Call for Papers
At the core of research in organization studies lays the fundamental premise that organizations play a key role in generating
and sustaining inequality in the workplace (Baron & Bielby, 1984; for reviews, see, e.g., Reskin & McBrier, 2000).
For example, many studies show that women and racial minorities occupy lower quality jobs, through processes of recruitment,
hiring, promotion, and termination (Petersen & Saporta, 2004; Fernandez-Mateo & King, 2011; Reskin & Roos, 2019).
Empirical work has found that gender and racial disparities in the workplace remain even after the adoption of diversity programs,
problem-solving team and job-training arrangements, merit-based pay practices, and other work policies (Kalev et al., 2006;
Castilla & Benard, 2010). Other studies have also examined how structural factors internal to organizations, such as organizational
size and tenure, hierarchical structure, and the use of job categories, affect demographic inequality (Beckman & Phillips,
2005; Cohen & Broschak, 2013). In the end, the distribution of resources, power and opportunities in society cannot be
fully understood without paying attention to the role that organizations and their practices play in shaping key individual
The purpose of this sub-theme is to bring together a group of researchers who share a concern for advancing our knowledge about the impact of organizational practices on workplace inequality and diversity. In particular, our goal is to discuss innovative research that sheds new light on surprising theoretical mechanisms that explain how organizational practices affect key employment outcomes – such as assignment to jobs, wages, promotions, career advancement, training opportunities, diversity programs, etc. Because the nature of organizations and their boundaries are changing so rapidly, talking about “organizational practices” may not be the ideal way of thinking about these issues any more (Cappelli, 1999).
Thus, we also would like to explore the blurring of organizational boundaries, values, and procedures, the recent patterns of employee mobility, the increasing use of “market-driven” employment practices and the use of technology in the employment domain. Our goal is to examine how these developments shape new forms of economic and social inequality. This topic is not only relevant for the advancement of organizational theory and research, but it also has practical implications for employees, managers, communities, and society as a whole.
We are open to learning from multiple theoretical perspectives, ranging from purely structural or incentive-based accounts of inequality to cognitive and identity-based perspectives on how differential opportunities and inequitable treatment may emerge within organizations.
Some of the topics we would like to discuss include (but are not limited to):
How do recruitment and selection, training and development, as well as reward systems within traditional and non-traditional organizations affect individuals’ careers in the workplace?
How do emergent information and other types of technologies (such as online platforms, algorithms, machine learning, predictive analytics, etc.) shape screening, hiring, task/job allocation and hence individual workplace outcomes?
How do new organizational forms and employment arrangements (temporary and contingent work, intermediaries, network-based firms, etc.) influence the distribution of power in labor markets and in turn workplace inequality?
What are the (un)intended consequences of old and new organizational practices and routines, in particular as they advantage some individuals or groups while constraining opportunities for others inside and outside work organizations?
How recent unprecedented events in societies all over the world are also affecting organizational processes and outcomes concerning workplace inequality and diversity?
How do organizations respond and adapt to the future of work?
How can organizational practices be designed and implemented to mitigate workplace inequality and increase diversity?
We welcome a broad array of methodologies, from qualitative or quantitative analysis to simulations and experimental approaches. We are also interested in studies across industries and markets, as long as they share a concern for the role of organizational practices in understanding workplace inequality.
By learning from different theoretical and empirical approaches, we believe attendees to this sub-theme will substantially enrich their particular research agendas within the broad topic of organizations, inequality, and diversity.
- Baron, J.N., & Bielby, W.T. (1984): “The organization of work in a segmented economy.” American Sociological Review, 49 (4), 454–473.
- Beckman, C.M., & Phillips, D.J. (2005): “Interorganizational determinants of promotion: Client leadership and the attainment of women attorneys.” American Sociological Review, 70 (4), 678–701.
- Cappelli, P. (1999): “Career jobs are dead.” California Management Review, 42 (1), 146–167.
- Castilla, E.J., & Benard, S. (2010): “The paradox of meritocracy in organizations.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 55 (4), 543–676.
- Cohen, L.E., & Broschak, J.P. (2013): “Whose jobs are these? The impact of the proportion of female managers on the number of new management jobs filled by women versus men.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 58 (4), 509–541.
- Fernandez-Mateo, I., & Zella K. (2011): “Anticipatory sorting and gender segregation in temporary employment.” Management Science, 57 (6), 989–1008.
- Kalev, A., Dobbin, F., & Kelly, E. (2006): “Best practices or best guesses? Assessing the efficacy of corporate affirmative action and diversity policies.” American Sociological Review, 71 (4), 589–617.
- Petersen, T., & Saporta, I. (2004): “The opportunity structure for discrimination.” American Journal of Sociology, 109 (4), 852–901.
- Reskin, B.F., & McBrier, D.B. (2000): “Why not ascription? Organizations’ employment of male and female managers.” American Sociological Review, 65 (2), 210–233.
- Reskin, B.F., & Roos, P.A. (2009): Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women’s Inroads into Male Occupations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.