5th Workshop on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion

Call for abstracts for the 5th Workshop on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusive and diverse organization(s) – towards alternative understandings

Mandag, 13 maj, 2019 - 12:00 to Tirsdag, 14 maj, 2019 - 12:00

Call for Paper

In continuation of previous years’ successful workshops on theories, methods, practices and critiques of diversity and ‘its’ management, we now turn to alternative ways to understand diversity and inclusion.

The awareness of inequality and discrimination in society and in organizations is increasing. Yet, organizations continue to be sites of inequality regimes (Acker, 2006). Diversity management has been practiced in organizations for decades, and diversity management scholars have for long studied how meaning is created around diversity and how it is managed in organizations (D’Netto & Sohal, 1999; Tatli, 2011; Yang & Konrad, 2011). Despite all this, many challenges to grasp how diversity should be dealt with in organizational contexts remain (Zanoni, Janssens, Benschop, & Nkomo, 2010). For one, as management is about control and coordination, would diversity management then entail that diversity must be controlled in organizations (Christiansen & Just, 2012)? In which case, perhaps diversity management does more harm than good (Romani, Holck & Risberg, 2018). Maybe we need alternative ways to deal with diversity (Janssens & Zanoni, 2014)? Maybe diversity cannot be managed (Christensen & Muhr, 2018)? Is the managerial approach but one mode of organizing diversity and, if yes, what are the actually existing alternatives?

Should we, as Parker (2018) argues, dedicate less time researching conventional work organizations and, instead, embrace empirical sites of alternative organization to explore cases of diversity and difference outside the logic of market managerialism and corporate capitalism? Is that even possible, and can we only understand alternatives in relation to the ‘mainstream’ or is it also an option to approach the alternative as something distinct in and of itself? What if diversity, in fact, is the (emotional) labor of non-conforming bodies that inhabit normative organizational spaces differently (Basner, Christensen, French & Schreven, forthcoming)? Approaching diversity work not as the prerogative of management or somebody holding the title of manager but as something everybody does, what would we discover? And what could alternative approaches to diversity lead to? The questions around diversity and inclusion are manifold.

For this workshop, we invite contributions to explore diversity (and its management) in organization(s) in new, alternative and innovative ways. Alternative, therefore, should not only be understood as an alternative to something else, but also as something distinct in itself. To stay true to the ‘alternative’ in this call we are open to different types of contributions. Feel free to experiment with the style of your abstract from the conventional academic to the more artistic. We also welcome submissions with proposals for workshops, panel debates, and other co-facilitated sessions. If in doubt, reach out!

Examples of topics:

  • What ideas of diversity give rise to, and are promoted by, contemporary diversity/inclusion initiatives?
  • What is the performativity of diversity? How does the ways diversity is made sense of by different actors influence its translation into practices, in terms of activities and initiatives. And how can different diversity activities and initiatives influence the sense making of diversity?
  • What are the effects of diversity initiatives – on the lives of the persons they target, the promoters of the initiatives, on organizations and on society, in terms of diversity, gender and power relations?
  • How are diversity/inclusion initiatives organized in practice in organizations? That is, what organizations, groups and individuals are being enrolled in diversity/inclusion activities, and how do they react to these initiatives?
  • What role do non-human objects play in the work with diversity/inclusion in organizations?
  • Does diversity lead to innovation as some research claims?
  • What will the recent waves of refugees impact diversity work in organizations in the near future?
  • How does global migration patterns affect diversity in organizations?

Keynote speakers:
Professor Jo Brewis, Open University, UK
Professor Anders Neergaard, Linköping University, Sweden
Professor Dorthe Staunæs, Aarhus University, Denmark


These are some topics to explore, but the workshop is open for any ideas critically exploring alternative ways of understanding and working with diversity in organization(s).

Members of the Diversity and Difference platform at Copenhagen Business School organize the workshop. Please send your abstract of 500 words (maximum) to Annette Risberg by 15th of March latest.

Registration for workshop here.

Acker, J. (2006). Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations. Gender & Society, 20(4), 441–464. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243206289499
Basner, K., Christensen, J. F., French, J. E., & Schreven, S. (forthcoming). Snaptivism: A collective biography of feminist snap as affective activism. Ephemera.
Christensen, J. F., & Muhr, S. L. (2018). Desired diversity and symptomatic anxiety: theorising failed diversity as Lacanian lack. Culture and Organization, 24(2), 114-133.
Christiansen, T. J., & Just, S. N. (2012). Regularities of diversity discourse: Address, categorization, and invitation. Journal of Management & Organization, 18(3), 398-411.
D’Netto, B., & Sohal, A. S. (1999). Human resource practices and workforce diversity: an empirical assessment. International Journal of Manpower, 20(8), 530–547. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437729910302723
Janssens, M., & Zanoni, P. (2014). Alternative diversity management: Organizational practices fostering ethnic equality at work. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 30(3), 317–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2013.12.006
Parker, M. (2018). ‘Shut down the business school: What’s wrong with management education.’ London: Pluto Press.
Romani, L., Holck, L., & Risberg, A. (2019). Benevolent discrimination: Explaining how human resources professionals can be blind to the harm of diversity initiatives. Organization, on-line first, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508418812585
Tatli, A. (2011). A Multi-layered Exploration of the Diversity Management Field: Diversity Discourses, Practices and Practitioners in the UK. British Journal of Management, 22(2), 238–253. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2010.00730.x
Yang, Y., & Konrad, A. M. (2011). Understanding Diversity Management Practices: Implications of Institutional Theory and Resource-Based Theory. Group & Organization Management, 36(1), 6–38. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601110390997
Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y., & Nkomo, S. (2010). Guest Editorial: Unpacking Diversity, Grasping Inequality: Rethinking Difference Through Critical Perspectives. Organization, 17(1), 9–29. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508409350344


Sidst opdateret: Business in Society platforms // 21/03/2019