Sub-theme 40: Democracy, Deviance and Transformation in Organizations and Societies ---> MERGED with sub-themes 49 and 68

Kanimozhi Narayanan
Aston University, United Kingdom
Irma Rybnikova
Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Anna Soulsby
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

The largest proportion of behavioural studies have focused on examining management behaviours in well-developed economies. Notwithstanding the numerous important contributions made by these studies, more research focusing on management behaviour and organizations in transforming and developing societies is needed, as comprehensive insights into management behaviour in those regions is limited. The particular setting of transforming post-communist societies in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union – and in many other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America – provide a highly complex background for organizations and managers. Hence, a strong need for more in-depth research is fairly obvious. The necessity for this research is even more important when considering: (a) the growing power of those regions in the world economy, (b) the interesting transfers this kind of research may provide for topics such as management in turbulent environments or the management of organizational transformations, and (c) the high expectation to gain some challenging and surprising findings related to patterns of managerial behaviour and digitalization in those particular contexts.
A key aim of this sub-theme is to examine management behaviour in transforming and developing societies from various perspectives, where we strive for the bigger picture and place the examination of management behaviour in countries in transition into a wider context, by for instance, emphasizing radical changes occurred in transformation process (Bakacsi et al., 2002; Kozminski, 2008), as well as focusing on specific „niche areas”, addressing like gender stereotypes about managers (Lipovka and Buzady, 2020), and role of personal values for managerial behaviour (Hambrick and Mason, 1984).
In the last couple of years many significant global societal and technological challenges are related to the phenomena of Industry 4.0, which brings many benefits for the organizations that adopt Industry 4.0 principles (Frank et al., 2019). The digitalization of organizations is sparking new debates about the implementation and adoption of “new and smart technologies” in organizations, due to the complexity and necessary adaptations and changes (e.g., business models, processes, people) (Ghobakhloo, 2018). This process has many implications, particularly for managerial behaviour, as managers should play a major role in implementing the Industry 4.0 principles (Schneider, 2018) to keep up with competitors.
As the organizations in transforming and developing societies are at the beginning of their path toward digitalization and their readiness is relatively low (Arnold et al., 2016), this opens a plethora of questions related to the digitalization of organizations from a distinctive managerial perspective (Schneider, 2018; Črešnar & Nedelko, 2020).
Besides broader consideration of management behaviour in transforming societies, in line with central topic of the conference “digitalization”, we seek to answer several research questions, as: (1) Does prior societal experience with radical change offer advantages or disadvantages when there are changes such as the digitalization process? (2) Is there a potential for transforming societies, considering technological changes e.g. digitalization, to reduce the gap between well-developed and transforming societies? This may result in highlighting new perspectives for examining management behaviour in these societies that have not been previously (often) considered by the researchers.
To gain additional insight into these processes, the convenors seek participation from different countries and regions across the world, e.g. European post-communist societies and developing societies in Asia, Africa and South America undergoing transition. A non-exclusive list of potential themes includes:

  • 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 (Soulsby, 2020).

  • Dilemmas, contradictions, and unresolved phenomena associated with processes of organizing and organization in transforming societies and developing societies.

  • 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.

  • Management behaviour in countries in transition from various perspectives (Cater et al., 2013).

  • Studies of management behaviour in digitalized organization and new competences of managers in those circumstances (Ghobakhloo, 2018; Schneider, 2018).

  • Management as the key agent of digitalization of organizations (Frank et al., 2019).

  • Human resource challenges in transforming societies in times of digitalization (Črešnar & Nedelko, 2020; Potočan et al., 2020).

  • New perspectives for studying management behaviour and digitalization in the framework of uncertain external environments, including various influences (e.g., regional politics, country political and economic situation, changes in organizational settings, cultural changes, COVID-19 consequences).



  • Arnold, C., Kiel, D., & Voigt, K.-I. (2016): “How the Industrial Internet of Things changes business models in different manufacturing industries.” International Journal of Innovation Management, 20 (8), 1640015.
  • Bakacsi, G., Sandor, T., Karacsonyi, A., & Imrek, V. (2002): “Eastern European cluster: Tradition and transition.” Journal of World Business, 37 (1), 69–80.
  • Cater, T., Lang, R., & Szabo, E. (2013): “Values and leadership expectations of future managers: Theoretical basis and methodological approach of the globe student project.” Journal for East European Management Studies, 18 (4), 442–462.
  • Črešnar, R., Potočan, V., & Nedelko, Z. (2020): “Speeding up the implementation of Industry 4.0 with management tools: Empirical investigations in manufacturing organizations.” Sensors (Switzerland), 20 (12), 1–25.
  • Frank, A.G., Dalenogare, L.S., & Ayala, N.F (2019): “Industry 4.0 technologies: Implementation patterns in manufacturing companies.” International Journal of Production Economics, 210, 15–26.
  • Ghobakhloo, M. (2018): “The future of manufacturing industry: A strategic roadmap toward Industry 4.0.” Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 29 (6), 910–936.
  • Hambrick, D.C., & Mason, P.A. (1984): “Upper echelons – the organization as a reflection of its top managers.” Academy of Management Review, 9( 2), 193–206.
  • Kozminski, A.K. (2008): “Anatomy of systemic change: Polish management in transition.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 41 (3), 263–280.
  • Lipovka, A., & Buzady, Z. (2020): “Gender stereotypes about managers: A comparative study of Central-Eastern Europe and Central Asia.” Journal of East European Management Studies, 2020 (Special Issue), 15–36.
  • Potočan, V., Mulej, M., & Nedelko, Z. (2020): “Society 5.0: balancing of Industry 4.0, economic advancement and social problems.” Kybernetes, 50 (3), 794–811.
  • Schneider, P. (2018): “Managerial challenges of Industry 4.0: An empirically backed research agenda for a nascent field.” Review of Managerial Science, 12 (3), 803–848.
  • Soulsby, A. (2020): “Foreign direct investment and the undertow of history: Nationhood and the influence of history on the Czech-German relationship.” Business History, first published online on July 30, 2020;
Kanimozhi Narayanan s an Assistant Professor/Lecturer of Organizational Behaviour at Aston Business School, United Kingdom. Her current research focus on workplace deviance and cyberdeviance with a particular emphasis on understanding the situational aspects of rule-breaking. Her research is under review in academic journals, including ‘Journal of Management’ and ‘Journal of International Management’. Kanimozhi has a book chapter in “Human & Technological Resource Management (HTRM): New Insights into Revolution 4.0”, published by Emerald, which looks at the role of technology in future workplace.
Irma Rybnikova is Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisation at Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, Germany. Her research fields include leadership theories, minorities in organizations and organizational democracy.
Anna Soulsby is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on organizational and managerial change in transforming and emerging societies. Anna’s research on organizational change in Central and Eastern Europe has been published in journals such as ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Journal of Management Studies’, ‘International Journal of Human Resource Management’, and ‘Human Relations’.