IFSAM: A Brief History

As a Federation of Academies of Management, IFSAM dedicates itself to fostering the development of international scholarly activities in management research, pedagogy and practice. It seeks to do so in order that evidence and insights from diverse cultures, traditions and settings can be combined and exchanged to broaden, deepen and enhance the rigor and the relevance of the body of knowledge. As a Federation, IFSAM offers a truly polycentric and culturally informed platform for appropriate academies and learned societies that wish to affiliate and contribute. This capacity of the Federation to embody and present a diverse world view is especially evident in its efforts at encouraging the establishment and safeguarding of national associations of management, large and small, and in the hosting of its biennial World Congress.

The Federation’s establishment can be traced to a meeting of likeminded scholars active in their national and regional associations held on September 12th 1989. This gathering made collective preparations for the establishment of IFSAM and drafted its articles and by-laws.

Subsequently, the first Council Meeting (now General Assembly) of the Federation held at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main in Germany saw the participation of 12 associations from Canada, Chile, CIS, Germany, Finland, France, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the USA. Some two years later, scholarly associations representing China, Korea, and Scandinavia joined the federation Reflecting the desire of the Federation to serve as a truly academic international platform the 1991/1992 elected Executive Committee Members were Tasuku Noguchi (Japan), Horst Albach (Germany), Janice M. Bayer (USA), Vesa Mäkinen (Finland) and Cary L. Cooper (UK).

Three fundamental key goals lay at the heart of the foundation of IFSAM and served to guide the Executive Committee (now Board of Directors) and participating associations in their activities; namely the development of management research and education, the engaging in international mutual exchange and research, and the ongoing advancement of the field of management as a scholarly domain area. Motivated by these founding principles, our ambition for IFSAM today remains the creation and safeguarding of a platform of equals through which we can combine, exchange our diverse views on what constitutes the field and fully appreciate the importance of diverse, contextualized, and embedded management scholarship.

Since its inception, the biennial congress has served as a critical platform for the Federation in facilitating knowledge exchange among international scholars. Each of these international meetings has sought to tackle contemporary themes reflective of the dominant discourse and concerns of the day, both in the host location, but also more globally. High-Technology and Management served as the all-conference theme of the 1st IFSAM World Congress hosted in Tokyo, Japan in 1992 which saw some 559 delegates from 24 countries gather to debate the issues. This inaugural gathering, which served as a truly polycentric platform for exchanging and combining knowledge from around the world, was followed by the 2nd Congress held in Dallas, USA in 1994 under the theme Linking Management Scholars Worldwide. It too dedicated itself to the cause of combining diverse knowledge and views in order to enrich scholarship in management. The Management of Intangibles was the theme for Paris, France in 1996, while Globalization and its Impact on Management, Education, Research and Practice served as the central call for contributions for the 1998 Congress hosted in Alcalá de Henares, Spain in 1998. In 1998, there were 14 IFSAM member associations across the world. Taking Stock was the theme for the millennium meeting held in Montréal, Canada, while Management in a Global Context: Prospects for the 21st Century was the theme for the Gold Coast meeting in Australia in 2002. The challenges and opportunities inherent in globalization and which were becoming more apparent were further debated in subsequent meetings including in Göteborg, Sweden (2004), under the banner Management in a World of Diversity and Change and in Berlin, Germany (2006) in Enhancing Managerial Responsiveness to Global Challenges. The importance of creating an evidence based body of actionable knowledge which respected and incorporated insights from both the West and the East was reflect in the theme Fusion and Development of East and West Management which formed the core of the Shanghai, China 2008 Congress. The global financial crisis and the importance of Justice and Sustainability in the Global Economy were debated in Paris, France in our 2010 meeting. Management Reimagined held in Limerick, Ireland in 2012 addressed issues relating to the rigour and the relevance of our scholarship, the importance of contextualization and the requirement for the incorporation of more diverse scholarship into the body of knowledge. The theme Management in Crisis lay at the heart of the 2014 congress hosted in Tokyo, Japan and was chosen in part because of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami and the Fukushima disaster which had struck in 2011 and the criticality of management studies to generating solution to some of the grand challenges being faced, both in Japan and indeed more globally. New World Equilibrium: Managing Regional Realities served as the theme for IFSAM’s 2016 meeting hosted in Mérida, Mexico, while 2018 saw us return to Shanghai, China to debate Business Management: Region Country∙ Culture and to observe first-hand the changing landscape of management scholarship in Asia.

