Sub-theme 19: (Re-)Designing and Broadening the Study of Mobility, Movement and Migration

Steve McKenna
School of Human Resource Management, York University, Toronto, Canada
M.N. Ravishankar
School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK
David Thomas Henderson Weir
Business School, University Campus Suffolk, UK

Call for Papers


The postcolonial thinker Edward Said (1978, 1993) noted that migration was the great marker of our time and that with the increasing global movement of people there would be increasing 'inter-cultural' contact. When viewed through the 'lens' of organization studies, the processes and types of mobility, movement and migration in today's 'globalized' environment present interesting possibilities for the reformulation and reconsideration of the idea of mobility and movement in the context of organizations and organizing. In particular, there seems to be much room for redesigning the study of mobility and movement in organization studies, whether corporate or self-initiated, from sociological or critical perspectives. This redesign means developing frames of reference and architectures that examine/explore mobility within broader sociological frames of movement, networks, spatiality and temporality. To that extent, it may be that concepts like 'expatriation' and 'international assignee', have 'passed their sell-by date' and what is now required is scholarship that embraces a broader understanding of movement and mobility. Such a task initially requires recognition of the work undertaken in these areas in other scholarly disciplines, particularly sociology.

We suggest that redesigning scholarship in this way places the 'idea' of mobility at the centre of research design and thus answer's Urry's (2000) call for scholarship for a sociology beyond societies to focus on movement, mobility and contingent ordering rather than structure, systems and social order. It also facilitates and encourages a broader range of sociological and critical work on the relationship between mobility and topics that have relevance for organizations and organizing, such as, global networks and 'inter-cultural' encounters, the society/people mobility interface. In addition, redesigning scholarship on global mobility in particular facilitates the consideration of different types of people movement in the context of global 'development' and global capitalism. It would also acknowledge and embrace recent arguments that movement implies the crossing of space and new forms of spatial contact, which further problematizes how such contact can be conceptualized. We might also consider the implications of this movement for organizations and organizing.

In keeping with the tradition of active debate at EGOS Colloquia, we encourage submissions from both junior and more senior scholars. While we are open to a broad range of submissions, topics might include:

  • Postcolonial perspectives on mobility and movement
  • Sociological approaches to the 'Other' and the 'Stranger'
  • Re-designing and re-defining 'expatriation' into broader global issues and categories of mobility, movement and migration
  • The response to and reaction of the State to the incoming and outgoing globally mobile
  • Forms and designs of mobility and movement
  • Places, spaces and mobility and movement
  • Ethnicity, gender, mobility and movement
  • Networks and movement and mobility
  • Contexts of mobility and movement
  • Unconventional approaches to the study of mobility and movement
  • Family and mobility and movement
  • The impact of global mobility and movement on identity and identity-regulation


Said, E.W. (1978): Orientalism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.
Said, E.W. (1993): Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage
Urry, J. (2000): Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Twenty-first Century. London: Routledge


Steve McKenna Dr Steve McKenna is Professor of Human Resource Management at York University, Toronto. His research interests include global mobility, postcolonial approaches to management and organization studies and the processes involved in ‘learning to work’. He co-convened a sub-theme at EGOS in 2007 from which came a special issue of the Journal of Management Development on ‘Managing, managerial control and managerial identity in the post-bureaucratic world’. He has published articles in Organization, Management Learning, International Journal of Human Resource Management and Management International Review.
M.N. Ravishankar Dr. M.N. Ravishankar is a Senior Lecturer in International Business & Strategy in the School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from Bangalore University, India and a Ph.D. degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS). His research interests span offshore outsourcing of work and culture in global organisations. Ravi’s approach to the collection and analyses of empirical material draw inspiration from the interpretive world-view and typically he adopts the case study and ethnography methods in his work. Ravi’s research has been accepted for publication in leading international journals such as Information Systems Research, Journal of Vocational Behaviour and Omega.
David Thomas Henderson Weir Professor David Weir is Professor of Intercultural Management at Liverpool Hope University and Head of the Business School. He is also Emeritus Professor of the University of Northumbria, Visiting Professor in Management Development Lancaster University, Visiting Professor Bristol Business School, Professor Affilie, ESC Rennes, France and Distinguished Visiting Professor, ETQM College, Dubai. He is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management and the author of several books including the best selling “Modern Britain “series. He is currently completing a book on “Management in the Arab world”.