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A History of the Southern Management Association
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Prepared by: David D. Van Fleet (Arizona State University), 
                       Arthur G. Bedeian (Louisiana State University), &
                       Daniel A. Wren (University of Oklahoma)  
The genesis of the Southern Management Association (SMA) may be traced almost as far back as the founding of the Academy of Management. The notion of forming an “Academy of Management” began to gain currency in 1933, with its initial organization meeting taking place in 1936. On October 29, 1938, the idea of a Southern association of management scholars was born, with management papers presented at a meeting of the Southern Economic Association (SEA) in Birmingham, Alabama. Thirteen years were to pass, however, before a second set of management papers was presented at the SEA annual meeting on November 17, 1951, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Particularly influential among this early group of management scholars were Gustav T. “Gus” Schwenning (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Edward H. "Andy" Anderson (University of Alabama), and Howard R. “Ted” Smith (University of Georgia). Andy was SEA president in 1955-56. Gus was a long-time managing editor of the Southern Economic Journal and a former SEA president (1947-48). Ted was SEA president in 1957-58, and founding chair of the University of Georgia’s Department of Management. During the 1950s, management papers were presented more regularly – in 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, and 1958 – and the possibility of a separate management program began to materialize.
The goal of a separate management program was realized in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 18, 1960, when Claude S. George, Jr. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), became the first Program Chair of the first full-fledged management program at an SEA meeting. This program included a seminar on “Managements Responsibilities,” a panel discussion on “Educating 1960s Managers,” and a luncheon address, “Research in Management” by Maurice D. Kilbridge (University of Chicago).
The following year a second separate management program was held (November 10, 1961) at the SEA meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. Leon C. Megginson, (Louisiana State University) served as Program Chair. Raymond V. Lesikar (Louisiana State University) chaired a session on “Recent Developments in Business Administration,” Bernard J. Bienvenu (Southwestern Louisiana University) chaired a session titled “Current Trends in Management Thinking,” in which William M. Fox (University of Florida) and Herbert G. Hicks (Louisiana State University) participated, and Allen H. Keally (University of Tennessee) chaired a session devoted to “The Theory and Philosophy of Management.”  As Leon was in Spain as Fulbright Research Scholar at the time, Curtis E. Tate, Jr. (University of Georgia) served as chair for the day’s luncheon. Building on the successful 1960 and 1961 programs, and following the lead of the Western Academy of Management (founded in 1960) and Midwest Academy of Management (founded in 1962), Bill Fox proposed that those in attendance formally organize as the Southern Division of the Academy of Management. Later that day in a book publisher’s hospitality suite, Herb Hicks was asked to chair a business meeting to deal with this proposal and, in turn, William V. Wilmot, Jr. (University of Florida) agreed to develop a constitution. Others involved in these early meetings included Bernard J. Bienvenu, Claude S. George, Jr., Joseph L. Massie (University of  Kentucky), Leon C. Megginson, James W. Reddoch (Louisiana State University), Bernard H. Sord (University of  Texas at Austin), and William W. Thompson, Jr. (Louisiana State University).
The Early Years
The 1962 SEA conference in Atlanta (November 8-10) included two blocks of time for management sessions. The first of these was a management luncheon and business meeting. Beforehand, Herb Hicks had circulated letters to deans and department chairmen to solicit names of potential members and generate interest in creating a regional management association. His efforts were successful and the nucleus of an emerging association appeared. At the scheduled business meeting, a great deal of emphasis was placed on formalizing a governance structure and establishing membership requirements. With this groundwork the Southern Management Association was officially chartered on November 9, 1962, at the Biltmore Hotel in Atlanta. Rollin H. “Rollie” Simonds (Michigan State University), who had helped organize the Midwest region, spoke to the members of the new association on “Regional Organization and Academy Affiliation,” and Bill Wilmot presented a proposed Constitution and By-Laws. Herb Hicks presided over the election of officers. Joe Massie was elected SMA’s first President, Bill Wilmot was elected Vice President and Program Chair, and Hicks was elected Secretary-Treasurer.



