Sub-theme 04: (SWG) Critical Approaches to Organizing and Managing Diversity [merged with sub-theme 45]

Regine Bendl
WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
Elina Henttonen
Aalto School of Business, Helsinki, Finland
Frances Tomlinson
London Metropolitan University, UK

Call for Papers


In the last two decades, diversity and its management has become a 'must' feature of organizations and a recognized research field (e.g. Mor Barak, 2005; Konrad et al., 2006; Ozbilgin 2009; Healy et al., 2011). Different practices of managing and organizing diversity have spread around the globe focusing on the inclusion and exclusion of different groups (e.g. women and men, heterosexual and homosexuals/GLBTQ, persons with different racial and ethnic background, ages, (dis)abilities, religions, etc.). These practices, however, are shaped by local conditions, such as size of the organization, sector and economic as well as socio-political and cultural factors and geography (Ozbilgin & Tatli, 2008; Holvino & Kamp, 2009).

As the discourse of diversity and its organization and management is multifaceted, it is not without controversy. Critical texs (e.g. Prasad & Mills, 1997; Greene & Kirton, 2011) reveal that diversity management processes have the potential to reproduce the norm and 'the other' as well as heteronormativity, and reproduce inclusion and exclusion at the same time. This illustrates the challenge for managing and organizing diversity at the personal, group and organizational level.

In order to highlight these, oftentimes paradoxical, processes and to expand on as well as go beyond the recent critical discussions and debates on diversity and diversity management more broadly and deeply, we invite scholars to submit both theoretical and empirical research papers based on novel ideas and interesting links between theory, empirical research and practice. The papers may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • How are power relations embedded in organizing and managing diversity and in what ways can the organizing and managing of diversity mask the deliberate use of power?
  • How are trust and power interlinked in diversity management initiatives?
  • What consequenses diversity management discourses and practices have for different groups of actors?
  • How to move beyond the 'business case discourse' of diversity management, i.e. the focus on the effects of diversity management for performance and productivity – and what other discourses are possible?
  • How to move beyond diversity management tools to consider the complex processes of producing identities, difference, and inequalities?
  • Do the existing diversity management discourses sufficiently address class, neoliberal agendas and the results of the global economic crisis and transnationalism?
  • Do our existing theories sufficiently address the processes of intersectionality within organizing and managing diversity and if not, how can we do so?
  • Do our existing methodologies sufficiently address the processes of intersectionality within organizing and managing diversity, or do we have to move beyond?
  • Can we do diversity scholarship differently and if so, what would it take?



Healy, Geraldine, Gill Kirton & Mike Noon (2011): Equality, Inequalities and Diversity. Contemporary Challenges and Strategies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Holvino, Evangelina & Annette Kamp (2009): 'Diversity management: Are we moving in the right direction? Reflections from both sides of the North Atlantic.' Scandinavian Journal of Management, 25 (4), pp. 395–403.
Kirton, Gill & Anne-Marie Greene (2011): The Dynamics of Managing Diversity: A Critical Approach. 3rd edition. Oxford: Elsevier.
Konrad, Alison M., Pushkala Prasad & Judith K. Pringle (2006): Handbook of Workplace Diversity. London: SAGE Publications.
Mor Barak, Michàlle (2005): Managing Diversity. Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. London: SAGE Publications.
Ozbilgin, Mustafa (ed.) (2009): Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Ozbilgin, Mustafa & Ahu Tatli (2008): Global Diversity Management. An Evidence Based Approach. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Regine Bendl Associate Professor at the WU Vienna, Austria. Her work has been published widely in the area of gender and diversity management in journals such as 'British Journal of Management', 'Gender Work and Organization', 'Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – An International Journal', 'European Journal of International Management', 'Journal of Management and Organization', and 'Gender in Management – An International Journal'. She received severals research awards. She serves on the editorial board of various journals and she is editor of 'Equality,Diversity and Inclusion – An international Journal' and 'Diversitas Zeitschrift für Managing Diversity und Diversity Studies'.
Elina Henttonen is Postdoc Researcher at Aalto University, School of Business, Finland. Her research focuses on gender and diversity in organizations, development of working life, and qualitative methods. Her work has been published in several research books and journals such as 'Gender, Work and Organization' and 'Scandinavian Journal of Management'.
Frances Tomlinson is Senior Lecturer in organizational behaviour and management in the Faculty of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, UK. Her interests lie at the intersection of difference, identity and organizing processes, and she has researched and published in areas including inter-organizational partnerships, the employment trajectories of refugee women and equality and diversity practice in the UK non-profit sector.