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CfP: Stream on reimagining organizations, work arrangements and work meanings at ICMS 2023

  • 1.  CfP: Stream on reimagining organizations, work arrangements and work meanings at ICMS 2023

    Posted 03-03-2023 21:00

    *Apologies for cross-posting. Please share with potentially interested colleagues*

    Dear Colleagues,

    We would like to invite you to submit your work to our stream on "Reimagining Organizations, Work Arrangements and Work Meanings" at the Critical Management Studies Conference in Nottingham, UK, June 20-22, 2023.

    The deadline for submitting your abstract is March 31st, 2023. The call for papers can be found below. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

    We look forward to receiving your submissions,
    Neharika Vohra & Nisha Nair


    13th International Critical Management Studies Conference, Nottingham, June 20-22, 2023

    Stream: Reimagining Organizations, Work Arrangements and Work Meanings


    Neharika Vohra, Professor, IIM Ahmedabad, neharika@iima.ac.in

    Nisha Nair, Clinical Assistant Professor, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, nnair@pitt.edu

    Deadline for Submission: March 31st, 2023
    Decision for Acceptance: April 14th, 2023

    Work is often seen as an important source of identity and meaning for individuals (Michaelson, Pratt, Grant, & Dunn, 2014; Scott, 2022). Historically, this meaning making has been inextricably tied to the organizations that people associate with, where it is the organizational identity and association that lends a source of identity for the individual (Albert & Whetten, 1985; Whetten & Godfrey; 1998). However, shifts in the nature of work, disruptions caused by events such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic and the overall move towards increasing use of contingent work and rise of the gig economy have changed the nature of employment and forms of organizing, calling into question the very premise of an organization as we know it and transforming employment relationships and work meanings. 

    The changing nature of work encompasses many shifts such as the rise of the gig economy or platform work, work precarity, and more recent shifts to virtual and hybrid work necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended organizational work arrangements like never before. Fueled by the disruption caused by the pandemic, there has been an increasing turn to remote or hybrid work (Spurk & Straub, 2020) and there is emerging consensus that virtual work and flexible forms of work are here to stay (Meluso, Johnson, & Bagrow, 2022; Xie, Elangovan, Hu, & Hrabluik, 2019). 

    With globally dispersed labor markets (Braesemann et al., 2022), the conceptualization of work itself is changing today (Spurk & Straub, 2020). Today the organization is no longer tied to a workplace (Antonacopoulou & Georgiadou, 2021) where employees are not necessarily co-located and collaboration is virtual, or where there is hybrid collaboration with some employees meeting face-to-face and others operating remotely. Such work offers many opportunities and challenges at the individual, group and organizational level. While there is increased opportunity for autonomy and flexibility at the individual level, it also presents challenges of social isolation and concerns around managing and leading work across dispersed teams (Babapour et al., 2021). Even though virtual forms of collaboration are increasingly becoming the norm, the challenges for work and its design remain (Meluso, Johnson, Bagrow, 2022).

    The pandemic has also exacerbated the challenges faced by precarious workers, encompassing contract workers and others in nontraditional work arrangements, with job insecurity, low wages and lack of access to resources and benefits becoming even more pressing with the pandemic (Marquez, Alanis, & Brawley Newlin, 2021). Precarious work in the 21st century is thought to be enabled by social and economic marginalization and includes uncertainty around the continuity of one's work (precarity of work) and unpredictability in work owing to things like discrimination and harassment (precarity at work) (Allan, Autin, & Wilkins-Yel, 2021). Another dimension of time precarity has also been posited with nonstandard working time arrangements and temporary contracts inducing time precarity (Ugaz, 2022). The pandemic has thus highlighted the fragility of existing work structures (Cubrich & Tengesdal, 2021) and urged a change in the traditional understanding of precarious work (Marquez et al., 2021).

    Linked to precarious work is another form of emergent work called gig work (Montgomery & Baglioni, 2020), where work is fragmented by organizations and delivered by gig workers who are independent workers completing short-term, on-demand assignments usually across different employers. Accessed through the medium of digital platforms, gig work represents a form of working that falls outside traditional organizational work, where Uber often becomes the prime example of a digital marketplace relying on gig workers that are independent workers. Some estimates peg the participation in the platform economy today at about 10.1% of the US workforce alone, with projections for further growth (Scully-Russ & Torraco, 2020). 

