On Saturday, March 25 I was privileged through a travel grant from Chapman University to present my research at the Western Academy of Management Conference at the Hotel Renaissance resort Palm Springs CA. Western Academy of Management is an annual meeting for scholars in the field of management – representing academic research from organizational behavior, organizational theory, entrepreneurship and strategic management. The conference likes to celebrate cutting edge and grounded phenomenon type research, which over the years they have coined as “Wammy.”  My research with Dr. Darcy Fudge Kamal and Dr. Coskuner-Balli was on the business of breastfeeding and how trust and power affects information diffusion in buyer-supplier relationships.  Despite American Pediatric Association and World Health Organization recommendations, the adoption of breastfeeding remains relatively low in the United States. We proposed that this may stem from issues of trust between hospitals, channel intermediaries such as lactation consultants, facing power imbalances with new parents.

Chapman University was well-represented in the conference program, from the business school Professors Giannantonio, Hurley-Hanson, Nistor, Turk, Yalcin and Ybarra presented their research. Professors Giannantonio and Hurley-Hanson had arranged a conference symposium on autism in the workplace bridging several interdisciplinary scholarly projects being carried out at Chapman.  There was another interesting session on engagement and participation at work looking at the interplay between behaviors at work and their effect on home-life outcomes.  I also attended a workshop on qualitative research methodology hosted by several renowned scholars such as Jean Bartunek, Bob Gephart, Roy Suddaby, Tomas Greckhamer, Christine Trank, and Sebnem Cilesiz. We had the opportunity to network with top management scholars and attend education sessions which were wonderful learning experiences.

Our session was on information diffusion and practice adoption.  The presentation was a round table discussion style, and each table had three teams from different schools. Each presenter gave a 5-minutes oral presentation of their research. At the end of each presentation, the moderator provided feedback on the presentation. The other presenters at our session were two students from the University of Victoria who presented their research on how within country linguistic distance influences the transfer and adoption of strategic practices by subsidiaries within multinational organizations. The third paper in our session was presented by two students from the University of Southern California, whose presentation was about theoretical and practical relevant adaptation-fit-sustainability relationship in mental health organizations. Another Chapman student, Angela King, presented in a similar roundtable session on organizational crises, based on her work investigating firm exits from the Thoroughbred Horse industry which she studied with Dr. Fudge Kamal and Dr. Nistor. This session also featured Daniel Jacobs from Loyola Marymount University who compared the management decisions surrounding the BP Gulf disaster in Louisiana of 2010 to the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon Methane Leak of 2015.

I would like to thank Dr. Fudge Kamal and Dr. Coskuner-Balli for their enormous support, guidance and motivation.  I would also like to thank Chapman University for supporting my travel to the conference. As a dual degree MS Food Science/MBA student, I found WAM17 very interesting and rewarding.