Call for Papers

*Rikkyo College of Business Workshop *

*On *

*Strategic Management of Workforce Diversity: *

*Challenges, Opportunities, and Transformational Leadership *

*March 2 and 3, 2018*

*Rikkyo University, Tokyo*

1.       Call for Papers

We are holding a small research workshop titled “Strategic Management of
Workforce Diversity: Challenges, Opportunities and Transformational
Leadership” on March 2 and 3, 2018 at College of Business, Rikkyo
University, Tokyo. We invite papers exploring strategic dimensions of
diversity management that may have relevance to Japanese MNEs as they
struggle to embrace workforce diversity for competitive strategic goals.
Work-in-progress papers are welcome.

l   Extended Abstract (max 1,000 words) due on December 25, 2017

l   Submit the Abstract by email attachment in the Word format to the
following e-mail address: cob (at)

l   Notification of Acceptance by January 15, 2018

l   Full paper submission by February 19, 2018

l   Workshop on March 2 and 3, 2018

2.       Workshop Theme

A considerable gap exists in Japan between the media coverage of diversity
management on the one hand and the reality of the Japanese firms on the
other. Many news articles portrait that diversity management is finally on
the radar screen of Japanese companies, be they large or small. They
include high-profile interviews with prominent chief executives of Japanese
blue-chip MNEs – they spoke openly and loudly of the “strategic” importance
of diversity management. Similarly, the government has a heightened
attention on organizational diversity as the priority. Prime Minister Abe
included “Womenomics” in his Abenomics agenda as an important path to
economic recovery, and enacted a law in 2016 to promote women’s
participation and advancement in the workplace. The law now mandates
Japanese companies to disclose their status and action plan for female
participation in the workforce including the ratio of female managers and
executives and the numerical targets.

With the hypes of the media and the heightened attention of the government,
there is growing evidence that executives and managers of Japanese firms
including major MNEs are at best business as usual, and at worst, cynical.
Many Japanese executives and senior managers still tend to look at
diversity management as an HR (human resource) management issue or a PR
(public relations)/CSR (corporate social responsibility) matter. More
importantly, many of them see that managing diversity incurs costs that
accompany a dubious indirect return to their firms.

Their view seems to show a contrast with that of their counterparts in the
US, Canada, and Europe where diversity management has become an integral
part of their competitive growth strategies. They see organizational
diversity as a strategic issue that provides an opportunity for a firm to
re-engineer themselves by investing in their organizations and cultures for
long-term returns (Cox and Blake, 1991; Ivancevich and Gilbert, 2000;
Ireland, Hitt, and Vaidyanath, 2002; Richard, Barnett, Dwyer and Chadwick,
2004; Bassett-Jones, 2005; Brannen and Thomas, 2010, among others). In
short, they link diversity management with an organizational process to
innovate and to create knowledge, leading to enhancing organizational
capability, improving corporate performance, and strengthening competitive

Why do Japanese firms and their managers show a stark contrast in their
understanding of organizational diversity? Is the difficulty of the
Japanese firms embracing workforce diversity a consequence of cultural and
normative factors? Are there laws and regulations that may hinder changes?
To what extent, economic calculation and other functional reasons may
contribute to the status quo? Will there be little prospect for Japanese
firms and their managers to address organizational diversity as a strategic
challenge and opportunity? What information and knowledge, and what
processes and factors, may be necessary for Japanese firms and their
managers to change their understanding of the issue and start exploring
strategic opportunities in embracing and managing organizational diversity?
What kinds of leadership may be necessary for an organization to embrace
organizational diversity, commit their resources to change, and introduce
concrete processes that may effectively translate diversity into capability
and performance? What may be the role of public policy in encouraging their
labor practices and managerial decisions?

We invite academic papers from scholars across disciplines that generate
insight into the overall workshop theme, including but not limited to the
following questions:

l   Do employees and managers of a country of your research have a clear
understanding that workforce diversity is not necessary a cost-incurred
compliance and social responsibility issue but more revenue- and
profit-generating competitive opportunity?

l   What kinds of theoretical frameworks, concrete cases, and empirical
data may contribute to their understanding?

l   What kinds of personal steps, organizational processes, and social
construction processes do people, firms, and societies of your research
have undertaken in expanding their understanding of workforce diversity
beyond compliance and social responsibility?

l   What specific HR policies and practices, incentives and controls,
organizational structures, and managerial directions of firms in a country
of your research may help an organization effectively manage workforce
diversity and contribute to better organizational performance?

l   To what extent, may “best practices” in workforce diversity in one
country be relevant in another country?

l   To what extent, have the market integration, and the competition under
globalization converge organizational structures, business practices and
labor relations among firms across borders?

3.       Publication

We aim at publishing a select few papers under a special issue of a
research journal. All other papers will be included in a future volume of
Rikkyo Business Review. More details will be available.

4.       Registration and Enquiry

There is no fee to register for participating in the workshop. At least one
author of the accepted paper is asked to attend the workshop to present the
paper. We welcome those participants who do not present their papers but
are willing to take part in the discussion.

The participants must cover their own travel expense.

For more information, please contact the organizer, Prof. Toshiya Ozaki,
College of Business, Rikkyo University at the following email address:
ozakit (at)

Toshiya Ozaki, PhD
Professor of International Business
Chair, Department of Global Business
College of Business, Rikkyo University
Tokyo, Japan 171-8501
Tel: +81-3-3985-4077

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