Dear GABC Participants and Friends,
We are excited to announce a partnership between Global Advances in Business Communication (GABC) and the Association for Business Communication (ABC), an organization many of you know, and some of you already have joined as members. While this partnership may become permanent, both organizations' leadership teams have agreed to a trial period that will extend from 2021 through 2023.
Many of you received a more general email encouraging you to submit to the October 2021 13th Annual GABC Tricontinental Annual Conference with the 86th Annual ABC International Conference. This email is intended to provide more detailed information and background to our proposed ABC/GABC partnership.
Why Now? We chose this period because ABC will host its 88th Annual International Conference in Seoul, South Korea, in 2023. As some of you know, GABC had already agreed to participate as partners for that event, previously scheduled for this year. COVID-19 impacted the timing for that conference. We hope that by joining together in the intervening years between now and 2023, we will realize some short- and long-term benefits of our partnership.
Background. One question some of you may ask is why partner with ABC? The simple reason is that both organizations have a similar core, disciplinary focus: Business Communication. The second reason is that ABC has now begun to fulfill its stated goal of internationalization. When David Victor was ABC’s president in the 1990s, he encouraged the organization to recognize business communication's international nature. In the interim -- to fill that vacuum -- David worked with colleagues at the University of Antwerp, Delhi College of Business, ITESM and Delhi College of Business to provide a more “tricontinental” business communication conference and journal. The result became the GABC Conference and Journal, initiatives without ties to any one particular geographic or cultural center. Over the last 30 years, the ABC extended its reach beyond North America. It created four new regions and began hosting regional conferences in those regions, most specifically Asia and the Pacific, and Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Both of these regions have held more than ten conferences.
When Jim Dubinsky was ABC’s president in the late 2000s, he was a significant influence in the second push to internationalize. Now as Executive Director, with the help of ABC leaders from across the globe serving as elected officers (e.g., Bertha Du-Babcock, Hiro Hayashida and Geert Jacobs among others), Jim has encouraged ABC to move beyond its North American roots. In 2017, ABC held an event in Dublin, Ireland. And, as mentioned, ABC had scheduled its 86th Annual Conference in 2021 in Seoul before COVID-19.
Support for and Scope of Partnership. Please note that the proposed partnership has the full support of the GABC co-hosting universities: Eastern Michigan University, the University of Antwerp, the Technological University of Malaysia and the Delhi College of Business. Likewise the proposed partnership has the full support of ABC’s Board of Directors. The result is that GABC and ABC have agreed to participate in 2021 and 2022 conferences, which will be either virtual or hybrid, and if hybrid, will be held in the US. Both organizations will partner with other business communication organizations, such as the Korean Association for Business Communication (KABC) and the Japanese Business Communication Association (JBCA), for the 2023 event.
This year, ABC is hoping to hold a hybrid event, which will include a robust virtual component. We expect to make a final decision by 1 April due to the positive outcomes of the vaccines and everyone’s desire to see people in person, even if we still have to practice some healthy social distancing protocols. We want to offer all participants the opportunity to experience and benefit from both virtual and physical components.
In 2020, ABC held an entirely virtual conference using Pathable. Sessions, whether presented live or pre-recorded, became available on-demand afterward. Other live, virtual activities were also recorded and made available. For this year's 86th Annual International Conference, should we be able to host a portion of the conference in a physical location, ABC is investigating options to record and upload to the virtual conference platform as many presentations as possible. At least two physical presentations will be streamed live via Zoom and also recorded/uploaded. As a result, should the event be hybrid, every participant will have the opportunity to participate fully in physical and virtual sessions.
Benefits and Details of Joint 86th ABC Conference/13th GABC Annual Conference
Two-for-One Proposal Submission Opportunity
For this 86th ABC/ 13th GABC Annual Conference, the six GABC-specific tracks have been added to the conference website. These tracks include
- Cross-cultural communication in global business exchanges
- Global integrated marketing communication (IMC) and public relations
- International business ethics and corporate social responsibility
- Use of language in business and professional communication
- Artificial intelligence, digital business, and cross-cultural communication
- Diversity and inclusion in international communications
As a presenter, you may choose to focus solely on the GABC tracks. However, all participants may submit one proposal to each event. Thus, all participants have a two-for-one opportunity by submitting proposals to GABC and ABC tracks.
Long-Term, On-Demand Access to Conference
ABC uses Pathable <https://pathable.com> as the virtual platform. Among the advantages of Pathable is the long-term, on-demand access to conference materials. The joint conference provides both GABC and ABC participants access to Pathable. Thus, this year’s event will offer the same flexibility and benefits: on-demand and long-term access to all conference materials.
GABC and ABC will use the same conference website (ABC conference page). GABC and ABC will use the same submission and registration system. By joining ABC, you will have two potential discounts: discounted member rate for the conference + 10% discounted registration rate for being a new member.
Through the partnership, there will be one conference program, one registration fee/process, and one schedule to facilitate the ease of participating and attending sessions in both the GABC and ABC conferences.
Shared Conference Proceedings
All submissions are eligible for the conference proceedings. GABC will have a separate section in the proceedings. Simply explained: all participants are given the option to include their conference proposal in the proceedings. If you submit to ABC’s tracks, your proposal would be in ABC’s section of the proceedings; similarly, if you submit to GABC’s tracks, your proposal would be in GABC’s section of the proceedings. GABC will be following this letter with a Call for Proposals shortly.
Conclusion. David Victor and some of his closest colleagues began GABC because they were dedicated to global perspectives in business communication. Now that ABC has moved so decisively towards internationalization, joining together makes sense. It is almost as if a family is reuniting.
We hope you will take advantage of the opportunities to join with ABC’s members and participate in what will be the first joint conference that represents the broadest international perspectives in our discipline.
Please direct all questions to:
Gail Cruise and Susan Schanne
David A. Victor, PhD
Professor of Management and International Business
Editor-in-Chief, Global Advances in Business Communication Journal
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti MI 48197
James M. Dubinsky, PhD
Associate Professor, Rhetoric & Writing, Virginia Tech
Past President/Current Executive Director, Association for Business Communication (ABC)