Today as never before, internationalization and immigration have become prominent policy domains throughout the world.
In knowledge economies, talented knowledge workers are a primary, but sometimes scarce, resource (Ciarniene & Kumpikaite,
2005). In this sense, many studies emphasize highly skilled migration in the context of brain drain, brain gain, and brain
circulation (Ackers, 2008, Dumont & Lemaitre, 2005). In this context, global competition for knowledge workers has fostered
unprecedented levels of human capital mobility (Silvanto & Ryan, 2014; Zhong et al., 2016). The mobility of knowledge
workers, however, has been asymmetrical with clear centers and peripheries, winners and losers – including countries, organizations,
and professions. In addition, in policy discourses such as the European Research Area policy documents (Deloitte, 2014), the
mobility of knowledge workers is framed as brain circulation rather than brain drain – the reality given unprecedented immigration
levels due to wars (political instability), global competition coupled with economic downturns, and aging populations. Significant
incidents have periodically ruptured immigration policy making and implementation paths and have necessitated new organizational
approaches which address these demographic and economic surprises.
Unfortunately, despite the plethora of career studies regarding mobility trends of medical doctors, lawyers, scientists, and IT professionals (Deloitte, 2014; Guth & Gill, 2008; Mahroum, 2000) – as well as studies of diversity and inclusion in work and organizations in knowledge intensive sectors (Leisyte & Hosch-Daiycan, 2014) – we know very little about the organizational factors facilitating and impeding the integration of knowledge workers as a result of significant economic ruptures and surprises (Ackers, 2005).
Integration of global and local workforces in organizations facing critical incidents may necessitate inclusive, flexible, and open human resource management approaches. Furthermore, the integration of various cultures in the workplace entails a cultural shift where minority voices are heard and included in decision making processes (Kumpikaite & Duoba, 2013; Muir et al., 2015). Studies of inclusive professional organizations (e.g. hospitals, universities) (Teelken, 2015; Trembath, 2016) have shown that a number of factors foster or impede learning in organizations that attempt to embrace the arrival of different cultures and working habits through incoming knowledge workers from other cultures. Unsuccessful efforts to integrate arriving knowledge workers may mean losing out in terms of productivity and creativity, and result in lost opportunities for innovation, as well as lock-in in terms of organizational growth.
Thus, to ensure that attracted knowledge workers thrive and have opportunities to succeed, successful integration is paramount (Silvanto & Ryan, 2014). This includes addressing and discussing cultural differences, communication styles, and meanings of what counts as performance in different sectors and organizations. Furthermore, when different cultures meet, strong differences in gender expectations and roles have to be made explicit and negotiated.
This sub-theme invites empirical, conceptual, as well as theoretical contributions, which address the issue of integration of talented knowledge workers in knowledge intensive organizations and the factors fostering and impeding it in the context of unprecedented surprises coming from the organizational environment. We especially welcome contributions using comparative lenses, including comparisons between countries, sectors, or professions. Papers addressing centers and peripheries in terms of attracting knowledge workers are especially welcome. Furthermore, we invite papers that delve into the sub-organizational as well as organizational levels to understand the mechanisms for inclusion and integration of knowledge workers from different backgrounds in knowledge intensive organizations.
The sub-theme is open to both qualitative and quantitative contributions. The submissions can address some of the following questions:
How do knowledge intensive organizations attract talented knowledge workers in different contexts?
How can inclusive knowledge intensive organizations be conceptualized?
What theoretical framing helps in understanding organizational change processes to foster inclusion and dialogue between knowledge workers from different cultural, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds?
What human resource policies foster inclusive culture in knowledge intensive organizations?
What mechanisms of exclusion are at play for knowledge workers in locally oriented organizations?
What management approaches foster dialogue and learning in knowledge intensive organizations?
To what extent do knowledge workers negotiate and adapt to the local organizational expectations?
What is the role of intercultural dialogues for thriving knowledge intensive organizations?
What are the gender implications for integration of knowledge workers in knowledge intensive organizations?