Sub-theme 68: Power and Inequality: Organizing and Organization in Transforming Societies and Emerging Economies

Anna Soulsby
Nottingham University Business School, UK
Rainhart Lang
Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany
Thomas Steger
University of Regensburg, Germany

Call for Papers

This sub-theme seeks to bring together researchers studying change in organization and management in transforming societies and emerging economies. The ambiguous and turbulent nature of these societies offers a challenging and valuable opportunity for scholars to examine the nature and exercise of power. This is because the processes of organizational change as the normally hidden and taken-for-granted assumptions and understandings are either not yet in place or are still being negotiated.

We are interested in studies of the various forms of exercise of power, in particular, between unequal organizational partners in joint ventures; or the imposition of organizational change on local actors in acquired organizations; or changes in local management and employment practices. We believe studies located within the challenging context of transforming and emerging societies can serve to advance organization theory in a significant way. Studying processes of power enables researchers to explore the successful and unsuccessful responses of organizational actors when confronted with radical environmental changes and challenges to adapt to new rules and frameworks.

To gain additional insight into these processes, the convenors seek participation from different countries and regions across the world. Potential areas of interest include: studies of organizational change in transforming settings, e.g. European post-communist societies and developing societies in Asia, Africa and South America undergoing transition.

Topics might include:

  • Power, resistance and micro-political responses to organizational change by managers and workers to imposed organizational structures and practices
  • Studies of the active role of owners and managers in designing processes and the re-institutionalisation of management structures, systems and practices
  • Processes of power, politics, co-operation and trust in international joint ventures
  • Privatisation processes and changing structures of organizational and managerial power and control
  • 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, asymmetrical joint ventures, knowledge transfers and organizational learning
  • Dilemmas, contradictions and unresolved phenomena associated with processes of organizing and organization in transforming societies and emerging economies
  • Organizational identity change and processes of power and politics
  • Process studies of power and language-based shadow structures and informal communication flows in organizations
  • Methodological papers on the issues surrounding the study of power, 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. We invite empirical industry-based and organizational research grounded in any methodological stance, but also encourage purely theoretical contributions.


Anna Soulsby is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, UK. Her research focuses on organizational and managerial change in transforming and emerging societies.
Rainhart Lang is Professor of Organization Studies at the Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany. His research focuses on organizational culture, leadership and organizational transformation in transforming and emerging societies.
Thomas Steger is Professor of Leadership and Organization at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His research focuses on corporate governance (especially boards of directors) and employee owned companies.