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Creating Uncertainty International Conference


Call for papers
International conference on

Creating uncertainty: Benefits for individuals,
teams, and organizations

Centro Stefano Franscini
Ascona, Switzerland
July 1-5, 2018

Gudela Grote (ETH Zürich)
Mark Griffin (University of Western Australia)

We are pleased to announce an exciting academic conference for 2018 that will explore the benefits fo uncrtainty for individuals, teams, and organizations. The conference brings together scholars from many disciplines seeking to reframe the way we understand uncertainty.

Aims of the conference
Uncertainty is ubiquitous in our lives. Individuals make decisions and pursue goals on the basis of restricted and ambiguous information; teams learn to respond to changed task demands and situations; organizations adapt to unpredictable environments to survive. Because uncertainty creates challenges, negative consequence such as individual stress and organizational disruption have been the dominant research focus. Indeed, the overarching goal of much management research has been to help organizations reduce uncertainty and increase predictability and control. However, in a world of rapid change, this search for stability is neither tenable nor desirable. It is time to ask how uncertainty may play a more generative role in social systems and how deliberately creating uncertainty can be beneficial for growth and adaptation.

Keynote speakers
John Carroll, MIT
Carsten De Dreu, University of Amsterdam
Michael Hogg, Claremont Graduate School
Steve Kozlowski, Michigan State University
Marianne Lewis, City, University of London

Program of the conference
The conference will bring together about 70 senior and junior researchers. The program will be organized around the three levels of analysis, individual, team, and organization, and different approaches to uncertainty management found, for instance, in research on innovation, individual and organizational change, and risk management. Research domains are favored that lends themselves to comparative analyses based on differences in the readiness to embrace uncertainty, the organizational controls in place to manage uncertainty, and the ease with which success and failure can be determined. Topics for debate will be, for instance, the role of uncertainty in forming personal identities, tensions between creativity and risk avoidance in teams, the interplay between creating and reducing uncertainty during organizational change, and strategic balancing of innovation and risk. The program of the conference will include keynote speeches, paper sessions, where researchers will present their conceptual and empirical work, and discussion sessions in smaller groups. Parallel paper sessions will be formed around topical tracks where participants continue discussions from one paper session to the next. In a final plenary, input from the various groups will be sought to define a future research agenda for further exploring the proposed new paradigm of uncertainty management.

Organization of the conference
The conference will begin with a reception and welcome dinner on July 1, 2018. Track and plenary sessions will run from July 2 to 4. The conference will end in the evening of July 4 with dinner and a closing social event. In the spirit of Monte Verità conferences, participants are expected to stay for the whole period of the conference. For moreinformation on the Centro Stefano Franscini, please see

The conference registration fee is 200 CHF; full board and lodging for the entire conference will be approximately 750 CHF, depending on the chosen accommodation. A number of grants will be available for PhD students.

January 31, 2018: Declaration of intent to submit an abstract.
February 28, 2018: Submission of extended abstracts (approx. 1000 words) relating to any of the topics listed above; mention of interest in receiving a PhD student grant.
March 31, 2018: Notification of acceptance of submissions.
June 15, 2018: Submission of full papers.
Please submit all required documents by email to both conveners.

We look forward to welcoming you to the conference

Professor Gudela Grote, ETH Zürich
Professor Mark Griffin, University of Western Australia
Further information