Sub-theme 21: Decolonizing Perspectives and Decolonial Pluriversality in Management Praxis & Research

Michelle Mielly
Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Hélio Arthur Reis Irigaray
Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil
Gazi Islam
Grenoble Ecole de Management, France

Call for Papers

The call for greater visibility of decolonial perspectives in management theory and research has the potential to contribute to a political and intellectual renewal of scholarly engagement in critical questions of history and historical subjectivity. It invites us to critically examine the embeddedness of imperialism and colonialism in the linguistic, heuristic, ontological, and epistemological foundations of management research, curriculum, and teaching. It enables a critical engagement with Eurocentric ways of being and thinking to embrace what Mignolo and Walsh (2018) refer to as “decolonial pluriversality”- the capacity of local praxes and epistemologies to illuminate, relate, or correlate to those existing in other places.
Contemporary political polarization in an ‘age of anger’ (Mishra, 2017) means identity politics and competing claims for official recognition have eclipsed the traditional struggle for economic gains, greatly altering the political landscape of the progressive left. The rise of populism has exposed ‘cracks’ in the social fabric requiring not only the formation of new categories, but what Mbembe (2016) calls the “demythologizing” work of history, memory, and race. The 2020 public assassination of George Floyd gave way to the globalization of BLM and anti-police violence social movements, engendering renewed calls for decolonizing our institutions, badly in need of reexamination.
Examining these calls for decolonizing knowledge and praxes can provide for more nuanced understandings of the identity claims deeply interwoven into the fabric of organizational life. Drawing on different ontological perspectives, including decolonial (Mbembe, 2016), Afro-diasporic (Bernardino-Costa et al., 2018), postcapitalism and whiteness (Banerjee & Tedmanson, 2010) and postcolonial (Nkomo, 2011) we highlight engagement with alternative forms of knowledge and practice from the geographical, political and economic margins, both “North”, “South”, and the hybrid spaces within and between each (Islam, 2012).

In this sub-theme, we welcome empirical and theoretical works examining decolonial, critical, and postmodern perspectives that:

  • Explore challenges to dominant forms of managing identity-claims and historical grievances put forth by the ‘colonized’ in a given organizational setting;

  • Discuss how resistance/re-existence may provide possible pathways to overcome the historical inheritance “colonized” societies, minority and/or marginalized groups, particularly within the organizational sphere, and how acts of resistance help (re)construct knowledge in Management and Organization Studies (MOS);

  • Discuss paradoxical, ambivalent and ambiguous facets of decolonial resistance, reified not only in social movements, but also in organizational practices (such as affinity groups and employee resource groups), as well as individual acts, gestures, movements, and practices;

  • Investigate exclusionary experiences in the workplace and the means by which a decolonial or decolonizing approach to knowledge and epistemological production could provide pathways to inclusive praxis;

  • Approach and identify new decolonial identities, demands and desires emerging in the contemporary organizational and social contexts of a post-Covid societal transformation;

  • Examine challenges in organizational life imposed by the decolonial impetus, e.g. (re) configuration of society and politics as a response to neoconservative reactionary movements, or the incursion of the political into the professional sphere;

  • Elaborate epistemological approaches to decolonizing and decolonial perspectives and practices in management knowledge production, for example through Mignolo’s reframing of Foucault’s power/knowledge nexus in light of subaltern, indigenous, or peripheral management knowledge production;

  • Highlight the linguistic, cultural or managerial practices emblematic of the ‘colonization of the mind’ in organizational life and/or how management learning and practice could engage in ‘decolonizing the mind’:

  • Examine cases in which ‘decolonial pluriversality (Mignolo & Walsh, 2018) is embodied in organizational practices; or theorize the sorts of management and knowledge management scenarios that could support its flourishing.


  • Banerjee, S., & Tedmanson, D. (2010): “Grass burning under our feet: Indigenous enterprise development in a political economy of whiteness. Management Learning, 41 (2), 147–165.
  • Bernardino-Costa, J., Maldonado-Torres, N., & Grosfoguel, R. (2018): Decolonialidade e Pensamento Afrodiaspórico (1a.). Autência Editora.
  • Islam, G. (2012): “Can the subaltern eat? Anthropophagic culture as a Brazilian lens on post-colonial theory.” Organization, 19 (2), 159–180.
  • Mbembe, A. (2016): “Decolonizing the university: New directions.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 15 (1), 29–45.
  • Mignolo, W., & Walsh, C. (2018): On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Mishra, P. (2017): Age of Anger: A history of the Present. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.
  • Nkomo, S.M. (2011): “A postcolonial and anti-colonial reading of ‘African’ leadership and management in organization studies: tensions, contradictions and possibilities.” Organization, 18 (3), 365–386.
Michelle Mielly is an Associate Professor in the Department of People, Organizations and Society at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. With a background in development anthropology and cultural studies, her current research focuses on questions of postcolonial organizations, critical race in organizations, diasporic knowledge circulation, global mobility, and gendered career trajectories in flexible work scenarios. Michelle’s work has been published in ‘Critical Perspectives in International Business’, ‘Industrial Relations/Relations Industrielles’, and ‘Strategic Directions’.
Hélio Arthur Reis Irigaray is Professor of People, Organizations and Sustainability at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-EBAPE), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His current research interests include social movements, such as BLM, #MeToo and LGBTQIA+ and their impacts on the workforce and workplaces. Currently, Hélio is Editor-in-Chief of ‘Cadernos EBAPE.BR’. His work has been published, among others, in ‘Marketing Intelligence and Planning’, ‘Qualitative Market Research’, ‘IberoAmerican Journal of Project Management’, ‘Revista de Administração de Empresas’, ‘Research & Politics’, and ‘Organizações e Sociedade’.
Gazi Islam is Professor of People, Organizations and Society at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. His current research interests include the organizational antecedents and consequences of identity, and the relations between identity, group dynamics and the production of group and organizational cultures. Gazi’s work been published in journals such as ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Leadership Quarterly’, ‘Organization’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘The American Journal of Public Health’, ‘Journal of Business Ethics’, and ‘American Psychologist’.