Sub-theme 45: MERGED with sub-theme 04


Call for Papers

Employees belonging to historically underrepresented socio-demographic groups have never been as present in the labour market. Still, as the crisis has painstakingly shown, inequalities remain solidly structured along socio-demographic identities (OECD, 2011). Women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the youth and the elderly are often vertically and horizontally segregated into less protected and less well-paying jobs and sectors and have distinct career paths (Hermelin, 2005; ILO, 2012; Tomaskovic-Devey et al., 2009).

After over two decades of research documenting and theorizing power inequality between the majority and historically underrepresented groups in organizations (Linnehan & Konrad, 1999; Prasad et al., 2006), our current knowledge on how organizations can actually achieve more equality remains disappointingly poor. The advancement of research on equality-fostering diversity management has been hampered by the strong dominance of diversity management practices – e.g. formalized HRM procedures, diversity training, networking and mentoring programmes – that can be used as symbols of compliance with normative institutional pressures, in court cases and to meet criteria for subcontractor eligibility (Edelman, 1992), yet which are ineffective in fostering equality (Kalev et al., 2006; Kulik & Roberson, 2008).

Critically oriented diversity scholars have been largely unable to explore 'good' managerial practices which they see as ultimately enabling exploitation in contemporary capitalist organizations. The academic debate has thus remained focused around the opposition between a legal/social justice logic and a business logic (cf. Kelly & Dobbin, 1998; Lorbiecki & Jack, 2000; Noon, 2007; Prasad & Mills, 1997; Wrench, 2005), at safe distance from management practices. Aware of the inherent contradiction of building 'critical' diversity theory from diversity management practices in capitalist organizations (Fournier & Gray, 2000), we opt to temporarily bracket our fundamental critique to engage with such practices (cf. Anthony, 1998). We refuse to leave diversity management to non-critical, functionalistic research paradigms (Foldy, 2002).

In this sub-theme, we aim to advance contemporary thinking on how organizations can achieve more equality between the majority and minorities, despite (and even, possibly, by virtue of) their capitalistic nature. We welcome theoretically founded, ground-breaking empirical studies of innovative, equality-fostering diversity management practices, which are critically self-reflective of the (im)possibilities of such practices in (capitalist) organizations.


Studies might deal with the following topics, although the list is not exhaustive:

  • Equality and non-conventional ways to manage diversity
  • Managing diversity without 'diversity management' practices
  • Equality and diversity management in social profit and cooperative organizations
  • Equality and diversity management for employees in low-rank jobs
  • Equality as the joint effect of protective employment legislation and diversity management practices
  • Flexicurity regimes, employment relations and diversity management practices
  • The role of third parties (the state, customers, suppliers, trade unions, civil society organizations, etc.) and equality-fostering diversity management
  • Diversity management as sustainable management (CSR)
  • New trends in HRM (job crafting, strength-based organization, idiosyncratic deals, developmental approach) as possible equality-fostering practices
  • Transformative strategies of organizational processes for sustainable change towards diversity and inclusion




Anthony, Peter (1998): 'Management Education: Ethics versus Morality.' In: Martin Parker (ed.): Ethics & Organization. London: SAGE Publications, pp. 269–281.
Foldy, Erica G. (2002): '"Managing'" diversity: Identity and power in organizations.' In: Iiris Aaltio-Marjosola & Albert J. Mills (eds.): Gender, Identity and the Culture of Organizations. London: Routledge, pp. 92–112.
Fournier, Valerie & Chris Grey (2000): 'At the Critical Moment: Conditions and Prospects for Critical Management Studies.' Human Relations, 53 (1), pp. 7–32.
Hermelin, Brita (2005): 'Recruitment Procedures in the Construction of Labour Market Relations. The Ethnic Divide in Sweden.' Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 87 (3), pp. 225–236.
ILO (2012): Global Wage Report 2012/2013: Wages and Equitable Growth. Geneva: International Labour Office.
Linnehan, Frank & Alison M. Konrad (1999): 'Diluting diversity: Implications for intergroup inequality in organizations.' Journal of Management Inquiry, 8 (4), pp. 399–414.
Kalev, Alexandra, Frank Dobbin & Erin Kelly (2006): 'Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies.' American Sociological Review, 71 (4), pp. 589–617.
Kelly, Erin & Frank Dobbin (1998): 'How Affirmative Action Became Diversity Management. Employer Response to Antidiscrimination Law, 1961 to 1996.' American Behavioral Scientist, 41 (7), pp. 960–984.
Konrad, Alison M. & Frank Linnehan (1995): 'Formalized HRM Structures: Coordinating Equal Employment Opportunity or Concealing Organizational Practices?' Academy of Management Journal, 38 (3), pp. 787–820.
Kulik, Carol T. & Loriann Roberson (2008): 'Common Goals and Golden Opportunities: Evaluations of Diversity Education in Academic and Organizational Settings.' Academy of Management, Learning & Education, 7 (3), pp. 371–375.
Lorbiecki, Anna & Gavin Jack (2000): 'Critical Turns in the Evolution of Diversity Management.' British Journal of Management, 11, Special Issue, pp. S17–S31.
Noon, Mike (2007): 'The fatal flaws of diversity and the business case for ethnic minorities.' Work, employment and society, 21 (4), pp. 773–784.
OECD (2011): An Overview of Growing Income Inequalities in OECD Countries: Main Findings.
Prasad, Pushkala & Albert J. Mills (1997): 'From Showcase to Shadow: Understanding the Dilemmas of Managing Workplace Diversity.' In: Pushkala Prasad, Albert J. Mills, Michael Elmes & Anshuman Prasad (eds.): Managing the Organizational Melting Pot. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, pp. 3–27.
Prasad, Pushkala, Judith K. Pringle & Alison M. Konrad ( 2006): 'Examining the Contours of Workplace Diversity: Concepts, Contexts and Challenges.' In: Alison M. Konrad, Pushkala Prasad & Judith K. Pringle (eds.): Handbook of Workplace Diversity. London: SAGE Publications, pp. 1–22.
Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald, Dustin Avent-Holt, Catherine Zimmer & Sandra Harding (2009): 'The categorical generation of organizational inequality: A comparative test of Tilly's durable inequality.' Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 27 (3), pp. 128–142.
Wrench, John (2005): 'Diversity management can be bad for you.' Race & Class, 46 (3), pp. 73–84.