Sub-theme 41: Equality and diversity in organization studies: Discovering new notions by revisiting common discourses

Regine Bendl
Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria
Mustafa Özbilgin
University of East Anglia, UK
Judith K. Pringle
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Call for Papers

In the past decades organizational researchers and practitioners have strived 'passionately' to mainstream equality and to bring more equity into the diversity within organizations. Most of them 'have indulged in their passion' for equality and equal opportunity and many 'have flown into a passion', being confronted with personal and organizational discourses of backlash, and kept at the periphery of organizations. But, their struggle and campaigning has resulted in equal opportunity programs, gender mainstreaming and diversity management interventions established around the globe. Nowadays gender mainstreaming, equal opportunities and diversity are discussed not only in politics but also in multinational corporations as well as local medium and small-sized firms. In other words, there exists already a prolific knowledge on implementing equality and equal opportunities for different groups across many local contexts. However, from an Organization Studies perspective all these bases of knowledge are characterized by disciplinary fragmentation and distinctions, which keep equality issues at the margins of mainstream organizational discourses.

For the purpose of this stream we aim to bring together international scholars from many disciplines in order to understand how we can reconcile contextually fragmented development of equality and diversity theories and discourses. We conceptualize context in the broadest sense of the word and envisage that it may include: different political blocs, nations or regions as well as businesses and non-profits organizations that may vary in size, structure or function.

In order to stimulate creative and innovative discussion that is aimed at extending and theorizing equality and diversity in organizations, we pose the following questions:

  • What patterns do the implementation of equality and diversity interventions follow across contexts?
  • What can we learn from different contexts in order to support the processes of organizational change in local settings?

  • What are the processes of knowing and doing in equal opportunities and diversity management? How do resources, rules and contexts moderate these?

  • What implicit and explicit knowledge has already been produced across different contexts (international, national, regional, sectoral, organizational and group)? How do communities of practice across these different contextual levels exchange knowledge and information on equality and diversity?

  • What knowledge maps can be designed in equal opportunity and diversity discourses?

  • What equal opportunity and diversity management knowledge has already entered organizational memories?

  • What do the awareness raising and awareness erasing processes operate in equality and diversity interventions?

  • How do organizational actors deal with contextual dissonance as they try to implement diversity and equality knowledge that may have originated from another national or organizational context?

  • To what extent, and how is organizational learning on equality and diversity in organizations evaluated?

Regine Bendl 
Mustafa Özbilgin 
Judith K. Pringle