Call for papers: Identity and Pluralism


“Identity and Pluralism: Who am I? What are we? How are we?” – A reflection on Seeking, Giving and Making sense of organizing in a fluid, uncertain and digitized world

Guest editors:

Luca Giustiniano - LUISS University,

Paolo Gubitta - University of Padova,

Giovanni Masino - University of Ferrara,

Luca Solari - University of Milan,

Teresina Torre - University of Genova,  


The call for paper clearly builds on the WOA 2019’s theme, acknowledging that organization theory and practice are progressively challenged and enriched by conflicting expectations expressed by a plethora of stakeholders whose answers have often to be found by the embracement of academic multidisciplinarity – i.e. the borrowing of constructs and models from other fields. In this fluid reality, organizations tend to be more problematic to design while extremely meaningful as privileged points of observations of phenomena. In this vein, they result as “convenient microcosms” where scholars and managers can observe the emergence of the unexpected, the craft of the new, the unfolding of novel practices and meanings.

Anchoring the idea of organization (and organizing) to the Chester Barnard’s intuition of “fabrics of social life”, identity and pluralism are therefore put to the test as reality challenges what we know. As the WOA 2019 theme statement recalls: “Technology is reshaping the meaning of division of work and coordination, and even the borders of what is human in and around organizations, anticipating the emergence of robots and machine-based agents. Global socio-demographic processes are leading to massive migration processes and changes in the focus of economic processes. Societal values are changing the habits and patterns of consumption and the use of resources. Many other challenges are waiting for us to consider them in our theorizing and researching”.

Moving from the philosophical roots of the ego consciousness, studies on pluralism and organizational identity have variously addressed what is believed to be foundational, valid, central and meaningful by organizational members, however the organizational boundaries would have been defined. Such studies have spanned from the questioning of the individual fit (via her/his self) with the organizational values and culture, to value-based and cognitive-enacted links glueing entire dispersed communities, passing though teams and more traditional forms of organizing (associations, companies, etc.). In this heterogeneous and magmatic manifestation of the “real”, individuals and organizations of various kind, nature and size struggle with the definition of their identities (sensegiving), the result of the individual and collective creation of meaning (respectively, perceptions/projections vs. sensemaking/sensebreaking), the processes through which they try to survive juggling with different affordances of pluralism and identity.

With this call for paper we want to address all these issues by soliciting the submission of papers that, grounded in rigorous studies, embrace in a novel way the challenge to reflect on the “who, what and how” organizations can deal with pluralism and identity, yet attempting to thrive while exposed to fluid and uncertain environments.

Full paper submission deadline: 31st May 2019

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