Sub-theme 27: Revealing Processes of Design and Change: Organizations in Transforming Societies

Anna Soulsby
Nottingham University Business School, UK
Rebecca Piekkari
School of Economics, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
Rainhart Lang
Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany

Call for Papers


This sub-theme seeks to bring together researchers from all over the world who have studied organization and management in transforming societies and emerging economies from a multiplicity of disciplines. We invite empirical industry-based and organizational research grounded in any methodological stance, but also encourage purely theoretical contributions. We believe that the ambiguous and turbulent nature of transforming and emerging societies offers a valuable research opportunity for scholars to study processes of organizing as the normally hidden and taken-for-granted assumptions and understandings are either not yet in place or are still being negotiated.

Studying processes of change in transforming societies and emerging economies enables scholars to explore, in a more detailed way, the successful and unsuccessful processes of organizations stuck in historical routines maladapted to current circumstances. At the same time, it is also important to examine the real problems of actors in choosing between strategies and attempting to organize changes in structure and process. We need to be sensitive to the influence of differences in national culture, institutional environment, industrial sector specifics, organizational form, and so on. To gain additional insight into these effects, the convenors seek participation from different countries and regions across the world, including Asia, South America and Africa. We are convinced that studies of the various forms of experimental change and process involved in organizational transformation within the wider, challenging context of transforming and emerging societies can serve to advance organization theory in a significant way.

Areas of interest


Studies on organizational changes in transformational settings, such as European post-socialism, and Asian, African and South American transitions, other developing countries and emergent market economies. Topics might include:

  • Studies on the active role of owners, managers, and other actors and their alliances in designing processes and the re-institutionalisation of management structures, systems and practices
  • Studies of new, emergent forms of organization and organizing under conditions of radical environmental change, resulting from international, regional and national pressures, including influences such as foreign direct investment, joint ventures, knowledge transfers and organizational learning
  • Power, resistance and micro political responses to imposed organizational forms
  • Processes of organizational identity change
  • Processes of cooperation and trust in international joint ventures
  • Privatization processes and changing structures of organizational and managerial control
  • Processes of organizational restructuring and cultural change
  • Comparative studies across different countries and different organizational forms
  • Process studies of language-based shadow structures and informal communication flows in organizations
  • Methodological papers on the issues surrounding the study of organizational process and change in these challenging contexts

We would welcome papers from researchers working across a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods in the above mentioned fields.


Anna Soulsby Anna’s research focuses on organizational transformation in transforming and emerging societies. Since 1991, she has been engaged in a longitudinal study of organizational change in central and eastern Europe. Her work has been published in leading journals such as 'Organization Studies', 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Human Relations', 'International Journal of Human Resource Management'. In 2007, she was the guest editor (with Ed Clark) of a special issue of 'Human Relations': Organization Theory and the Post-Socialist Transformation. She is also the author (with E. Clark) of Organizational Change in Post-Communist Europe: Management and Transformation in the Czech Republic. (1999, Routledge).
Rebecca Piekkari Research interests focus on the challenges of managing people in multinational organisations. Rebecca has also written about the use of qualitative research methods, particularly case studies in international business and management. Her work has been published in the 'Journal of International Business Studies‘, 'Management International Review‘ and 'Organizational Research Methods‘.
Rainhart Lang Research interests: organizational culture, leadership and organizational transformation in transforming and emerging societies. Rainhart’s work has been published in journals such as 'Journal of World Business‘, 'Scandinavian Journal of Management' and 'Human Resource Development International'. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal for East European Management Studies.