Past and Future Presidents at SMA’s 20th Annual Meeting (1982)
L-R: James M. Todd, Leon C. Megginson, Arthur G. Bedeian, Jay R. Knippen, John E. Logan, William M. Fox, Vince P. Luchsinger, Jr., William H. Holley, Jr., John F. DeVogt, Odgen H. Hall, Max B. Jones, Achilles A. Armenakis, W. Jack Duncan, Dennis F. Ray


By the fall 1963, there were 66 SMA members. The annual meeting, in continued cooperation with the SEA, was held in Roanoke, Virginia, on November 15-16. Bill Fox was elected SMA’s  second President; Charles R. (Scotty) Scott, Jr. (University of Alabama ) was elected President-Elect; Herb Hicks, was elected Vice President and Program Chair; and J. Earl Greene, Jr. (Georgia State University) was elected Secretary-Treasurer, Bernard J. Bienvenu, Frederick T. Brett (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), James E. Chapman (Georgia State University), John W. Darr (Mississippi State University), Robert L. Froemke (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), C. Rudy Milton (University of South Carolina), D. D. “Dick” Roman (Washington University), Curtis E. Tate, and Bill Wilmot became the first SMA Board of Directors.
Years of Growth
1964 through 1968 was a period of steady SMA growth, both in terms of membership and program content. By this time a precedent had been established whereby SMA past-presidents served as a nominating committee for officers and directors. To provide year-to-year continuity, in successive order, the Vice President and Program Chair succeeded to President-Elect and, finally, became President. Thus, Herb Hicks succeeded Charlie Scott as President in November 1965, and was followed by Claude George in 1966 and Burnie Sord in 1967. The first volume of SMA proceedings was published in 1964 under the editorship of John R. Thompson (University of Georgia). Beginning in 1966 and running through 1972, SMA in cooperation with the Southern Marketing Association and Southern Finance Association published The Southern Journal of Business. The Journal was succeeded by the Journal of Business Research in 1973. SMA co-sponsored the Journal of Business Research through 1975 with the Southern Marketing Association and the Southern Finance Association. The SMA proceedings for 1965 through 1969 are printed in the first five volumes of The Southern Journal of Business. The proceedings of the 1970 SMA meeting appear in a stand-alone volume edited by Robert L. King (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). The 1971 SMA proceedings were published under the editorship of Richard E. Dutton (University of South Florida - Tampa). A more permanent arrangement for publishing SMA proceedings was established the following year when Dennis F. Ray and Thad B. Green (both of Mississippi State University) took on the proceedings co-editorship. Dennis either edited or co-edited the proceedings every year until 1992. In 2000, the proceedings were published in a digital format for the first time, with Steve H. Barr serving as editor. 
For many years, SMA followed the tradition of meeting with the SEA and other “allied associations” in Atlanta every other year and in alternate locations throughout the Southeast Region in intervening years. Thus SMA met at the Atlanta Biltmore in 1964, the Deauville in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1965, the Marriott in Atlanta in 1966, and the Jung Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1967. By 1968, the combined membership of SEA and the allied associations could no longer be accommodated in a single hotel. The tradition of returning to Atlanta in alternating years had to be temporarily suspended. Consequently, SMA met in the Washington in 1968, in St. Louis, in Atlanta 1970, and Miami in 1971. At this time, SEA was not as responsive as wished to the needs of the “allied associations,” and arrangements were made with the Southern Marketing Association, Southern Finance Association, Southern Risk and Insurance Association, and Southern Business Administration Association (SBAA; composed of regional deans) to form the Allied Southern Business Association. It was agreed that ASBA would meet annually, alternating over the next ten years between the then new Hilton Hotels in Atlanta and New Orleans. Over the years, ASBA supported other cognate groups, including the Case Writers Association, the Association of Graduate Business Directors, the Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, the Academy of International Business (Southeast Chapter), and the Association for Global Business. ASBA was administered by an Executive Director who negotiated space, guest rooms, meals, banquets, and other needs on behalf of each allied association. The ASBA presidency alternated between the between the presidents of SMA and the Southern Marketing Association. SBAA continued its association with ASBA until 1980, the Southern Finance Association and the Southern Risk and Insurance Association until 1982, and the Southern Marketing Association (now the Society for Marketing Advances) until 2002, at which time ASBA was dissolved. L. Louise Luchsinger (Texas Tech University) served as the first ASBA Executive Director, followed by Thomas D. Moore (University of Alabama), John R. “Rusty” Brooks (Houston Baptist University), Ronald D. Taylor (Mississippi State University), and Geralyn M. Franklin (Stephen F. Austin State University). 
Over the years, it has remained the SMA Vice President and Program Chair’s responsibility to solicit high-quality papers that would have wide appeal to annual meeting attendees. To this end, Robert M. Fulmer (Georgia State University) issued a general call rather than specifically inviting papers for presentation. This helped ensure that program participation was representative of the general SMA membership. 
The real unsung SMA heroes in the early years were those dedicated members who served as Secretary-Treasurer. The longest to serve in this post was John T. DeVogt (Washington & Lee University). For many SMA members, John was the first familiar face they encountered as they made their way toward the meeting registration desk. John and his wife Ann spent countless hours registering new members, maintaining membership rosters and dues. James M. Todd (University of Memphis) succeeded John as Secretary-Treasurer in 1969.
A Turning Point
By November, 1969, SMA faced two obstacles to its continued success. By their nature, professional associations have a tendency to take themselves a bit too seriously. This possibility was quickly allayed when Bernard Bienvenu took the podium and opened the annual SMA meeting in St. Louis. His urbane charm, down-to-earth good humor, and Cajun hospitality established a warm climate that defied pomposity as well as the cold, wet winter weather. In the spirit of the day, Richard I. “Dick” Levin (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) rose and challenged the membership by questioning whether there really were such things as “Management Principles.” His comments appear in the October, 1970, Southern Business Journal under the title “The Management Discipline: Its Function and Future.” 


