The 35th EMAC Conference, May 23-26 2006, Athens
Veronica Wong (“Past” EMAC VP Conference),
Stephanie Feiereisen and Laura Chamberlain, PhD Students,
Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK
Here is a report on the highlights of the main conference event, from Veronica (“past” VP Conference, who stepped down on 26th May 2006), with Stephanie and Laura, both PhD students at ABS, sharing their perspectives and experiences of the EMAC conference week.
First, a brief report from Veronica
A conference to remember……………..
As the outgoing EMAC VP Conference (or, rather, ‘past’ and ‘well gone’ VP!), it is appropriate for me to say something about the 35th EMAC Conference, recently hosted by our honourable friends in the Department of Communications and Marketing, AUEB, Athens.
First, a thousand thanks to Professor George Avlonitis (Chair of the 2006 Conference) and his team for putting on such an excellent event. The Conference is something to write home about! I know I said this about the previous two conferences, during my term as VP Conference, but, this is one hard act to follow.
Notably, the number of participants, some 675, speak for the popularity of the venue and, certainly, the growing attractiveness of our conference to colleagues across the universe! Living up to expectations, is the theme of the conference, “A Synthesis of Polymorphous Axioms, Strategies and Tactics”. More about this, from Laura, later.
This year’s conference boasts a record number of 906 paper submissions from more than 1,700 authors, representing more than 300 universities and institutions (a quarter outside Europe), and covering 40 countries across the continents (40% outside Europe). 433 accepted papers were presented at the conference, plus some 63 poster presentations. The mammoth task of passing all papers through the double-blind review process would not have been possible were it not for the tireless efforts of our 40 Track Chairs and Co-Chairs, along with the 467 reviewers who contributed to the deicision process.
In all, there were 113 paper sessions, a plenary (introductory) session; 4 special sessions, 2 panel sessions, and a “Meet the Editors” session. Kicking off, the plenary, session, themed, “Marketing Leadership and Globalization”, captured two academics and four practioners’ viewpoints on trends and approaches to meet the challenges of competing globally in a variety of industry mileau. (EMAC 2007 Conference)
The Special Sessions have always been a real ‘treat’. This year, thanks to EMAC’s VP Publications, Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, the following sessions were organised:
(1) “ISMS Practice Prize Reprise” (Chair: Gary Lilien); (2) “MSI Sponsored Research” (Chair: Dominique Hanssens); (3) “Product Innovation and Design” (Chair: Jaideep Prabhu) and (4) “New Frontiers in Modelling Competitions” (Chair: Herald van Heerde).
Discussions held in the two panel sessions, “Emerging Research Issues in International Marketing” (Chair: Samiee Saeed) and “Marketing and Technology: In the Same Sphere or Different Worlds?” (Chair: Esmail Salehi-Sangari; Discussant: Matthew Robson) inspired much thought and debate.
Last, but not least, the chance to “Meet the Editors”! In this session, Editors or Editorial Board Members conveyed and shared perspectives on their respective journal’s philosophy and publication goals. In total eight journals were represented, including the Journal of Marketing [Editor:Roland Rust], the Journal of Marketing Research [Associate Editor:Gerard Tellis], Marketing Science Journal of Consumer Research [Editorial review board member:Itamar Simonson], International Journal of Research in Marketing [Editor:Hubert Gatignan], the Journal of Product Innovation Management [Editor:Anthony di Benedetto], the Journal of Service Research [Editorial review board member:Michael Tsiros], the Journal of International Marketing [Editor:Daniel Bello] and the Journal of Marketing Management [Susan Hart])
As in previous years, an award is given to recognise excellent work based on a doctoral dissertation. This year, guided by the evaluations and comments of Track Chairs and Co-Chairs and reviewers, the conference organiser shortlisted six papers which were presented for evaluation by the selection panel led by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp (VP Publications), Spiros Gounaris (Organising Committee, EMAC 2006 Conference), and myself (VP Conferences). The ‘Best Paper of the Conference based on a Doctoral Dissertation’ was awarded to Thorsten Wiesel (Goethe University), for his paper, titled “Decomposition of Changes in Customer Equity Over Time”, co-authored with Bernd Skiera (University of Frankfurt) and Julian Villanueva (IESE Barcelona, Spain). Congratulations, once again, to the winners.
On behalf of EMAC and the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Gilles Laurent also announced the winners of this years’ “IJRM Best Paper Award”, who are: R. Srinivasan, A. Rangaswamy and G.L. Lilien, for their article, titled, “ Turning Adversity into Advantage: Does Proactive Marketing During a Recession Pay Off?”. (IJRM 22 Issue 2, pp.109-125)
Importantly, the main conference sessions aside, the organizers, in collaboration with the EIASM and EMAC also hosted the 19th EMAC Doctoral Colloquium. 39 doctoral students participated in the event. Three tracks comprised papers discussed among students in an intermediate or advanced stage of their dissertation, while one track ran with students in an early stage of their dissertation development. Twenty five of these students, participated in the main conference. Special thanks to Karen Gedenk (Chair) University of Cologne, Germany and the doctoral colloquium organizing committee - the co-chairs Gita JOHAR, Columbia Business School, USA, Marc VANHUELE, HEC School of Management, Paris, France, Klaus WERTENBROCH, INSEAD, France, Georges Baltas, Athens University of Economics & Business for organizing and running this highly successful, pre-conference event.
