EGOS Honorary Member 2019
It is an enormous honour to be able to give this laudatio for Professor Ann Langley, who so richly deserves the award of EGOS Honorary Member. Ann has long been one of my, and I know many of my academic colleagues’, heroes, for her brilliant scholarship, her wise academic guidance, and because she has the integrity and open-mindedness on which to model not only scholarly aspirations, but also personal behaviour. I want to first touch on Ann’s stellar record as an academic, before sharing insights about Ann as a person and as a role model.
First, Ann merits this award for her excellent scholarly output in organization studies. She has over 18,000 Google Scholar citations, and an h-index of 50, ranking her as Outstanding. This is an impressive record by any standards. More than just a big number, however, is the ground-breaking content of her publications, from the 1989 PhD paper on the uses of formal analysis, published in Administrative Science Quarterly, to, one decade later, her outstanding 1999 paper on “Strategies for Theorizing from Process Data” in Academy of Management Review, which has become a foundation work for all of us doing process scholarship, to only this month, yet another two decades on, her latest co-authored paper in Academy of Management Journal on “Constructing and Sustaining Counter-Institutional Identities” that has just been published in advance online. Just for her scholarly record and its impact upon the field of organization studies, Ann is more than worthy to be the Honorary Member 2019 of EGOS.
However, beyond this, and in keeping with the spirit of EGOS, Ann has also always provided leadership, guidance, and sheer hard work to support the growth of other scholars, and of scholarly communities in organization studies. Ann was one of the co-convenors of the initial Organization Studies summer workshops, run by EGOS, in the area of process studies. The success of this initiative, in building a community of scholars who examine the processual dynamics of organizational issues at multiple levels from the societal to the individual, has gone on to be the extremely popular annual workshop and edited volume on “Process Research in Organization Studies”, of which Ann is one of the annual organizers. The work to run a successful workshop, year after year, to support a community of scholars in organization studies, and to develop a robust body of work arising from that, is evidence of Ann’s leadership.
In addition, Ann has always been a great community-builder and supporter of the EGOS community at the annual EGOS Colloquium. She was a convenor, in its second running, of the popular Strategy-as-Practice Standing Working Group (SWG), she has convened numerous other successful sub-themes at EGOS and has chaired a number of successful sub-plenary sessions, including the very popular Process Methods and Perspectives sub-plenary in 2014, which I distinctly remember because the large room was packed – standing room only – because of the popularity of the topic, speakers and format Ann had organized.
Beyond her support of the annual conference throughout her long career, Ann, as a Senior Professor at HEC Montréal, was instrumental in the hard work of running an extremely successful EGOS Colloquium 2013 in Montréal, on one of the Colloquium’s rare hostings outside Europe. All of us who had the pleasure of attending EGOS in beautiful sunny Montréal, during its wonderful Jazz Festival, are aware that the Montréal team, of whom Ann was a key member, ran an exceptionally welcoming and well-organized conference, that had excellent attendance, despite the longer distance to travel. To host the annual EGOS Colloquium is a huge job, and to do it with such panache, graciousness and warmth when your city is also taken over by the jazz enthusiasts and tourists of the world, is yet more evidence of Ann’s role as a community-builder within EGOS.
Over and above this, I know that Ann has always been a supporter of EGOS through her role as the Chair of the Organization and Management Theory Division at the Academy of Management. She has been of enormous value in the EGOS Board meetings and through her efforts to forge closer links between the two communities, including through jointly hosted events.
Finally, and also strongly in keeping with the spirit of EGOS in supporting early career scholars and PhD students, Ann has, throughout her career, developed a large number of scholars who have gone on to shine in their own right, most of whom are also active supporters of our EGOS community through the sub-themes they run, their roles on our editorial boards and, also extending our discipline through their well-founded publications. Ann’s legacy to organization studies through those she has trained herself, and those she has supported, is outstanding.
While Ann is herself always modest about the support she provides others, this legacy cannot be overlooked. Here I provide a personal story to illustrate my point. I met Ann in 1998 when I was a very green doctoral student whom Ann gave feedback on a paper. I subsequently presented that paper at EGOS 1999 and it then went on to be published, based largely on the confidence she gave me, as a young scholar to whom she had no obligations, to further develop my work. Ann provides exceptional leadership, guidance and support for graduate students and early career scholars, without personal gain, in a spirt that I believe is totally consistent with the EGOS ethos.
I am unsure what more I can say to emphasize my enormous respect for Ann Langley. I know I am not alone, as Ann is widely respected for her collegiality, her hard work and contributions to the discipline, her intellect, and her unstinting generosity to help develop others. My only disappointment is that I cannot be here to shake your hand Ann, and give you a big hug, and say thank you, for all you have done and continue to do for me, for others, and for our community. I can honestly say, as a process scholar, as a woman academic, and as a human being, I have learnt so much from you, including the standards to which I should aspire in all three of those categories.