Academy of Management Presidents at SMA’s 20th Annual Meeting (1982)
L-R: Dennis F. Ray (SMA Past President), Max S. Wortman, John B. Miner, Dalton E. McFarland, Rosemary Pledger, John W. Slocum, Jr. (Academy President-elect), Keith Davis, Arthur G. Bedeian (SMA President-elect), Max D. Richards


The second hurdle SMA confronted in 1969 was whether it could sustain its growth in membership and annual meeting attendance, but yet continue meeting in locations outside the South. This fear, however, proved groundless. Twelve different paper sessions were scheduled from noon Thursday to noon Saturday, with attendance at many presentations standing room only. Convened in Atlanta in 1970, the SMA annual program format underwent a dramatic change. Academy of Management President William B. Wolf (Cornell University) had introduced a plan to structure the Academy into professional divisions. Leon Megginson, as SMA Program Chair, opted to follow suit. 
By 1974, SMA President Daniel A. Wren (Florida State University) had initiated a series of membership awards. A major milestone was achieved in 1975 when the Journal of Management was first published. Initially a semiannual publication with one number featuring the “best papers” presented at the annual SMA meeting, Dennis F. Ray was the Journal's  founding Editor. Whereas everyone generally agreed on the new journal’s name (initially suggested by Dennis), there was a lively discussion as to whether its scope should be regional (showcasing research by SMA members) or national. Today the Journal is recognized as one of the discipline’s preeminent international journals. The August, 2006, issue of the Journal features a history of its first 30 years.

1982-83 SMA Board and Officers
Front Row, L-R:  David D. Van Fleet, Robert L. Trewatha, Arthur G. Bedeian, Dennis F. Ray, Sally A. Coltrin
Back Row, L-R:  William H. Holley, B. Wayne Kemp, H. Kirk Downey, Donald D. White, W. Jack Duncan, Achilles A. Armenakis, Walter B. Newson, Richard E. Dutton
Not pictured:  T.W. Bonham, Terry L. Leap, W. Alan Randolph


The inaugural SMA Doctoral Consortium, coordinated by Arthur G. Bedeian (Louisiana State University), was held in 1984. In 1989, SMA President James G. “Jerry” Hunt (Texas Tech University) asked Academy of Management Fellows W. Jack Duncan (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Art Bedeian, and Keith Davis (Arizona State University) to investigate creating a SMA Fellows Group. A breakfast for Founding Fellows was held on November 7, 1991, in Atlanta. The Founding Fellows, all Fellows of the Academy of Management, were Art Bedeian, Jack Duncan, Bill Fox, Bob Fulmer, Theodore T. Herbert, Jerry Hunt, Leon Megginson, Dennis Ray, Max S. Wortman, and Dan Wren. Jerry Hunt was selected as Founding Dean at this meeting. The Fellowship was formally recognized by the SMA Board in 1993, and held its first meeting in 1994.


1998 SMA Fellows Meeting
L-R: Myron D. Fottler, David D. Van Fleet, Daniel A. Wren, Ricky W. Griffin, Theodore T. Herbert, Arthur G. Bedeian, Bernard J. Keys, Achilles A. Armenakis, W. Jack Duncan, James G. Hunt, Archie B. Carroll, Charles R. Greer, and Kevin W. Mossholder


