Sub-theme 60: Shadowing Diversity Issues to Exploit Power Dynamics and Innovation Processes in Organization [merged with sub-theme 66]

Séverine Le Loarne
Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Filomena Buonocore
Parthenope University of Naples, Italy
Marcello Russo
Kedge Business School, France

Call for Papers

A review of extant literatures suggests that scholars in innovation management have consistently excluded gender issues (Henry et al., 2015). Recently, however, there has been renewed interest in exploring the impact of gender on innovation processes (Danilda & Thorslund, 2011; Le Loarne & Gnan, 2015). Three combined research trends help explain such resurgence: the growing interest on female entrepreneurship over the past 20 years, the denunciation of the glass ceiling effect experienced by women in their careers and, finally, the need to study more carefully creativity and innovation processes within organisations, in different sectors and at the country level.

This sub-theme aims to attract scholars to engage further with this avenue of inquiry to help enhance understanding of the gender effect on innovation processes by investigating two related debates, as outlined below.

The first debate we have identified relates to the general lack of women within innovation processes, especially with regard to high tech innovation (Busolt & Kugele, 2009), and how scholars struggle to find a comprehensive model to explain this deficit. Relevant questions could include, for example, to what degree is education and women’s apparent lack of interest in technical phenomena responsible? Do women suffer more from a glass ceiling effect within high tech organizations and, as a consequence, is their role limited within an organization's innovation processes? The answers to such questions may require reconceptualising extant definitions of innovation processes that have to date been mostly associated to R&D and high technology environments (Tidd & Bessant, 2005), which could in themselves be considered essentially ‘masculine’ definitions (Bourdieu, 1998).

The second debate we propose relates to gender issues in innovation processes and concerns the existence of perceived differences between males and females in terms of creativity (Baer & Kaufman, 2008). To date, no real consensus has been reached in this regard. More precisely, while some scholars claim that differences in the creative outputs of men and women do exist, they have not succeeded in defining the nature of such differences. For example, Galia et al. (2015) note the presence of more radical innovations when executive boards are opened to women; recent ethnographic studies assume that women and men designers propose different innovative outputs (Petersson, 2015); women propose more pragmatic solutions. This lack of consensus and the particular gender posture of the researcher (Ahl, 2006) lead to a discussion on the appropriate methods for grasping the topic of gender issues in innovation processes (Henry et al., 2015).

In this sub-theme we welcome papers that can contribute to one of these two debates. More precisely, but not exhaustively, we invite papers that consider the following subtopics:

  • New Theories for re-questioning gender issues within innovation processes and, more over, new perspectives in innovation management. Most of the literature is grounded on the theory of creativity and organizational creativity (Amabile, 1988). This sub-theme is calling for new theoretical approaches;
  • New Methods for re-questioning gender issues within innovation processes;
  • New Research Fields: most of the research in innovation management is conducted within R&D services or within project management. This sub-theme welcomes research that has been conducted in non-traditional research fields, as well as typically male-dominated or female-dominated fields.

Thus, the sub-theme welcomes research related to gender and innovation processes within big or small organizations, both commercially-driven and non-profit ventures. While conceptual papers are welcome, we especially welcome empirical contributions. Following Busolt et al. (2006), Ahl & Marlow (2012) and Bruton et al. (2012), particular attention will be given to contributions that deal with real comparisons across genders. The following are examples of some (non-exhaustive) topics related to the debate that we would like to raise within the sub-theme:

  • Gender and organizational bricolage
  • Gender within the creative process
  • Social networks, gender and creativity
  • Decision making processes within SMEs: differences across genders
  • Intrapreneurship and gender
  • Gender and strategies of growth
  • Gender and innovative business opportunity recognition
  • Gender and the financing of innovative projects
  • Gender and the decision making process within the organization




  • Ahl, H. (2006): "Why Research on Women Entrepreneurs needs new Directions." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30 (5), 595–621.
  • Ahl, H., & Marlow, S. (2012): "Exploring the Dynamics of Gender, Feminism and Entrepreneurship: Advancing Debate to Escape a Dead End?" Organization, 19 (5), 543–562.
  • Amabile, T.M. (1988): "From Individual Creativity to Organizational Innovation." In: K. Grønhaug & G. Kaufmann (eds.): Innovation: A Cross-disciplinary Perspective. Oslo: Norwegian University Press, pp. 139–166.
  • Baer, J., & Kaufman, J.C. (2008): "Gender Differences in Creativity." The Journal of Creative Behavior, 42 (2), 75–105.
  • Bourdieu, P. (1998): La domination masculine. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
  • Bruton, G., Ireland, D., & Ketchen, D. (2012): "Toward a Research Agenda on the Informal Economy." The Academy of Management Perspectives, 26 (3), 1–11.
  • Busolt, U., & Kugele, K. (2009): "The Gender Innovation and Research Productivity Gap in Europe." International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 4 (2), 109–122.
  • Danilda, I., & Granat Thorslund, J. (2011): Innovation and Gender. Stockholm: Vinnova.
  • Henry, C., Foss, L., & Ahl, H. (2015): "Gender and entrepreneurship research: A review of methodological approaches." International Small Business Journal, published online before print January 27, 2015, doi: 10.1177/0266242614549779.
  • Le Loarne, S., & Gnan, L. (2015): "Introduction to the Special Issue: Is innovation Gendered?" International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 24 (1).
  • Petersson, C. (2015): "Queering all Abroad." International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 24 (1), 4–22
  • Tidd, J., Bessant, J., & Pavitt, K. (2005): Managing Innovation: Integrating Technological Market and Organizational Change. Hoboken: Wiley & Sons.
  • Zenou, E., & Galia, F. (2015): "The impact of gender and age diversity on innovation types." International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business [to be published].


Séverine Le Loarne is Head of Department and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. She has guest-edited on various journal special issues and published on topics related to female entrepreneurship and gender issues within innovation processes.
Filomena Buonocore is Associate Professor of Organization and Human Resource Management at University of Parthenope, Naples, Italy. Her current research interests include diversity management in organizations, stereotype threat, work-family enrichment at workplace, error reporting behaviors in healthcare.
Marcello Russo is Assistant Professor at Kedge Business School, Bordeaux, France. His current research interests include the positive effects of work-family enrichment on individuals' work and nonwork outcomes, boundary management, the implications of family supportive leadership, accent diversity, and error reporting behaviors in healthcare.