In 2018 three new scholarly associations joined IFSAM as full members: the International Federation of East Asia Management Academies (IFEAMA), the Nepalese Academy of Management (NAM), and the National Institute of Economic Management (NIEM) from Laos.


Due to the pandemic of the covid19, the 2020 congress took place in an online and abridged format, devoted to exchanges among the leaders of more than twenty scholarly associations about the challenges and opportunities brought by covid19 to management research, education and practice, as well as to the management of learned societies in the management field during Dec 4-7, 2020 in conjunction and cooperation with EURAM 2020 online conference.

On Dec 8, 2020 we celebrated online the 30 years’ history of IFSAM delivering 24 awards for outstanding service contribution to IFSAM to past and current leaders, and having in attendance many current leaders of past and current IFSAM members, such as the Academy of Management (AOM) and the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) current and past presidents.

In 2020, several learned societies (re)joined IFSAM such as the Africa Academy of Management (AFAM), Association Internationale de Management Stratégique (AIMS, France), Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC, Canada), and Società Italiana di Management (SIMA, Italy).

2020 also marked the establishment of the IFSAM Advisory Council and the launch of the IFSAM awards for exceptional contributions to management research, education, and service.


2021 saw the launch of the soft policy making role of the federation, with a 5 monthly webinar series on the definition and evaluation of management research quality, triggered by the FT list survey of late 2020. This broad, worldwide consultation process led to the first soft policy statement of IFSAM General Assembly, on management research, issued on June 2021. This statement, translated into several languages, it is been now discussed in different communities, including through several IFSAM members’ annual conferences in 2022.

During 2021 five more associations (re)joined the federation: the British Academy of Management (BAM) and the Spanish Association of Management (ACEDE) rejoined as full members, and the Association Tunisienne de comptabilité (ATC), the Association Sénégalaise des Sciences de Gestion (ASSG) and the Association Marocaine de Gestion (AMG) joined as associate members.

Due to the evolution of scholarly academies in the world in the last thirty years, in 2020 the federation redefined its world biennial congress to focus on IFSAM core mission:

  • promote linkages and exchanges of information amongst learned associations,
  • establish and maintain standards of competence in management research, teaching and practice,
  • organize international conferences to explore the development and exchange of new concepts and perspectives on global business, and management challenges and developments, and
  • promote other strategies to develop management research, teaching and practice, and encourage the development of contextualized fields of inquiry.

The program for the 16th world congress to be held online in cooperation with ANPAD in early September 2022 further reflects this new focus on gathering the expertise and evidence for its soft policy making activity, through the roundtables of experts across different parts of the world.

On December 29, 2021 IFSAM was incorporated as Association Sans But Lucratif (ASBL) in Belgium.


On January 14 the Association Francophone de la Comptabilité (AFC) was admitted as a new full member. And on January 19, the China Academy of Management Science (CAMS) became again a full member of the federation.

On January 19, the Financial Times (FT) released its first edition of FT responsible business education awards (https://www.ft.com/reports/responsible-business-education) in which IFSAM participated in the selection panel.

On March 23, the GA committee on awards made public the winners of the IFSAM inaugural awards.

At the annual meeting of the GA on June 26-27, the GA unanimously approved the admission of ASFAE, welcoming again a Chilean member association. With ASFAE’s admission, the federation reached 23 member associations. The GA also approved different board proposals such as statutory changes to facilitate access to associate member status, new members to several GA committees and the approval of a new GA award for outstanding service to the federation and the granting of the inaugural awards for 2021-2022, among others.

On Sept 7-9 the 16th IFSAM congress took place online, because of the lasting effects of the covid19 pandemic and the advantages of online activities in terms of world-wide access and ecological sustainability. The congress fully instantiated for the first time the new strategic orientation of the federation (decided in 2020) to also engage in soft policy making about the evolution of management scholarship, education and practice. Due to this new orientation the congress consisted in roundtables with experts across the world to gather their insights on several topics related to the three domains taking a contextualized perspective, in order to nourish the work of IFSAM General Assembly committees on soft policy. Reflecting this, the congress title was (add title). The congress also contained a joint session with ANPAD, a member association, to discuss the relevance and application in Brasil of the IFSAM 2021 soft policy declaration on management research, as well as sessions on the winners of the IFSAM inaugural awards. All sessions were free of access. The videos of all sessions are available through the respective links.

The opening ceremony also included a celebration of the 30 years of the 1st IFSAM congress, in Tokyo, in cooperation with the Japanese Academy of Business Administration (JABA), a founding member association of the federation. The memory booklet of that congress was presented by several authors, including organizers and participants.