Sustainable Conference Organizing: Practices and Impact

Elke Schüßler, Stefanie Habersang, Gabriela Gutierrez O, Joel Bothello, Helen Etchanchu, Giuseppe Delmestri

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


University academics constitute the most mobile workforce in the global-north (Cohen et al. 2020). International mobility is entrenched across different academic communities (Heffernan & Jöns 2013; Jonkers & Cruz-Castro 2013). For students, it is an invaluable means to learn about the world as well as an asset that improves hiring prospects, as many organizations value the “international experience” of exchanges, international degrees, or internships. For PhD students and early career scholars, it fosters a strong international research network and visibility. For senior scholars, it is the basis for international co-publications, joint research grants and executive education opportunities. This mobility, however, comes at a price. Scholars have not only criticized the negative environmental impact of excessive mobility (e.g. Gill 2020), but have also pointed out the negative physiological, psychological, emotional and social effects of hypermobility (e.g. Cohen & Gossling 2015). Yet others highlight issues of inequality, accessibility and, ultimately, the basis of scientific knowledge production (Parker & Weik 2014). <br/> <br/>... In response, we formed a group called Organization Scientists for Future (OS4future) through an initial pledge to travel to the 2019 EGOS (European Group of Organization Studies) conference in Edinburgh by train, coach, bike or other low-carbon alternatives to flying. However, due to COVID-19, debates about holding academic conferences in person have halted. Faced with the alternative of missing organized academic exchange, scholars from different disciplines and communities have readily embraced virtual conference formats. We ourselves have been organizers and participants of many such events in 2020. In this chapter, we will share our practical experiences and ideas for sustainable forms of conference organizing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64 - 72
JournalZeitschrift für Diversitätsforschung und -management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502044 Business management
  • 504

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