement of so many scholars the LAEMOS project has come a long way. EGOS is proud to have been a part of this successful journey, and we wish those who will carry the torch further the very best. In our view, the LAEMOS project continues to hold much promise for the ongoing and mutually beneficial exchange between Latin-American and European organization scholarship. And as individual scholars (some of us active members of the LAEMOS community), we look forward to contributing to it.

With best wishes,

Markus Höllerer (chair)
Bernard Forgues (vice chair)
Katharina Chudzikowski
Yiannis Gabriel
Gianluigi Mangia
Ursula Plesner
Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic
Angelika Zierer (ex officio)
Daniel Hjorth (ex officio, editor-in-chief OS)
Trish Reay (ex officio, editor-in-chief OS)



Please find below the EGOS Board’s clarifications on some of the major points made in the open letter.

1. LAEMOS governance structure: LAEMOS (the Latin-American and European Meeting on Organization Studies) has been a community-based scholarly activity, with EGOS representing the E in the acronym from its very early days (i.e., first talks between Latin-American initiators and the EGOS Board in 2002, with the first meeting held in 2006). LAEMOS has no legal form (i.e., is not an association) or formal statutes, therefore at present has no established or agreed upon formal governance structure. To our best knowledge, there exists no founding charta or written set of guiding principles.

2. Role of EGOS within the LAEMOS project: EGOS never had a mandate or intention to exercise any kind of ‘ownership’ over LAEMOS. As the EGOS Board, we have always seen our involvement limited to a supporting and facilitating role. We contribute with our expertise in successfully organizing the annual EGOS colloquia (i.e., advising local LAEMOS organizers in practical matters), and offer our network and institutional infrastructure in coordinating and globally promoting LAEMOS, as well as provide support in kind and, to some degree, financial resources as requested or required. While individual scholars from the wider EGOS community have assisted in organizing several of the biannual LAEMOS events, the EGOS Board and EGOS as an association always followed the principle of leaving decisions in the hands of the local organizers. As some of you are aware, the LAEMOS project lost momentum after a few editions and was stalling to a degree that the biannual meeting was at risk a few years ago. It was at that time that EGOS was called upon by members of the LAEMOS community to ensure the survival of LAEMOS, primarily by offering institutional infrastructure. It is noteworthy that this engagement happened at the request, and with the consent, of some of the Latin-American key players within the LAEMOS community at that time.

3. Multidisciplinarity/diversity: Our willingness to engage in global collaborations and partnerships hinges on symmetry of values and on the inclusion of the broad variety of theoretical and methodological approaches that characterize the domain of organizational research.

4. Financial aspects: EGOS has been contributing in kind, and, over the years to varying degrees, also financially to the LAEMOS project. EGOS is not involved in handling any income, budget, or other financial matters related to the LAEMOS conference, and of course does not receive any funds or income from LAEMOS – and neither do our “employees” (as we have none). A misunderstanding might come from the fact that the last three venues have used the services of a professional conference organizer and a freelancer recommended by EGOS – and obviously such costs are covered by the conference budget. While EGOS recommends the use of trusted service providers, local organizers have been free to make their own choices.

5. Fees structure: There exists no LAEMOS membership fee. The fee structure of the biannual LAEMOS conference is something to discuss within the community, but at the same time it is noteworthy that it is crucial and consequential for local organizers who bear the financial risk to have a financially viable and sustainable conference budget; also note that an unsustainable fee structure would negatively impact the number of expressions of interest for hosting LAEMOS – or, even worse, might increase the risk for a failed conference. Signatories should be aware that some of the suggestions in the open letter entail substantial additional costs that would need to be adequately reflected in the conference fees.

6. Selection of future LAEMOS venues: Similar to previous years, a public call for expressions of interest for hosting LAEMOS 2020 was posted in mid 2017 on the EGOS website, distributed via the EGOS listserv and among LAEMOS 2016 participants, as well as actively circulated in various Latin-American communities (and beyond) by members of the LAEMOS community. While for LAEMOS 2018 eventually only one proposal was received (Buenos Aires, after an alternative in another country did not materialize), three proposals were submitted for 2020 (plus a number of tentative expressions of interest for 2022); these three full proposals for 2020 were reviewed in early 2018 – as per established good practice – by Latin-American and European scholars involved in the organization of past LAEMOS conferences. Based on these reviews and in the absence of a permanent LAEMOS governance structure, it was decided to entrust UniAndes in Bogota, Colombia, with organizing LAEMOS 2020; the decision was made public in the closing ceremony in Buenos Aires.

7. LAEMOS 2020 local organizing committee: We understand that the decision of EGOS to step to the side and for the time being end our explicit engagement in the coordination of the LAEMOS project creates a different point of departure for the 2020 organizing team. We kindly ask the members of the LAEMOS community to provide full support, or – should the colleagues from Bogota decide not to continue with the organization of LAEMOS 2020 – to respect their decision.

8. “Informal meeting” at the LAEMOS 2018 and “encouragement to write an open letter”: Contrary to the repeated claims, EGOS board members were neither invited nor present at the so-called “informal meeting” (which was held at the same time as the formal closing ceremony) that is argued as the nucleus for the open letter. To the contrary, the three board members present at LAEMOS 2018 – Markus Höllerer (current president of EGOS), Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic, and Daniel Hjorth – were not approached at all over the days of the conference: Despite numerous occasions and, in fact, actual conversations with several of the signatories, not a single LAEMOS participant decided to voice his or her concerns to us.

9. No voice, not approachable, no opportunity for feedback: We disagree that there has been no opportunity to voice concerns or feedback – either in person (see above), through representatives of the LAEMOS 2018 international advisory committee (all members of the LAEMOS 2018 organizing committee and the 2018 international advisory committee were listed online), or by getting directly in touch via email with the EGOS Board.

10. Eduardo Ibarra-Collado prize: We regret that the Eduardo Ibarra-Colada prize was not awarded in 2018 (after being created in 2014 and awarded a second time in 2016). This prize is not an EGOS Award but initiated and sponsored by Latin-American institutions – and it seems that the local organizers relied on the initiators of the prize, and the initiators on the local organizers to keep it on the agenda. We have been in touch again with the main initiator of the prize in 2014 who would love to see it reestablished, but also emphasized that someone from within the community will need to take the lead in this effort.

11. Keynotes. Both keynote speakers are well-respected authorities in their field of scholarly inquiry. We accept the concern that both were from an Anglo-American context. There were several attempts by the local organizers to secure a local keynote which did not work out in the end. The choice of keynotes is an important part of organizing an event, and thus we believe that the local organizers need to be given full discretion to make this decision. However, we agree that it was unfortunate that the keynotes did not explicitly connect their work to Latin-American issues and research priorities.

12. Language issues: We acknowledge that the desirability to translate English presentations (the open letter mentions keynotes and papers) into Spanish and Portuguese. Nonetheless, English has become the lingua franca of global academia and is indispensable in endeavors to establish dialogues between different traditions of scholarship across language barriers. At EGOS, this is a well-known challenge given the many languages spoken in our community in Europe and beyond (given our increasingly global membership). From the previous edition of LAEMOS there was a perception that knowledge of English among participants is on a level that no translation of keynotes will be required. This might be different for actively speaking/presenting in English, so many sub-themes followed the LAEMOS tradition of having slides in English but allowing presentations in Spanish and Portuguese, with colleagues providing impromptu translations of presentation and comments (in both directions).

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