Call for papers: Special issue for Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management


`Approaches, Methods and Critical Diversity scholarship:

the challenges and the outcomes.’ 

Deadline: October 31, 2016


Guest editors:

Inge Bleijenbergh, Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, The Netherlands

 Lize Booysen, Graduate School of Leadership and Change, Antioch University, USA

Albert J. Mills, Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada



With the institutionalization of diversity research in organization studies, diversity scholarship has become increasingly varied over the past two decades (Prasad, Pringle, & Konrad, 2005). From a starting point of positivist and managerialist approaches (Prasad & Mills, 1997),  the field has expanded to include subjectivist and inter-subjectivist approaches, with associated methods, epistemologies and ontological understandings (Alvesson, 2009). Examples can be found across the range of approaches, frameworks, including feminist, poststructuralist, interpretivist, symbolic interactionist, postcolonialist (Nkomo, 2011), relational constructionism, post-qualitative (Lather & St. Pierre, 2013) and reflexive dialogism – most of which would be included under the umbrella of critical approaches to the study of management and organization (Bendl, Bleijenbergh, Henttonen, & Mills, 2016). These critical approaches provided thought-provoking insights, and problematizes diversity related initiatives and research as polarizing, reproducing stereotypes, and essential in its composite construction of differences. It thus has become evident that empirical work in diversity scholarship requires attention to intersectionality (McCall, 2005), widely researched processes of reproduction of stereotypes, contextual and local specifics, materialism and language (MacLure, 2013) as well as the influence of identity formation processes of the researched subjects and researchers during the research process (Bendl, Booysen, and Pringle, forthcoming)

While this has broadened the discussion in the field it has also — as the recent debates around intersectionality, identity formation and theorization of power has shown – created some confusions about how to undertake critical diversity research (Zanoni, Janssens, Benschop, and Nkomo, 2010). This urges critical diversity scholars to re-visit existing approaches or paradigms  (belief systems that guides our thoughts and practices), and methods, and even re-invent novel ways of inquiry into diversity issues.

In this special issue we focus on the different critical approaches to diversity scholarship and how they influence knowing and researching diversity, like, for example, how to frame research questions, what research object to choose, which data sources to collect and analyze, how to assess the role of the researcher and finally, what knowledge contribution to make with the research in itself. Our overall aim is to provide both a space for paradigmatic debate and development as well as discussion on how to undertake critical methodological approaches to diversity management within the broad framework of critical studies of management and organization.

Invitation to authors

We seek papers that develop innovative paradigmatic and methodological approaches towards the study of diversity in organizations, critically evaluate mainstream paradigmatic and methodological approaches towards diversity in organizations and reflect on the (potential) contribution of innovative approaches towards the field. All papers should be soundly grounded in academic literature about paradigms, methods and techniques of (critical) organization studies. We encourage reflexive approaches which focus on the process of research and knowledge development rather than the outcomes. Especially, reflection on questioning and searching for paradigmatic and methodological choices is appreciated. With this special issue, we build upon a growing amount of methodological and paradigmatic reflexive work in the field, including the subtheme about paradigms and methods of diversity scholarship at the European Group of Organization Studies in Athens, 2015. As evidenced by the considerable number of submissions to this subtheme, organized by the guest-editors of this call, there is a serious interest for this topic across a wide range of fields and regions.


To that end we are looking for papers that address, but are not necessarily limited to the following topics:

  • Action research in the field of diversity management – a reflexive approach
  • Diversity scholarship -a critical perspective on the research process
  • Diversity scholarship from the margins – postcolonialist and anti-colonial perspectives
  • Doing diversity management – challenges and solutions.
  • The impact of scholarly approaches to diversity on organizational practices.
  • Ethnographical approaches towards examining diversity in organizations
  • Examining intersectionalism – theoretical and methodological challenges
  • Navigating your way through paradigmatic differences in diversity perspectives
  • Power, discourse and method in diversity scholarship
  • Rethinking diversity focus, inquiry and research agenda
  • Diversity and the challenge of non-Western ontologies
  • Embodiment and being in diversity scholarship

In summary, the Special Issue: Approaches, Methods and Critical Diversity scholarship: the challenges and the outcomes will seek to engage with the issue of how paradigms and methods of diversity research can be better understood, advanced, critically evaluated and how innovations in these methods contribute to a better understanding of diversity in organizations.

Inge Bleijenbergh is Associate professor Research Methods at the Institute for Management Research, Radboud University in the Netherlands and associate editor at Gender, Work and Organization:

Lize Booysen is Full Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior, at the Graduate School of Leadership and Change, Antioch University, USA and an internationally recognized scholar in the field of diversity and leadership:

Albert J. Mills is a Full Professor of Management and Director of the Sobey PhD (Management) at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is co-chair of the International Board for Critical Management Studies, and co-editor of Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management.

For further information contact any one of the SI editors above

Submissions to:


Alvesson, M. & Sköldberg, K. (2009). Reflexive Methodologies; new vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.

Bendl, R., Bleijenbergh, I., Henttonen, E., & Mills, A. J. (Eds.). (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Diversity in Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bendl, R., Booysen, L. & Pringle, J.  (forthcoming). Research Methods on Diversity Management, Equality and Inclusion at Work.  Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.

Lather, P., & St. Pierre, E. A. (2013). Introduction: Post-qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 629-633. McCall, L. (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs, 30, 1771-1800.

MacLure, M. (2013). Researching without representation? Language and materiality in post-qualitative methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 658-667. doi: DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.788755

Nkomo, S. (2011). A postcolonial and anti-colonial reading of ‘African’ leadership and management in organization studies: tensions, contradictions and possibilities. Organization, 18(3), 365-386. doi:10.1177/1350508411398731

Prasad, P., & Mills, A. J. (1997). From Showcase to Shadow. Understanding the Dilemmas of Managing Workplace Diversity. In P. Prasad, A. J. Mills, M. Elmes, & A. Prasad (Eds.), Managing The Organizational Melting Pot: Dilemmas of Workplace Diversity (pp. 3-27). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Prasad, P., Pringle, J. K., & Konrad, A. M. (2005). Examining the Contours of Workplace Diversity. In A. M. Konrad, P. Prasad, & J. K. Pringle (Eds.), Handbook of Workplace Diversity (pp. 1-22). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y. and Nkomo, S.  (2010) Unpacking Diversity, Grasping Inequality: Rethinking Difference Through Critical Perspectives. Organization,17 (1),9-29. doi: 10.1177/1350508409350344