A year later, the Southern Management Association Institute (SMAI) was founded by Robert C. Ford (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Jerry Hunt. Initially SMAI was conceived as a way to help faculty become professionally qualified for AACSB purposes through a systematic offering of preconvention workshops and programs to be conducted by SMA Fellows. It quickly evolved into a series of workshops for faculty to update their teaching and research skills, much like the SMA doctoral consortia serve students. The SMAI was created to serve SMA members beyond sponsoring normal competitive paper sessions and to facilitate both teaching and research. By 2003, the SMAI annual program featured a New Faculty Consortium, a Doctoral Consortium, a research methods workshop, a session titled “Ask the Experts,” and a session on teaching. SMAI was renamed the Professional Development Institute in 2007 to more accurately reflect its expanded mission. 
Completing the First Half Century
SMA was formally incorporated in 2001. The Journal of Management instituted a “best article” award that year and Sherry E. Sullivan (Bowling Green State University) led the development of the Sustained Outstanding Service Award a year later. In 2003, Jerry Hunt was named first recipient of the SMA Sustained Outstanding Service Award. That same year Gayle Baugh initiated the Networking Breakfast. In 2004, Sage Publications became the publisher for the Journal of Management. That same year, nearly 200 different schools were represented at the SMA annual meeting. In 2004, SMA membership topped 1000 for the first time, with members located in 47 states and 34 countries, making SMA an international association. 2005 saw the development of a new SMA logo, a new SMA website, as well as changes to online registration, submissions, and member updates. 

2006 SMA Fellows Meeting: Front L-R: Terri A. Scandura, K. Michele Kacmar, Pamela Perrewé, James G. Hunt Back L-R: William L. Gardner, Robert C. Ford, Sherry Sullivan, Kevin W. Mossholder, Mark Martinko, Anson Seers, W. Jack Duncan, Myron D. Fottler, David D. Van Fleet, Daniel A. Wren, Theodore T. Herbert


In 2008 SMA’s annual service award was renamed the James G. (Jerry) Hunt Sustained Outstanding Service Award in Jerry’s memory. In 2008, the SMA Research Incubator was launched. Here a group of SMA members and senior scholars collaborate to develop proposals with SMA funds to help the members complete and publish their research. The 2010 conference saw the integration of SMA’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) throughout the annual SMA program to widen its availability to members. In recognition of SMA’s growing multinational membership, in 2011, the Board partnered with the Eastern Academy of Management International (EAMI) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIMB) to hold the first SMA international conference. That same year the Board decided to offer two annual doctoral consortia, one for students beginning their doctoral programs and the other for those at later stages. In 2012 a Collaboration Luncheon was arranged where SMA members who share particular research and teaching interests could meet and exchange ideas. That year eight discussions were held at the collaborative luncheon with topics ranging from organizational politics to the future of strategic management research to using social media in the classroom to organizing student trips abroad.  

In 2014, Micki Kacmar introduced various annual program innovations, including the Town Hall meeting where members interact with SMA’s leadership, research “speed dating,” an “Act on Your Research” session, and local company tours.

As the SMA moves into its second half-century, its mission has been refined to more clearly reflect the values, traditions, and aspirations of this now, truly international scholarly association. A challenge for the future will be to maintain the informal, collegial atmosphere of the past while continuing to expand both nationally and internationally.

Original prepared by: Max B. Jones (Old Dominion University) and David D. Van Fleet (Arizona State University), 1995.
Revised by: Revised by: David D. Van Fleet (Arizona State University), Arthur G. Bedeian (Louisiana State University), and Daniel A. Wren (University of Oklahoma), 2011; Updated 2015

Source Material

Dutton, R. E. (Ed.). (1972). 1971 Proceedings of the Southern Management Association. Tampa FL.
King, R. L. (Ed.). (1971). Abstracts from the 1970 Annual Meetings: Southern Finance Association, Southern Management Association, Southern Marketing Association. Blacksburg: VA.
Padgett, J. H. (Ed.). (1985). History: Southern Business Administration Association – 1964-1985.Rock Hill, SC. Retrieved May 2, 2011 from
Thompson, J. R., & Kreps, C. H., Jr. (Eds). (1965). 1964 Proceedings of the Southern Marketing Association, the Southern Management Association, and the Southern Finance Association. Athens, GA: Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Georgia.
Van Fleet, D. D. (1986). “Regional Divisions of the Academy of Management.”  In D.A. Wren (Ed.), Papers Dedicated to the Development of Modern Management: Celebrating 100 Years of Modern Management and the 50th Anniversary of The Academy of Management. Academy of Management, 95-104.
Van Fleet, D. D. with Ray, D. F., Bedeian, A. G.., Downey, H. K., Hunt, J. G., Griffin, R. W., Dalton, D. R., Vecchio, R. P., Kacmar, K. M., & Feldman, D. C. (2006). “The Journal of Management’s First 30 Years.”  Journal of Management, 32(4): 477-506.


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