On a rather more relaxed matter, the entertainment! For me, there were no disappointments on this front. The organizers had surpassed expectations. Starting with a most pleasant welcome party on the “Roof Garden” of the Divani Caravel Hotel, things just got better and better as the week went by. The “Greek Night” at “The Old Stables, was awesome. I have never seen so many EMAC-ers singing and bopping away all night long. Perhaps, it was something in the wine, the food, or simply, the air? If asked to rate how much people enjoyed the night, I’d give it a score of 5+, on a scale of 1=Absolutely hated it to 5=Thoroughly enjoyed it, judging by the hissing and booing when, at 2.00am, delegates (quite reluctantly) re-boarded the buses to be taken back to their hotels. The conference ended with a delightful and most enjoyable gala dinner at the “Asteria Seaside Tales”, by the Glyfada Beach. Nothing could be more perfect than ending the day, wading in the warm waters of the Aegian Sea, watching the magnificent sun set, followed by a glorious feast and, YES, dancing the night away!
I had a super time! Hope participants did so too!
NOW, over to Stephanie and Laura.
Reflections from a new-comer (StephanieFeiereisen)
EMAC 2006 in Athens was not only my first EMAC Conference, but also my first conference ever.
While finalizing the slides for my presentation and revising its content in Birmingham the week before the conference, I thought that the highlight of the conference for me would be the first morning when I would present the paper. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The presentation was only the start of a rich and rewarding experience.
Attending the presentations of fellow researchers was very stimulating. The tracks were incredibly varied and appealing, to the point that more than once I had to chose between two or even three tracks that were related to my research, or which topics sounded very exciting! I was impressed with the number of participants, coming not only from across Europe but also from the United States, Australia and South America, and with the quality of the presentations which were of a very high standard. Moreover, I noticed that the questions from the audience during the presentations were usually very challenging and made me question my own research. Attending the presentations helped me gain a rich academic input, think of my research under a new perspective and consider aspects that I probably would not have reflected on otherwise.
In addition to the official programme of the conference, I quickly came to realize that EMAC was also a social adventure. It was the first time that I had the chance to discuss with so many marketing academics from different countries. I realized that colleagues working on areas of research close to my own research could be based not only in the UK, but also in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Austria or the US. This is what makes the academic world so unique for me, as although academics are far apart geographically, they seem to all know each other and work closely together throughout the year. EMAC was a great opportunity to gain an entrance into this exciting community as a new academic-I was surprised how easy it was to meet people and discuss about my research and other people’s research, exchange ideas and agree to stay in contact after the conference.
I will remember EMAC 2006 not only for the Greek party and the conference dinner at Asteras (although I was amazed by the choice of the venue and the overall organization of such a huge event by Prof. Avlonitis and the team of Athens University of Economics and Business), but mostly as the first opportunity that was given to me to get an insight into the academic community. I look forward to more conferences in the future and hope to see everyone again in Reykjavik!
A week of “Synthesis of Polymorphous Axioms, Strategies and Tactics” (Laura Chamberlain)
The 35th EMAC conference held in Athens this year was a truly amazing event! The organisation and location of the conference were superb. Some might think that the view of the Acropolis from the windows of the venue might have been a distraction. However, the quality of presentations and posters offered at the conference was outstanding and so the beauty of the Acropolis was the backdrop for an amazing week of cutting edge research in marketing… or indeed, a synthesis of polymorphous axioms, strategies and tactics!
Within the field of marketing there are so many different topic areas and approaches to research, it truly is an expanding field which is evolving and transforming at a fast pace. It is this diversity and variation which is brought together at the EMAC conference which makes it an exciting and stimulating event. In light of this, the conference theme “Sustainable Marketing Leadership: A synthesis of polymorphous axioms, strategies and tactics” was fully embraced, not only by those presenting papers or posters but by all who participated in the conference. It was amazing to be exposed to so many interesting and challenging ideas presented at the conference from individuals based all over the globe.
This year there were an incredible twenty tracks to choose from, which meant that some difficult decisions had to be made concerning which sessions to attend! On a personal note, it was an unbelievable experience to be exposed to so many ideas and approaches to research in such a short period of time; from structural equation modeling, qualitative research and the innovative use of fMRI scanning in one afternoon! As a young researcher, attending the presentations and participating in the resultant discussions provided invaluable insights regarding major issues and perspectives in the academic sphere and also the opportunity to reflect upon my current research project in light of the issues highlighted.
The conference theme was not only embraced in the official program of the conference but also by researchers attending the conference… It was interesting to observe the polymorphous nature of many researchers! It was enjoyable to be involved in discussions regarding different areas of research, but also to see people networking over a frappe or a fredo, enjoying a beer in the sunshine by the pool (only in the evening of course) or even dancing away at one of the outstanding social events organized for us! From, frappes to feta I think it is safe to say a lot of people who attended the conference embraced many aspects of Greek culture. However, the jokes about beer being written in LISREL were plentiful so perhaps a better description would be a happy synthesis of Greek culture and the marketing academic sphere! Thanks largely to the team at the Athens University of Economics and Business and the EMAC Committee, participants thoroughly enjoyed the synthesis of polymorphous axioms, strategies and tactics presented at the conference and also the opportunity to spend some time exploring the beautiful and historic city of Athens.