    Gig workers also face challenges that are different from those experienced by traditional organizational workers (Caza, Reid, Ashford, & Granger, 2022). Exerting temporal control over the worker through algorithmic management and time regimes (Heiland, 2022), some argue that such practices constrain the ability of gig workers (Duggan, Sherman, Carbery, & McDonnell, 2021). This raises questions of organizing work via digital platforms and attendant issues of labor power and control. The traditional psychological contract and work relationships have also been altered in the context of gig work (Cropanzano et al., 2022). Working autonomously, such workers also tend to have little if any commitment or identification with the employing organization, but instead develop alternative professional identities (Cropanzano et al., 2022). With traditional psychological contracts holding less relevance, gig workers have been cast by some as leadership independent (Roberts & Douglas, 2022). Its popularity growing, the gig economy thus requires a rethink of work design today (Schroeder, Bricka, & Whitaker, 2021).

    Predictions on the future of work suggest that new forms of work such as hybrid work will continue to develop as new forms of collaboration and work practices evolve (Newbold et al., 2022). While there has been an increase in precarious work over the last several decades, research on how the gig or platform economy has been affecting labor precarity has been scarce. Advances in virtual reality and artificial intelligence coupled with more flexibility and self-management of workers, will also necessitate increased shared leadership and changes to organizational design (Kauffeld et al., 2022). What will these changes look like and what would that mean for individuals, organizations, teams and leadership? These are some questions we would be interested in exploring in this stream. 

    Based on the above, we invite papers that problematize and reimagine traditional forms of organizing and work meanings. Thus, we invite in-depth conversations and understanding of alternate forms of work and organizing. We are interested in papers that focus on any of the following- 

    • Alternate forms of work and ways of organizing such as hybrid and virtual work, contractual, agentic work, precarious work, boundaryless organizations, multiple job holdings, etc.
    • Challenges facing the organization of work, whether it be managing in the gig economy, precarity of work, or navigating and managing remote and hybrid work.
    • Micro level challenges in managing and leading dislocated teams and leading virtual teams.
    • Challenges in managing team dynamics when team members seek different work arrangements.
    • Emergent work meanings and changing work identities for new organizational forms.
    • Alternative leadership strategies and ways of organizing for new organizational realities.
    • Challenges for labor such as balancing autonomy and forgoing traditional work safeguards such as in the gig or platform economy.
    • Exercising or countering control and hegemony in labor relations.
    • Other new forms of work and organizing such as side hustles that problematize existing employment relationships.

    The above themes are only indicative and not meant to be exhaustive. We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers using different epistemologies and methodologies. Keeping with the CMS spirit of encouraging dialogue in multiple ways, we are also interested in alternative forms of engaging beyond research papers, by inviting those directly engaging with work in non-traditional forms such as gig workers, precarious workers, workers with allegiances to multiple organizations, independent workers etc., to share their stories and challenges through in-depth conversations and dialogue. Thus, the stream is also open to exploring through live case studies any form of lived experience of nontraditional work that furthers our conversation on reimagination of organization and work. 

    Stream Format: The stream will be offered in both the in-person and hybrid format. 

    Submission instructions: To be considered, please submit either an abstract (minimum 500 words, maximum 1000 words, single spaced, 12point font) summarizing research or expressing intent of participation outlining connection to reimagined forms of work or organizations, or a full paper (8000-10,000 words) via email to neharika@iima.ac.in and nnair@pitt.edu by March 31st, 2023.


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    Allan, B. A., Autin, K. L., Wilkins-Yel, K. G. (2021). Precarious work in the 21st century: A psychological perspective. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 126: 103491, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103491.

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    Meluso, J., Johnson, S., & Bagrow, J. (2022). Flexible environments for hybrid collaboration: Redesigning virtual work through the four orders of design. Design Issues, 38 (1): 55-69.

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    Montgomery, T., & Baglioni, S. (2020). Defining the gig economy: platform capitalism and the reinvention of precarious work. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 41 (9/10): 1012-1025. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-08-2020-0400.

    Newbold, J. W., Rudnicka, A., Cook, D., Cecchinato, M.E., Gould, S.J.J., & Cox, A.L. (2022) The new normals of work: a framework for understanding responses to disruptions created by new futures of work, Human–Computer Interaction, 37(6): 508-531, DOI: 10.1080/07370024.2021.1982391.

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    Spurk, D., & Straub, C. (2020). Flexible employment relationships and careers in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 119:103435. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103435.

    Ugaz, D. C. (2022). Time precarity at work: nonstandard forms of employment and everyday life. Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 164(2): 969-991.

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    Nisha Nair
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    Katz Graduate School of Business
    University of Pittsburgh